700 year-old Iranian underground cave homes

iran-cave-home1 Carved out of volcanic rock, these homes have survived seven centuries. Now that’s what we call sustainable

Since we wrote about Hassan Fathy’s mud buildings, we’ve been dying to find other examples of such earthy architecture in the Middle East.

Certainly modern inventions are worth mentioning, such as Ginger Dosier’s home-grown bricks, as are efforts to preserve existing structures such as Bahrain’s architectural heritage. But nothing we’ve encountered yet deserves the eco, efficient, friendly, green, sustainable award as much as these seven century old cave homes that are for rent or for sale in Iran.

Iran-cave-home2They look like they might have been conceived by Salvador Dali and built by Antoni Gaudí, but indeed these cave homes are much much older than that.

Carved into the volcanic rock at the foot of Mt. Sahand in Northeast Iran, the homes comprise both under and above ground space.

The underground spaces benefit from lower temperatures, thus reducing the energy requirement for cooling in this arid region. And the rest of the buildings have been updated with modern doors, windows and other fittings.


Inconceivably, these homes are either for rent or for sale, and are surrounded by various hotels, restaurants, and reportedly, special mineral water that has “healing properties.”

Might these buildings suggest that what is of the earth can be cool, too? We think so, though we don’t necessarily recommend that you chisel into your nearest dells without professional help, and perhaps a permit too.

:: Inhabitat

More architecture news from the Middle East:

Interview With Entity Green, Jordan’s Sustainable Development Organization

Foster + Partners in Jordan: What’s Sustainable About a Green Airport?

Architectural Design To Memorialize Assault On Free Speech In Turkey

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2 thoughts on “700 year-old Iranian underground cave homes”

  1. suzanna says:

    how much is the cave homes so I can save money

  2. Sarah Irving says:

    There’s a nice article here: http://www.thisweekinpalestine.com/details.php?id=2208&ed=144&edid=144 on the history of cave dwellings in Palestine (West Bank), and some of the few that remain in use.

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