The Ali Sadr Cave originally called Ali Saadr or Ali Saard is the world's largest water cave which attracts thousands of visitors every year. It is located in Ali Sadr Kabudarahang County about 100 kilometers north of Hamadan, western Iran.

The Ali Sadr Cave originally called Ali Saadr or Ali Saard is the world's largest water cave which attracts thousands of visitors every year. It is located in Ali Sadr Kabudarahang County about 100 kilometers north of Hamadan, western Iran.

member of the mountaineering team who discovered this wonder of nature, Djavad Mohaghegh, recounts his adventure.

I remember, it was in 1963. We were a group of a few friends who enjoyed our weekends for rock climbing and camping, especially in the spring and summer, in the surrounding mountains of the Hamedan. That summer, when the news of the existence of a cave spread in the city, we got together and took a dangerous decision: to go down into this unknown cavity within which few people had penetrated. With our small teenage budget, we have gathered ropes, four truck tubes, some boards, lanterns and two flashlights. Without notifying our families, we went to the village of Ali Sadr, sixty kilometers from the city of Hamedan. We slipped into the well-shaped mouth with a rope and then, in a tight, damp space, inflated our tubes, fixed the planks with ropes and that our lanterns at each end of the skiffs so improvised. With caution mixed with the fear of beginners, we embarked on this dark and unexplored space! Today, when I think about it, I do not know what is the best term to define our expedition? Courage or unconsciousness. Frankly, if an accident had occurred, who could have come to our aid? Did the spectacle of this unexplored cave deserve our risk? It was the question that resonated in our heads, without any of us daring to formulate it. But the melody of an answer was lost in the silent tumult of our childlike curiosity. We were the first teenagers to discover the most beautiful cave in Iran.

It was only four years later that the newspapers announced the discovery of this fabulous cave. Its access was difficult because its mouth was very narrow. In 1973, the entrance was widened by half a meter to facilitate access and since 1974, the cave was open to the public. At that time, the villagers guided the visitors in its advanced parts with the help of lanterns and some boats.

The mountain "Sari Ghié" or "The yellow rock" which covers the cave, also contains two others, known under the names of "Soubachi" and "Sarab" located, in order, at a distance of 11 and 7 km from Ali Sadr. Geologists estimate the origin of this mountain to the Jurassic period, that is to say that it would go up from 136 to 190 million years.

It is the composition of the rainwater mixed with the carbon dioxide existing in the air which is at the base of the formation of the cavity. By turning to low carbonic acid, the substance became impregnated in the gypsum and from this contact was born an unstable composition of sodium bicarbonate. This liquid, penetrating the thick layers of gypsum, created small empty spaces that spread over millions of years and gave rise to this splendid cave.
The peculiarities of the cave Ali Sadr

Located at an altitude of 1900 meters above sea level, the Ali Sadr cave, composed of a large lake and galleries accessible by boat, is one of the most beautiful natural sites of Iran. Its lake, sometimes up to 14 meters deep, is translucent, colorless, odorless, with a natural taste, but its water is not drinkable. Throughout the year, the interior of the cave has a fixed temperature of twelve degrees. Until today, no animal life could be detected inside. The floor and ceiling are covered with stalactites and stalagmites of different configurations formed over millions of years of chemical transformations. The air is light, healthy, dust-free and offers a peaceful atmosphere; if you light a candle under its enchanting vaults, its flame will not tremble.

To date, fourteen kilometers of tunnels have been identified, four kilometers of which have been developed for visitors. In the first years of its discovery, because of the lack of competence of the persons in charge and the greed of certain people, some stalactites, resulting from a long natural process spread over millions of years, were taken away and sold for decorate aquariums at the bazaar. Fortunately, this looting has not undermined the magical beauty of a setting that continues to amaze the hearts of nature lovers.

There are thousands of caves all over the world, such as the "Moulis" cave in France, the "Boucan" cave and the "Chevaliers" in Australia and many others. Near Beirut, capital of Lebanon, there is a prodigious cave, known as "Djo'aita. It stretches for tens of kilometers and welcomes every day many tourists from all over the world. We appreciate the concern for harmony in the materials used in the development and a suitable lighting style.

After the Islamic Revolution, especially at the end of the war, during the reconstruction period, the village became a tourist site. A welcoming infrastructure including hotels, wooden villas, campsites, restaurants, places of prayer, traditional bazaars and green spaces offers visitors pleasant conditions during their stay. In recent years, the water level has dropped and thanks to the facilities at the entrance to the cave, visitors can navigate the interior with equipped and safe boats and exit, without clutter, by another mouth. The cave is one of the most visited natural places in Hamedan, especially in summer. The tourist exploitation of this site has benefited the inhabitants of Ali Sadr village and has also promoted a considerable improvement in their living conditions.