The Ali Sadr Cave (Persian: غار علی صدر) originally called Ali Saadr or Ali Saard (meaning cold) is the world’s largest water cave which attracts millions of visitors every year. It is located in Ali Sadr Kabudarahang County about 100 kilometers north of Hamedan, western Iran (more accurately at 48°18’E 35°18’N). Since the cave is situated between the large cities Hamadan, Tehran, and Qom it is a popular destination for Iranians. Tours of the cave are available by pedal boats.
Alisadr is the world’s biggest water cave, where you sit in a boat and watch the view. This cave is located at 48°18’E 35°18’N, in the southern part of Ali Sadr village. The cave is entered at the side of a hill called Sari Ghiyeh which also includes two other caves called Sarab and Soubashi, each 7 and 11 kilometers from Ali Sadr Cave. Apparently, the water in Ali Sadr cave is supplied by a spring in Sarab.
In the summer of 2001, a German/British expedition surveyed the cave, finding to be 11 kilometers long. The main chamber of the cave is 100 meters by 50 meters and 40 meters high.
The cave walls can extend up to 40 meters high, and it contains several large, deep lakes. The cave has a river flowing through it and most travel through the cave system is done by boat. More than 11 kilometers of the cave’s water canals have been discovered so far. Some routes are 10 to 11 kilometers long and all lead to “The Island”, a centrally located large atrium.
Excavations and archeological studies of the cave have led to the discovery of ancient artworks, jugs and pitchers dating back to 12,000 years ago. Animals, hunting scenes and bows and arrows are depicted on the walls and passages of the exit section. These images suggest primitive man used the cave as their abode. The cave was known during the reign of Darius I (521-485 BC) which can be verified by an old inscription at the entrance of the tunnel. However, the knowledge of the existence of the 70 million-year old cave was lost, and it was only rediscovered in 1963 by Iranian mountaineers.
One of the most beautiful and most unique natural phenomena in the world is the Ali-Sadr cave in the Hamadan province, Iran, views of which attract visitors’ interest and attention. This huge cave is located 75Km due northeast of city of Hamadan in the heart of mountains called Subashi in the Kaboudar-Ahang town.
After entering the cave we face a relatively vast area, about 270m2, in which we can rest a while and wait for our turn. Passing through a wide path, we arrive at a wharf. From there onward, we should use boats for our excursion.
Along the water canals, which are between 2 to 50 meters wide, we face a good number of labyrinthine halls. All the routes of this cave end in a vast central square called The Island. This square, which has an area of approximately 750 m2, is located at the distance of 350 meters from the wharf from which all the branches originate. One of these branches, through which the boats pass, has the length of 2.5Km. in this part the roof, which is 10 to 20 meters above the water level, is covered by calcium Carbonate sediments. Stalactites (icicle-shaped formations of lime hanging from the roof of a cave, formed by the steady dripping of water containing minerals) in different colors double the beauties of this unique cave. Besides, the most astonishing stalagmites (formations of lime extending upwards like a pillar from the floor of a cave as water from a stalactite drips into it) can also be found in this wonderful, marvelous cave. These are seen in the shape of cauliflowers, needles and umbrellas, in colors of red, purple, brown, green and blue. Ali-Sadr is the only yachting cave with waters so clear that we can see to a depth of 5 meters even in a dim light.
Beside the natural significance of this unique phenomenon, it should be pointed out that the discovery of historical tools and works of art aging thousands of years, including jugs and pitchers, indicates that humans lived in this place since 12000 years ago. Furthermore, the paintings of deer, gazelles and stags, the hunting scenes and the image of bow and arrow on the walls and passages of the exit section and prove the point that at the primitive historical ages and in the hunting era man was living in this cave.
The age of this cave is 70 million years and now more than 16Km of its water and land routs have been explored, yet not all the routs are known and the exploration is continuing. The efforts have been somehow successful and in some cases new passages and water routs with lengths of about 10 to 11 Km have been found, some of these canals have even led to dry land finally ending in a lake, after long distances.