Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
& CULTURAL NEWS©
Cave or Hercules Temple?
& Islamic Periods
The Karaftu cave is considered one of Iran’s
natural marvels. Located near the town of Divandarreh in the
province of western Kurdestan, it is a natural lime covered
Studies show in the Mesozoic era, the cave was under water and
it started to surface late in the era. It was used by man in
different eras who tailored to suit their needs. Karaftu is dug
into the mountain, built with rock architecture in four storeys.
Many Orientalists such as de Morgan, Rawlinson, etc. visited the
cave and drew its plan. There is a tablet written in Greek above
the portal of a room in the third floor. That’s why it has
been mentioned as the Hercules temple. The tablet reads:
“therein resides Hercules and no evil can penetrate it.”
The Karaftu cave is 750 meters in length with a large number of
subways. The existence of man in the cave means that it was
subject to manipulations, with many rooms and hallways cut into
There are abstract paintings of animals, humans and plants which
are mostly of a ritualistic nature.
In 2000, boring pits were dug in the cave as the archaeological studies revealed remains from various era which indicated that
man inhabited it in the pre-historic era.
In addition, pottery pieces and relics found in the cave suggest
it was inhabited in the Arsacid, Sasanid and Islamic eras.
Over the last few years, the local cultural heritage department
has made modifications in the cave to prepare it to receive
visitors. An archaeological research center has also been set up
in its vicinity.
is the Light on the Path to Future"
British Institute of Persian Studies