AliSadr Cave in Hamedan is one of Iran’s largest caves and among the few water caves in the world suitable for boating, boasting the longest boating route. This cave, dating back millions of years, is located in the village of Ali Sadr in Hamedan and is one of the most amazing natural attractions in Iran and the world. Keep reading this article of Parsi Tours, Iranian tour operator, to get useful information about this wonderful destination.
Visiting Ali Sadr Cave
When you visit Ali Sadr Cave, you’ll travel by pedal boats through numerous corridors and winding passages. The further you go, the more wonders you encounter, leaving you in awe. This cave, considered one of Hamedan’s most beautiful sights, attracts hundreds of thousands of domestic and foreign visitors annually. As a foreign tourist, to visit Alisadr cave, you need to book Iran nature tours in advance.
Where is Ali Sadr Cave?
Ali Sadr Cave, considered one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders, is located on the northern slopes of the Zagros mountains, deep in the “Sari Qieh” heights. The cave is near Ali Sadr village, part of Kabudrahang County in Hamedan Province.
Distance from Ali Sadr Cave to Hamedan
The distance from Ali Sadr Cave to Hamedan is about 75 kilometers. To reach this amazing cave, you’ll need to drive for approximately 75 minutes.
About Ali Sadr Cave
Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan is Iran’s only marsh cave and among the few water caves in the world suitable for boating, having the longest boating route. It’s also known as one of the world’s largest water caves, dating back to the Jurassic period (190 to 136 million years ago). Ali Sadr Cave was registered as the 23rd natural heritage site of Iran on January 7, 2009.
Ali Sadr Cave, with its continuous water passages and extensive boating lake throughout the cave, is one of the most dazzling natural attractions in Iran and the world, with only a few similar caves found in countries like France and Australia.
Ali Sadr Cave formed naturally without any human intervention. The formation process involved rainwater mixing with carbon dioxide in the air, forming weak carbonic acid. This acid reacted with the limestone in the ground, creating unstable calcium bicarbonate.
As calcium bicarbonate is water-soluble, it created voids within the thick limestone layers. Over millions of years, these spaces expanded and connected, forming the magnificent natural masterpiece, Ali Sadr Cave.
The discovered parts of Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan consist of corridors, halls, and narrow, winding paths. Some paths are dead ends, while others connect. Tourists boat through these corridors, marveling at the cave’s wonders.
A large, water-filled lake sits in the cave’s central section, accessible only by boat. The lake’s water is supplied by underground springs and constant dripping from the cave’s walls and ceiling, originating mainly from atmospheric precipitation.
During your visit to Ali Sadr Cave, you’ll travel a water route by boat, followed by a walking path where you’ll observe beautiful natural scenes. At the end of the walk, you return to a water route leading to the cave’s exit. The return path is narrower and has a shorter ceiling but does not hinder boat traffic.
The water depth in different parts of Ali Sadr Cave varies from half a meter to 14 meters, and the depth of some underground cavities reaches up to 40 meters. The cave’s length is close to 12 kilometers, but only about three kilometers are accessible due to the challenging terrain.
The water in Ali Sadr Cave’s lake in Hamedan is colorless, odorless, and tastes normal. Physical and chemical tests on the cave’s water show that its chemical composition is similar throughout the cave. Due to the high concentration of limestone salts, the water is not drinkable.
Excess water from the cave is directed outside through various channels; hence the water level remains consistent throughout different seasons and years, except during droughts when water levels fluctuate, which is evident on the cave walls.
Visiting Ali Sadr Cave
When visiting Ali Sadr Cave, it’s best to know the cave’s working hours and ticket prices. Tickets can be purchased onsite or through Ali Sadr’s tourism complex website.
Ali Sadr Cave Ticket Prices
Ticket prices for Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan in 2024 are as follows:
- Price per person for domestic tourists: 3$
- Price per person for foreign tourists: 8$
Online Ticket Purchase for Ali Sadr Cave
On Ali Sadr’s recreational complex website, alisadr.com, online ticket purchases are available. Select the ‘online sales’ option, enter the visit date, preferred session, required information, complete the necessary steps, pay, and register your ticket.
When buying tickets for Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan, consider the following:
- After purchase, ticket refunds are not available.
- Tickets must be purchased for children over five years old.
- Arrive at the Ali Sadr tourist complex one hour before your chosen session.
- Your ticket is valid only for the selected session and will be voided afterwards; it cannot be used for other sessions.
- Your ticket tracking code will be sent to your registered mobile number; have it with you.
- If you don’t have the tracking code, you cannot present your ticket when visiting the cave.
