The Saholan Cave with the geological structure of water, soil, limestone, is one of the most wonderful and most unique natural caves in Iran that is located at the altitude of 1751 meters above the sea level.
It is located 42 km Northeast of Mahabad, in the Road of Mahabad-Boukan, Saholan Village, Mahabad City, West Azarbaijan Province, Iran.
The Saholan Cave is the second largest water cave of Iran following Alisadr Cave.
Based on the geological researches, the cave dates back to the end of the Cretaceous period that is about 70 million years ago.
The cave was the place of residence and shelter for the humans from second and first millennium BC.
Jacques de Morgan, French mining engineer, geologist, and archaeologist, identified and studied the Saholan Cave about 100 years ago.
Following his discoveries, an English team at the time of World War II and later an Iranian team of speleologists in October 1994 studies the cave. The protection and preservation process took place on the cave in 2000.
Geographical Points of View
The cave has two main entrances that there is a way between them and it’s possible to come in from one of them and leave from the other entrance.
It includes some large ponds, which are connected together by water canals. Currently, 300 meters of waterway and 250 meters of the waterless route of it has been identified and preserved.
The height of the cave ceiling from the surface of the lake is about 50 meters and the depth of water in some places is nearly 30 meters.
The temperature difference of the cave inside and outside of it is between 10 to 15 degrees. The cave humidity is variable between 70 to 80 percent that the surface of the stones and rocks has been covered by moss due to sever moisture.
The only organisms of this cave are wild pigeons and bat. No alga grow in the water of the cave due to the darkness and lack of light and no organisms live there except for microscopic organisms. Calcareous sediments formed various shapes inside the cave. There are some facilities inside of the cave and around of it for use by tourists.
Saholan means “Ice” in Kurdish language and since there are a large number of pigeon nests inside the cave, it is also called “Laneh Kabotar” which means the nest of pigeons.
Being located in the middle of high mountains and deep valleys has added extra beauty to this marvelous natural phenomenon. Saholan cave has two openings which are covered with some huge trees and inside the cave is very humid and dark, though, with the help of hundreds of spotlights, visibility is provided. One can easily move through the lake using boat and other parts can also be visited on foot. On this journey which is full of mysteries, tourists pass through narrow corridors and three large and small pools to reach the lake.
The wonders and beauties of Saholan Cave cannot be expressed through language. To exit the cave, there is another dry route and one can easily walk through it to the ground.