Friday, December 25, 2009

Kataleh Khor Cave

Kataleh Khor Cave (غار کتله خور) is a cave located in the Zanjan Province and was discovered in the 20th century. It is located 140 kilometers south west of Zanjan, in the southern skirts of the Saghezloo mountains, and 410 kilometers from Tehran. The name, Katale Khor, means "Mount of Sun”. Geological studies in 1984 showed that the cave formation dates back to the Jurassic period. It is believed that the cave connects to Ali Sadr Cave.  

The inlet to this cave stands 6-8 meters above a dry river. The cave has flat walls with high ceiling and archeologists estimate the age of the cave at 30 million years. The entrance to Kataleh Khor resembles a crevice at the beginning and culminates in a triangular arch. Archeologists have made the entrance bigger and it currently stands at 1.5 meters high. The beauty of this cave is enhanced due to the formation of stalagtites and stalagmites because of calcified precipitation. There are also multicolored conical shaped icicles (due to impurities) suspended from the roof although some of them are crystals clear. In the larger passages, a constant trickle of water has brought about the presence of beautiful designs and notable shapes similar to a cauliflower. On the cave flooring a skeleton of a four legged animal which has been converted to a calcified compound can also be noted.  

The first labyrinth is 400 meters from the entrance of the cave. It is expansive and has a high ceiling. After the labyrinth, the gallery, channels and passages have taken shape gradually becoming larger or smaller. The area of the labyrinth is 200-300 square meters. Chains of galleries are separated from each other. Some of them are open ended while others have narrow strip linking to other passages or labyrinths. Some of the strips have yet not been paved while others remain undiscovered. The floor of the labyrinths and channels are uneven and have formed through the ages with the dissolution of stones and shaping of new waterways.  

The cave is divided into three main sections, cultural, leisure and sports. The cultural section is located on the southern part of the cave. Its main section is a large naturally built hall which is used to hold various events. The entrance to this hall is man made, however the actual hall itself is entirely natural. The leisure section is open to public for general view and is around 2 kilometers long. It has been said that, this length covers only 1/3 of total length of the cave. The sports section is exclusively used by cave explorers and rock climbers. It extends around 4 kilometers.  

Some pottery, colored reddish brown. dating back to 2000 BC has been found in the cave. In addition other pottery has also been found although it seems more modern and of no historical value.  

En route to this cave, leisure spots filled with natural beauty enhances the eye of the onlooker, in addition to rest houses and places of pilgrimage. Since 1993, a structure has been constructed in the vicinity of the cave to host visitors. Special lights and projectors have been installed to help visitors to get a glimpse of the unknown world inside the cave. 


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