- To confirm and receive your entry card to the cave, visit the internet purchase counter at the complex.
Working Hours of Ali Sadr Cave
The working hours for Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan are as follows:
- First half of the year: 8 AM to 6 PM
- Second half of the year: 8 AM to 3 PM
- Taking flash photography in the cave is prohibited.
- Smoking in the cave is prohibited.
- Due to the cave’s underground location, there is no mobile phone reception.
How Was Ali Sadr Cave Discovered?
Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan, one of Iran’s largest caves, is geologically significant, with the cave’s stones dating back to the Jurassic period. Evidence inside the cave suggests it was used as a refuge by the inhabitants of Ali Sadr village and neighboring villages during invasions and internal and external wars.
The villagers also used the cave as a water reservoir and dam by directing surplus water from the Sarab river to the cave. This
raised the water level near the cave’s entrance, making access impossible for years. This changed after the 1957 Farsinaj earthquake in Kermanshah, which created a fissure in the Sarab riverbed, cutting off its flow. By around 1963, the cave’s water level returned to its natural height.
Tourism usage of Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan was not a focus until October 1963, when a group of 14 members from the Hamedan Mountaineering Association explored and surveyed the cave. Using basic equipment like hand lamps and rubber tubes, they managed to travel a short distance inside the cave.
In 1967, national media reported the discovery of this amazing and endless cave, attracting a flood of researchers, mountaineers, and natural attraction enthusiasts. The cave’s first discoverers were Mr. Yousef Najai, Mr. Einali Bakhtiari, Mr. Abbas Raeoufi, and Mr. Mohammad Homayouni. At the cave’s entrance, a memorial commemorates these individuals.
In the 1960s, the entrance to Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan had a diameter of about 50 centimeters, making entry and exit possible only for professional mountaineers. In 1974, Mr. Abdollah Hajilou, then the president of the Hamedan Mountaineering Association, personally widened the cave’s entrance to five meters wide and three meters high with the help of local people and the mountaineering team. Since 1975, the cave has been open for public visits. Since then, many measures have been taken around and outside the cave to facilitate tourist entry, including expanding the water route and adding a dry route for visits.
Reason for Naming Ali Sadr Cave
The villagers of Ali Sadr and nearby villages used the cave as a water reservoir and dam. The village’s name in existing documents is “Ali Sad,” but the residents’ identification documents show “Ali Sard” (meaning “cold water” due to the cold waters in the cave). In 1971, during the construction of a road to the village, the project contractor named the road “Ali Sadr” on the guideboard, and since then, the village and cave have been known as Ali Sadr.
Creatures in AliSadr Cave
There are no living animals or plants in Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan due to the lack of natural light and living conditions.
According to news from sites like ISNA in 2013, a diving team encountered an unknown crustacean species while exploring the waters of Ali Sadr Cave. The team couldn’t sample the creature at the time. Later, a student group observed and sampled the creature, naming it “Niphargus Alisadri.”
In 2015, the diving team took samples of this rare crustacean again. Besides single-celled organisms and algae created by cave traffic, no other living creatures exist in the cave. This research was conducted in the surface waters up to the depths of the cave. This crustacean is described as being two centimeters long, appearing blind, and not requiring light. It likely feeds on the salts and single-celled organisms in the cave.
Features of Ali Sadr Cave
Key features of Ali Sadr Cave include:
- The cave’s elevation above sea level is 2,180 meters.
- So far, 12 kilometers of the cave’s corridors and pathways have been identified, but due to difficult access, only about three kilometers are available for tourist visits.
- The water depth in Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan varies between half a meter to 14 meters.
- The maximum height of the cave from the water level is 40 meters.
- The maximum depth of the cave from the water surface is 54 meters.
- Despite being underground, the cave has no toxic gases, and visitors do not experience breathlessness.
- The water in the cave’s lake is colorless and odorless.
- The air inside Ali Sadr Cave is very clean and free from dust and microbial pollution.
Wonders of Ali Sadr Cave
Some of the wonders of Ali Sadr Cave include:
- Ali Sadr Cave, several million years old, is a living and stabilized cave that has never experienced any collapses.
- It is one of the world’s largest water caves, easily navigable by ordinary boats through its water channels.
- Due to the absence of natural light, the cave has no animal life.
- The cave enjoys pleasant air despite thousands of visitors daily, thanks to its numerous cellular vents, and no toxic gases are found inside.
- The temperature inside Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan remains constant throughout the year at 12 to 14 degrees Celsius, offering a comfortable climate for tourists in all seasons. You feel cool air in summer and won’t feel cold in winter despite the area’s cold climate.
