Ghar Alisadr (Iran, Hamadan Province)


Ghar Alisadr belongs to the precious natural heritage of Iran. It is currently one of the 10 most important show caves of the world. The sustainable management, protection, and future development of Ghar Alisadr both as touristic and scientific object needs a well-founded knowledge on the cave system itself as a basis of future decisions and geological engineering. An exact and complete topographic map of the cave passages would assist the management of Ghar Alisadr and the GSI and facilitate planning with regard to the entire extension of the cave. Furthermore, a topographical map can be used for didactical and advertising purposes (e.g. to inform the visitors about the cave). A cave survey including the direction of the passages and their cross-sections as well as the interior of the galleries will be useful for geologists and other specialised scientists.

Several written sources had indicated that the accumulated length of all the cave passages of Ghar Alisadr is supposed to be around 11-14 km. However, the length quoted was merely an orally stated value that has never been verified by a proper survey of the entire cave according to international standards. Before this project took place, only an incomplete map of the touristic section of the cave was available, based on the work of Hamadan mountaineers. Further discoveries were merely sketched.

The successful 2000 and 2001 survey projects resulted in 11.440 m of mapped passage length for Ghar Alisadr and have left the cave with only some minor open leads. Hence, Ghar Alisadr is currently by far the longest cave of Iran.

Difficult weather conditions with heavy snowstorms during the 2000 project prohibited extensive field excursions at that time, which were instead done during the 2001 project. Besides an examination of the area close to Ghar Alisadr a number of other caves (Ghar Sarab, Ghar Soobashi and Ghar Gamasiab) were studied as well as karst springs and volcanic occurrences.

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Entrance to Ghar Alisadr in summer.

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Entrance to Ghar Alisadr in winter.

Georg Kaufmann
Institute of Geophysics, University of Goettingen, Herzberger Landstrasse 180, 37075 Goettingen, Germany, (

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