Beautiful Kandovan village in east Azerbaijan province, is one of the best places to find out about human efforts to build a shelter.
Kandovan is located in Osku city and is about 2 hours away from Tabriz. People of this village have built their houses inside rocky cliffs, and its dates back to about 6 thousand years ago.
Why Kandovan village?
- It is one of the few rocky villages that people still live traditionally in it.
- The village special atmosphere which people spend whole their lives in cliffs dug out inside the mountain, makes it really attractive.
- The lifestyle of the people in Kandovan, differs from many villages in Iran.
- Mountainous climate and environment of Kandovan is another reason to visit this wonderful village.
As we said before, Kandovan village is located in Osku city in east Azerbaijan province, on Soltan Daghi mountain hillside, in Sahand mountains, which has a cold climate, and people spend 180 days a year in icy weather. Kandovan is located in northwestern part of Sahand Mountain and of course, the mountain also had a great role in forming this village. Tourists have to travel to Tabriz by plane or any other vehicle, from there they reach Kandovan by car within an hour or two by passing Sahand hillside and Osku city.
Meet kandovan village | the village of sustainable rocks
This rocky village has evolved over time due to volcanic interactions of Sahand Mountains, lava, wind, rain, snow and of course human interference. Kandovan is one of the few rocky villages in Iran and the world, and along with the villages of Cappadocia in Turkey, Dakota in America, and Meymand in Kerman, they have this form of architecture. Today, however, people only live in two Meymand and Kandovan villages, and the two other villages are uninhabited. Kandovan village is 2,200 meters above sea level, which Kandovan River flows along it and it is a part of Sahand rural district. It is good to know that Kandovan is listed in national monuments of Iran due to the rock features and lifestyle of its people, by No.1857 in May 15, 1997.
Kandovan village history
There is no consensus about the age of Kandovan village; some archeological articles and explores estimate the village age 6000 years ago, and some others say its date goes back 3000 years ago. However, some writings say that the residence date went back to 7th AH century, that is to say during Mongols invasion. Needless to say that these stone sugarloaf, have evolved not overnight but over years. So join us to take a look at the history of Kandovan village formation.
The best season to travel to Kandovan
Like other cities in east Azerbaijan province, Kandovan has a cold and humid climate, and the cold season is long in there. However, in recent years, due to the drought that has affected the whole country, rainfall has declined. Spring: until the end of winter, kandovan is still involved in winter weather. But from May onwards, spring arrives and its one of the best times for travel.
Summer: summer is the best season for traveling to Kandovan. However, Kandovan has more tourists in summer than any other season, and there would be crowd.
Autumn: the cold weather in autumn also diminishes tourist’s population. Make sure to visit this beautiful spot with the proper equipment and clothes in this season.
Winter: Kandovan winter trips are not recommended. People migrating to Osku in the cold season reduces the charm of the village and its attractions.
*Sahand Mountain stands out from the roar | birth of Kandovan rock structures
Sahand volcano is one of the most important factors in the formation of Kandovan rock structures. The activity of these volcanic mountains ended about one hundred and 40 thousand years ago; but what remained of its lava, formed the original form of Kandovan village. Stone structures with horizontal, columnar, conical and pyramidal shapes, which were created after the retreat of the Kandovan Lake basin. The cones overcome from the water little by little and covered up step by step to the top of the mountain. These soft cones were in the earliest geological period, when the Earth’s crust had not been cooled yet, were formed stratified and separated from their surroundings, due to the displacement of mountains and the resulting pressure. These volcanic ash shapes maintained their soft state over time, such that they were easily shaped by a simple strike, wind, snow and rainfall. Like this, the floor, village stairs and sugarloaf layers, has gradually become what it is today and they were suitable for human work and home construction.
Various narratives of living in Kandovan village
There are different stories about living in Kandovan village, when and who came to this mountainous region first. Here’s a look at these quotes and stories:
1- A village for the tribes of Sahand hillside
First residents of Kandovan village, were tribes who used holes in cliffs as a temporary home, during summer. Gradually, those who have been interested in this place, stopped moving and stayed there forever.
2- Escape from Mongols | Kandovan village, the safe haven
Another story about Kandovan village is about the story of Hile Var village people’s escape during Mongols invasion. Hile Var village is two kilometers away from Kandovan and like this village is handmade. During Mongols invasion, in 7th AH century to this region, people escaped from their village and seek refuge in Kandovan. They choose this rocky village as their new home.
3- Hidden warriors in the middle of the mountain
Some warriors, as they passed by, they found the area in military condition, and choose it as their shelter.
4- Immigrants of Urmia lake
The most famous and believable story about history of Kandovan residents, is that the first Kandovan immigrants came to this village from Urmia lake.
Kandovan village architecture
Kandovan village architecture, is rock architecture. This kind of architecture has two types, and reading about it helps us better understand the history of a place. In the usual form of architecture, first the materials are prepared and then space and volume are created; but in rock architecture this is completely opposite. So it becomes more important. In the first type of rock architecture, which contains Kandovan’s architecture, big rocks, free and separated from each other, provide a platform to create multiple spaces such as home, storage and corral. The facade of this kind of rocks, can be carved and decorated.
Due to the special type of rocks that do not break down and disappear, you can also add windows and skylights to the carved collections. The architecture of the Cappadocia regions in Turkey follows this approach.But in the second type of architecture, only multiple spaces inside the rocks and hills can be created, and it’s not possible to change the exterior or add windows and skylights to the collection. Meymand rocky village is a good example of this kind of architecture.
Reason for naming Kandovan village
There are various stories about the name of Kandovan village. Some say the name of Kandovan is attributed to the village because the shape of the rocks and the holes in it resemble the bee hive. (“Kandu” in Persian means hive) Another comment says that the word is composed of two words “Kand” and “van”. In Azeri and Turkish “Kand” means village, and “van” is one of the types of place extensions used in the language. Some also say that the word Kandovan, is drived from the word Kandan (means digging in Persian) or Kande gan (derived from the bee hive). The reason for this naming also goes back to the mountainous climate and the extensive bee-keeping of old times. In another comment Kandovan is derived from the words Kandivan or Kandeovan. The word is composed of three components of Kandy + eo + van which “Kandy” means its own, the word “eo” means home, and “van” indicates the location suffix. So in general Kandovan means a home of its own. But some people have said that the Kandovan was first called Kandoojan, which has been transformed over time and has become known as Kandovan. As these people have mentioned, “Kand” in Turkish means “way”, and “Jan” means “Khodeoz”. Because people were able to stay in the area, despite the hardships and cold weather, and make home for themselves from rocks, it made the word “Jan” come at the end of “Kand” and create the word ”Kandoojan”.
Kandovan village anthropology
Like other east Azerbaijan people, the people of Kandovan are Turk and Azeri, they speak Azerbaijani and Turkish and follow customs in the area. However, the geographical and livelihood characteristics of each region, caused the creation of the special traditions and customs of that place. And that increases the beauty and diversity anthropological of each area. There are 151 households in Kandovan village that have a population of over 450 people, of these amount 222 are men and 228 are women.
East Azerbaijan province, Osku city, 22 kilometers of Oscu Country Road to Kandovan, rocky Kandovan village