- The air inside the cave is very light and absolutely still; lighting a candle inside shows no movement in the flame.
- The water in the cave’s lake is so clear that you can see up to 10 meters deep with normal light and the naked eye.
Dripstones and Stalactites of Ali Sadr Cave
The ceiling of Ali Sadr Cave, rising up to 10 meters above the water level in some parts, is covered with pure calcium carbonate, mixed with other elements in places, formed by water flowing into the cave. These deposits have formed various shapes of stalactites.
On the dry parts of the cave floor, “stalagmites” or “dripstones” in various attractive shapes are abundant. These stalactites and stalagmites, with stunning shapes like cauliflower, needle, cave reed, frostwork, umbrella, etc., are eye-catching.
The beautiful colors of these formations are due to minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, lead, copper, etc., in the earth’s crust in this area. These minerals color the colorless water into shades of yellow, red, purple, brown, green, and blue, coloring the stalactites and stalagmites.
Boating in Ali Sadr Cave
A distinctive feature of Ali Sadr Cave, setting it apart from other water caves in the world, is its large water channels allowing for boating with ordinary boats. Visiting this cave offers an exciting journey into an unknown world.
The visit includes traveling through water paths and dry land. You reach the boat dock after entering the cave, then put on life jackets and board pedal boats. You navigate through various corridors and narrow passages to the cave’s lake. The boat guide provides interesting information about the cave, and you witness the wonders of the cave and the depths of the clear water.
After about a kilometer of boating, you reach dry land. You disembark and walk for about two kilometers to boats arranged for your
return. These boats take you back to the cave entrance via a different route.
Throughout the boat journey inside the cave, there are lighting installations that add to the cave’s beauty and create an attractive environment for tourists. You will see dripstones, stalactites, and rocks in bizarre, imaginative shapes or resembling animals that stimulate your imagination.
The End of Ali Sadr Cave
Despite many years since the discovery of Ali Sadr Cave, much of it remains inaccessible to tourists and boaters.
You might wonder where the end of Ali Sadr Cave is. Currently, there is no specific information available about the end of the cave. This unique cave is considered one of the natural wonders of the world.
Best Time to Visit Ali Sadr Cave
Hamedan is a cold city, and due to the area’s severe winter cold, it’s best to visit during the warmer and milder seasons; Hamedan has pleasant weather in spring and summer.
Ali Sadr Cave is a popular destination in Hamedan, especially during the Nowruz and summer holidays. However, visiting the cave in winter is also enjoyable since the cave’s temperature is almost constant throughout the year at 12 to 14 degrees Celsius, and you won’t feel cold inside the cave during the cold weather outside.
Amenities and Recreational Facilities at Ali Sadr Cave
Ali Sadr Cave, one of the most beautiful and amazing tourist attractions, hosts many domestic and international tourists each year. Therefore, various recreational and welfare facilities are available outside the cave for visitors.
Facilities at the Ali Sadr Cave complex include an open-air amusement park, several restaurants, a traditional dining house and coffee shop, a shopping center, an observatory, a prayer room, wooden gazebos, restrooms, parking, hotels, and residential suites. In the shopping center, you can purchase handicrafts from Hamedan and other souvenirs to take back home.
Accommodations for Visiting Ali Sadr Cave
During your trip to Ali Sadr Cave, you can stay at hotels, residential villas, and suites in the cave complex.
The Jahangardi Hotel of Ali Sadr, located close to the cave, is one of the best accommodation options for tourists. This hotel includes 10 four-bed rooms, 11 three-bed rooms, and 6 double rooms. It offers facilities such as a cafe-restaurant with a capacity of 130 people, an elevator, air conditioning, 12-hour room service, and parking.
Around Ali Sadr Cave, there are also several villas and residential suites to suit the taste and budget of tourists. Several metal containers and wooden gazebos are also available for rest and accommodation. The Ali Sadr tourist area is fully protected, and camping is allowed in the cave area.
Suites at Ali Sadr Cave
One of the accommodation options in Ali Sadr Cave is the suites in the outdoor area of the cave. These suites vary in size, number of bedrooms, facilities, capacity, and distance from Ali Sadr Cave, and their prices differ accordingly.
In summary, the Ali-Sadr Cave in Iran is a natural wonder that captivates visitors with its stunning beauty and mysterious charm. This vast, water-filled cave offers a unique and unforgettable experience, as you glide through its serene, crystal-clear waters and explore its ancient, awe-inspiring chambers. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature lover, or simply someone who appreciates the extraordinary, Ali-Sadr Cave is one of Iran must-visit destinations that promises a glimpse into an otherworldly realm right beneath our feet.