Holidaying in the Middle East

Travelled by Margo Rhys-Jones on 18 September 2008 | 0 Comments

Travelled By

Margo Rhys-Jones

37 yrs old.absolute love of traveling - and photography, writing, health / nutrition, relaxation. ...Find out more!


Last week we talked about the realistic possibility of The Middle East becoming a holiday destination.  This week we tell you first hand what it is really like to vacation here - and specifically, in Iran.  Situated 60km southwest of Tabriz, capital city of Iran’s northern province Azerbaijan, Kandovan is a village steeped in history (800 years of it) and mysterious wonder and is fully functioning to this day, albeit with the ‘finer’ things in life like power, DVD players and tourist dollars.

Formed from volcanic activity, Kandovan is the plural form of the word ‘kando’ which means ‘bees nest’ so-called because of the bees nest like ‘houses’ carved out of the natural, rocky formations - and its this architecture the village is famous for, as well as its mineral water, which is said to dissolve kidney stones.

It was my first day in Azerbaijan, and being taken to Kandovan was an Iranian highlight.  We managed to get a look inside one of the ‘houses’ - inhabited by mother and daughter.  The main room that we were shown was the ‘house’ - bedroom, lounge room, storage and kitchen rolled into one, although the mother did tell us there was a bigger kitchen downstairs.

It is said that the original inhabitants of Kandovan moved there during the Mongolian invasion, and hid in the caves, later carving them into houses so  they could remain.  The main sources of income are from agriculture and animal husbandry - with various hand crafts and foodstuffs for the tourist dollar.

Visiting Kandovan was truly an ‘other-world’ experience, home to humble and welcoming villagers with a very obvious respect to it’s history, something that is mesmerising.  Long may they hold on to their history, identity and heritage before it becomes the next ‘must-visit’ tourist spot!

Check out my photo gallery below:





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