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Sahoolan cave, Iran's 2nd largest water cave

8/30/06 Photos: Ali Moayedian, 2002

Mahabad, West Azarbaijan prov, Aug 19, IRNA-Sahoolan water cave situated 43 kms to the southeast of Mahabad near the village of Issakand on the road to the city of Boukan in this northwestern province, is the country's second largest water cave.

The name of the cave is taken from the village in which it is located, but it is also called by local people `dove nest'.

The surrounding high mountains with their high-flown peaks and fully virgin deep valleys add to the beauty and majesty of this amazing natural attraction.

Upon arrival at the village parking lot, which is located 100 meters from Sahoolan cave, visitors have to take a walk to reach it.

Being situated at a height of 2,000 meters from the sea level, this tourist spot is cool in summer and freezing in winter. Sahoolan is a Kurdish word meaning freezing and has been chosen to describe the climatic condition of the area.

A 7,000-rial ticket entitles the visitors to take a tour of the cave to explore the beauties of this charming natural phenomenon including the waterway and dry part of the cave by boat and on foot respectively.

Inside the cave is quite humid and dark, but hundreds of flashlights installed in it provide enough light to enable visitors to look at the interior of this rare tourist attraction.

At the beginning of the tour, the visitors will find the first lake measuring 200 square meters, whose water is limpid.

As the boat proceeds further into the cave, the boatman introduces the wall paintings of dolphins, eels, etc.

Doves are seen all around the cave, given that they are the major residents of Sahoolan. They lay their eggs even at spots where the visitors can touch them.

The few bats living in the cave moved to darker areas after the lights were installed to keep away from the visitors vision.

The fourth lake in the cave measuring 500 square meters is the last point of the tour.

The boat stops at a peninsula situated to the west of this lake, where the visitors take a seat on the chairs provided for them, relax and take a look at the beauties of the cave.

According to Mahabad mayor, Sahoolan water cave is annually visited by 20,000 Iranian and foreign tourists.

Sahoolan stands second to Iran's largest water cave, Ali-Sadr cave in Hamedan.

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