Hamadan is believed not only to be the oldest Iranian cities but probably one of the oldest in the world. Its historical origins date back to several centuries before Christ when it was the Median Empire’s capital. Pitifully little remains from classical times, but significant parts of the city are given over to excavations, and there’s a scattering of historical curiosities.
Situated 336-kilometers Southwest of Tehran and 530-kilometers Northwest of Esfahan, Hamadan lies at the elevation of 1800-meters on the slopes of Mount Alvand. In a temperate mountainous region influenced by strong winds, Hamadan is in fact one of the coldest cities in Iran.
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Located about 100-kilometers north of Hamedan, Ali Sadr Cave (غار علی صدر) is one of the largest subterranean water complexes in the world. This 190-million years old cave takes visitors on a 2,100-meter breathtaking journey where 1,470-meters of which is covered by boat — making it one of the longest underground boat trips in the world. There are no living creatures in the cave’s water and its temperature is 12°C throughout the year. Ali Sadr Cave is the phenomenon of Mother Nature as there are many stunning geological landscapes.
You will start off your journey through as a 20-meters long tunnel that slopes gently downhill to a wide gallery of 15-meters by 6-meters formed under phreatic conditions.
There is a main jetty where visitors will be given life jackets and guided into plastic boats pulled through the cave by paddling boats (Pedlo’s). The most attractive part of Ali Sadr Cave is its wide lake that makes boating through the deeper parts possible. The depth of water ranges from nil to 14 meters in different parts. The water flowing into the cave comes from rainfalls, underground springs and outflows from the walls and cave ceiling ― thus colorless and odorless.
The height of the cave’s ceiling in some parts is about 10-meters. It is covered by pure calcium carbonate and its combinations. These sediments form different types of stalactites on the floor and waterless areas of the cave. There are also a number of attractive stalagmites.
So far, 14 kilometers of the cave’s canals have been explored, but only some four kilometers have been illuminated and ready to use. After looking at the great stalactites, passing through water paths and crystalline ceiling chambers, one believes that this phenomenon is one of the marvels of the world, which no one can describe, demonstrating all its glory and beauty.