Karaftu Caves


Set in the side of a large cliff, 42km from Takab in neighbouring Kordestan, this mixture of natural and human-made caverns was used for habitation since at least early Sassanid times. In one room, an ancient Greek inscription references Hercules, while other more modern scrawls pay homage to Reza and Hossein, who were both 'here'. The drive from Takab is particularly scenic. There's no public transport to the caves; a taxi will cost around US$18 return including waiting time. Ask around Takab's bazaar.

There are four levels, some of which go quite a way into the hill. Bring a torch in case the power's off and watch out for holes in the floor. Take note of the 'entrance' and 'exit' signs in each cavern.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Iran attractions

1. Thermal Pool

26.32 MILES

This tiny, bubbling, tepid pool, evidence of local geothermal activity, offers peaceful views of Zendan-e Soleiman peak and the surrounding area in the…

2. Zendan-e Soleiman

26.56 MILES

This dramatic 97m conical peak dominates the valley landscape for miles around. If you’re reasonably fit, climbing to the crater’s edge should take less…

3. Takht-e Soleiman Ruins

27.36 MILES

Sitting in a lonely bowl of mountains, ringed by 1500-year-old walls, these Unesco-listed ruins are one of the most memorable sights of western Iran. In…