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Stranger #12 The gentleman who lives in the cave house

We made our way to the mystical village of Kandovan in the northwest of Iran. It was a short taxi ride away from Tabriz. We were completely in awe with the unique village – it looked like one big termite colony! Houses carved inside volcanic rocks were so peculiar.

As we were walking in the street, he approached us with a smile and greeting – ‘Salaam.’ He told us that he lived in one of the houses and offered to take us there if we were interested. We readily agreed.

‘I was born here and have lived all my life in this house. I learnt to speak English from my friend who lives in Tehran. Life here is quite simple. We have long periods of winter during which the entire village is covered with snow!

My children study in the school here. I want them to go to the city and have a better life.’

Meet this friendly stranger from Kandovan, Iran who owns a grocery store and gave us a lovely tour of the village. We even bought some juicy apricots from him 🙂

kandovan Here is a picture of the queer little village of Kandovan –


Photo of the week #2 Kandovan

On the last day of our trip in Iran we happened to visit a unique village called Kandovan near Tabriz in the East Azerbaijan Province.

It is a remarkable example of man-made cliff dwellings which are still inhabited. These are carved out of volcanic rocks and cliffs. It is a small village with a population of around 600 people.


We spent half a day there, wandering through the steep, narrow paths between the houses, talking to the locals. We were lucky to get into one of the homes – it was that of a local business man who offered to walk us through the village and he could also speak a bit of English!

Kandovan is very similar to the Turkish region of Cappadocia. If you are in Iran and are not planning to travel to Turkey next, Kandovan can be a good alternative to Cappadocia.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Photo of the week : #1 Naqsh-e Jahan Square

It’s been two weeks into our backpacking trip and we are just loving it! Iran has been just great, more so, because of the lovely, lovely people here.

Starting from today, we’ve decided to add at least one photo which inspired us during the week to our blog along with a short story. So, here we start our photo series with our most favorite place in Iran – Isfahan.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square
Naqsh-e Jahan Square

The Persian proverb “Esfahān nesf-e jahān ast” which means Isfahan is half of the world is true in every sense with its beautiful palaces, majestic mosques, amazing boulevards and pretty bridges. We went to Naqsh-e Jahan (image of the world) square (it is one of the biggest squares in the world) early in the morning at around 7:30 AM and is the best time to enjoy all the beauty it offers before it gets too busy with the crowd. We had a meditative experience being in the middle of the huge square listening to the prayers.

This is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites and was a important stop along the silk road. This square houses important buildings from the Safavid era on all sides. The Shah Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace, Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque and Qaseiraiyah along with the historical bazaar of the silk road times showcase Islamic architecture at its best.