غار قوری قلعه

Ghar-e-Qūrī Qal'eh - Quri Qaleh Cave - Ghoori Ghaleh - Qoori Qal'eh Cave - Quri Qala Cave


Useful Information

Location: Qoori Qaleh Village.
86 km from Kermanshah, on the road to Paveh. 25 km from the city of Ravansar, on the slopes of Shahu Mountain and overlooking the road Ravansar-Paveh.
(34.8995935, 46.501918)
Open: All year daily 9-18.
[2022]
Fee: Adults IRR 150,000, Foreigners IRR 400,000.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=3,140 m, T=7-11 °C, A=3,000 m asl.
Guided tours: D=1 h, L=1,500 m.
Photography: not allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Quri Qaleh, Kermanshah Province, Iran
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1957 cavers discover an 55 m deep shaft.
1957 to 1984 American, British, and French speleologists explore 550 m of cave.
1989 young Iranian adventurers excavate and explore further 1,340 m.
17-MAR-2009 registered as the 54th national relic in the list of Iran’s natural heritage by the Cultural Heritage Organization.

Description

غار قوری قلعه (Quri Qaleh Cave) is noted for its wealth of speleothems. It is also said to be the "longest cave of the middle east" or "one of the longest caves in western Asia", but that's a long-gone fame. And one which changes frequently. The caves of this region were only sparsely explored until the late 20th century, but research increased and new superlatives were discovered almost every year.

The cave was long known, but only the shallow entrance portal was accessible. In a first exploration era starting in 1957 the first 550 m leading to a 55 m deep shaft were discovered. The continuation at the bottom was blocked and opened many years later in 1989 by an Iranian adventurer club. They discovered the main parts of the cave.

The cave contains a colony of mouse ear bats, which are rather rare. More exotic is the yellow-spotted salamander, who lives in the river section. Strange descriptions about olm (Proteus Anguinus) living in the cave are nonsense though, it is endemic to Slovenia,

It seems so far no archaeological excavations has been made in the cave, but near the entrance numerous artifacts were found accidentally. A human skull and various clayworks from Prehistoric times and remains from the Sasanian Period tell that the area was inhabited over thousands of years. 15 coins were found, showing Yazdegerd III, the last Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 632 to 651. The cave is famous for a hoard of eight decorative silver vessels found here. Two elliptical bowls each bear an image of a bird - one a crane, the other one a guinea fowl - and a Middle Persian inscription. The bowls are considered local works, commissioned by members of the lower aristocracy or bureaucracy of the late Sasanian state.

The cave tour shows both levels of the cave. First the 550 m long upper passage with two chambers. Notable are a stalagmite formation resembling a camel's profile and hump and a second one called Mother Mary. About 1,000 m of the lower lever are also developed, starting with the 12 m long Talare Namaz (prayer hall), then Talare Bolour (crystal hall), and finally Talare Aroos (bride hall). Talare Bolour has former cave lakes with calcite crystals and some stalactites which knocked by the guide to create sounds. Talare Aroos is said to be the most magnificent part of the cave. It has bright, glittering crystals and four waterfalls each 10 to 12 m high. There are stalagmites all over the chamber which are up to eight meters high.