|Alborz mountain in Jahrom (28.4854, 53.5818)
|Rock Mine Room and Pillar Mining
|L=200 m, W=60-130 m, Ar=20,000 m².
|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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غار سنگتراشان (Sangtarashan Cave) is a former rock quarry located southwest of Jahrom under Mount Alborz. While limestone was mined for many years in the traditional room and pillar method, during the excavation pillars were left standing to support the ceiling, However, sometimes the pillars are quite thin and look rather fragile, with wide passages in between. This could cause collapses in the future, and they were lately restored by the Shiraz University of Technology using concrete. They found that there are two kinds of pillars. Those consisting of rock with cracks and bands of silt were not good for quarrying, but unfortunately they also do not support the ceiling. The others consist of valuable limestone and were left to support the ceiling. Today the passages are big enough to drive a car inside, but the early masons left much more pillars. Later generation needed wider passages to transport the rock, so they removed some of the pillars in the old parts near the entrances.
The underground quarry is vast, 200 m long and between 60 m and 130 m wide, with 12 entrances. The total area is 20,000 m². The ceiling is 4 m high at the entrance but drops to 1 m at the end. Nevertheless: the claim that it is the largest of of its kind is obviously wishful thinking. Actually there are numerous different claims like largest artificial cave of the world, largest artificial cave of the middle east, largest haddug cavernn, and so forth.
The limestone here was very pure, had no irregularities or cracks and was relatively soft and creamy white, easy to sculpt. It was used primarily for decoration, and there multiple uses for such decorations: facades of buildings and porches, latticed windows, courtyards and platforms. But also tombstones, stone inscriptions, and staircases. Also anything with water like stone faucets, gutters, stone jars, stone pots, and stone ponds. The rubble was used for stone mortar. The rocks were used in Jahrom, but also in Shiraz and Isfahan. The stones of the facade of the Atiq Grand Mosque in Shiraz were mined here.
The cave are now abandoned, but several families from Jahrom tell the old legend that their ancestors were working for the owner 300 years ago and all became shareholder of the mine. The problem is that some try to reopen the mine, which would destroy the historic monument. Unfortunately the cave is not protected yet, but the ownership is still disputed and at the moment the place is discovered by national tourism. The Fars Cultural Heritage Organization tries to get the caves registered it in the National Heritage List. The next step would be to install light, toilets and other necessary infrastructure for the visitors. The caves could become an important tourist destination.