Kandovan is a village in the rural district of Sahand, the central district of Osku, East Azerbaijan province, 60 km away from Tabriz. This rocky village displays human being’s domination over the nature; it is like a beehive, hence known as Kandovan which is the Persian equivalent of the beehive in plural form. The village was constructed on the structures left from Sahand volcanic mountain’s activities. The lava started flowing from Sahand volcano and other volcanic mountains around the village and gradually a stony surface was created. As time passed erosion changed the lava and only its solid parts remained. Then people built the Karans there. Karans are the rocky houses made in this village.
The history of living in this village dates back to 13th century AD when Iran was attacked by Mongols; those who lived in a village near this mountain took refuge in the beehive spaces to protect themselves from different invasions, as well as weather changes. After their immigration, the inner spaces of the stones were further craved for people to live in.
Villagers still live in the houses carved at the heart of mountain; the village has a mosque, a bathroom, a school and a mill. The Karan Mosque is the biggest Karan in the village. Karan is like a cone, each Karan includes a living room, a cuddy, a kitchen, and an oven and it includes some stories that have no connections in their interior parts. The upper levels are connected to other parts by stairs attached to the main body of the house. The ground floor is mostly used as a stable and the second, third and the fourth floors are used for dwelling. In some cases, the fourth floor is used as a warehouse. Also, because of the walls’ thickness lighting the lower floors is not easy so the windows stand on the upper floors that are made of wood and shaped like a plaid with small pieces of colorful glasses. The water channels are usually in the passages and outside the residence and each is shared by a couple of families. The most amazing feature of the rocky houses is the fact that they remain warm in winter and cold in summer.
This rocky village displays human being’s domination over the nature; it is like a beehive, hence known as Kandovan which is the Persian equivalent of the beehive in plural form.
Today, there are three rocky villages of this type in the world, Cappadocia in Turkey, Dakota in the US, and Kandovan. However, the only rocky village in the world that people still live in is the one in Iran. The population of the village is almost seven hundred and travelers have the opportunity of experiencing the local life by living in one of the houses or by going to the beautiful rocky hotel of Kandovan.