Quri Qala, the longest water cave in Asia, is 65 million years old. It has gradually formed in the skirts of Shaho mountain, bringing to life amazing routes and vestibules. The beautiful stalagmites and stalactites of the walls and ceiling of the cave offer a feast for the eyes. Soaking into the darkness and serenity of the cave is a one-time experience. The cave is located in Kermanshah, between Ravansar and Paveh counties, and is named Quri Qala after a village in its immediate vicinity. The Sassanid-era village's namesake is its large and solid stronghold, originally called Gura Qala by the Kurds. Through the passage of time, the village has become known as Quri Qala.
Discovery of 62m-year-old Cave
The amazing Quri Qala cave was discovered by a group of British and French speleologists and zoologists, on an expedition to identify species of mammals, including bats. Six hundred twenty meters deep into the cave, they arrived at a point where water reached the ceiling of the cave, thinking it was the end. It is said that local villagers knew the cave even before. In 1981, a group of equipped Iranian spelunkers set out on a trip into the labyrinthine vestibules of Quri Qala, went past the water route, and discovered another 3 meters of the cave before they reached what they thought was the end. The route was further discovered when in 1989 a group of Iranian speleologists reached the 2030-meter depth in the first and 3140-meter depth in the second phase of their expedition. They announced the cave to be approximately 12 kilometers deep and mapped the labyrinthine routes of the cave, ultimately introducing it as the largest water cave in Asia and the longest in Iran. Iran's Department of Environment (DoE) inducted the cave into the country's list of natural heritage sites. In 2008, the cave was registered as the 54th site on the list of Iran's National Cultural Heritage inductees.
From Ferdowsi statue to Leaning Tower of Pisa
The complete route is not currently open to visitors. With tickets bought at the cave entrance, you can visit paved parts of the route that go along a stream of water and through halls decorated with limestone crystals. These crystals vary in their form, seen by spectators as resembling the profile of a camel, camel hump, snake, parrot, vulture, stone lion, the White House, heart, ship, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Santa Claus, Ferdowsi statue, etc. The bridal hall is one of the most amazing views in the cave, where cone-shaped crystal and vane-shaped speleothems create spectacular shapes.
Beside its natural significance, Quri Qala cave is also remarkable from a historical point of view. Objects discovered in the cave, such as plates, spoons, urns, coins and even human skulls to name a few, belong to the Sassanid era, evidence of the fact that the cave was used as a hideaway.