Karaftu

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For the village, see Karaftu, Kurdistan. For administrative subdivision, see Karaftu District. For the administrative subdivision of West Azerbaijan Province, see Karaftu Rural District.

The Cave of Karaftu is situated 64 km from Seqiz (and 12 km from the village of Kereftu). Strategically, this site connects the ancient road from Syria and Iraq, leading through Iran to Afghanistan, i.e. it is on the Silk Road. Throughout history, and yet till today, many caravans have passed through this road, endowing particular importance to this region. Many sites in the immediate surrounding of this rocky mountain have been found to be connected via various tunnels and corridors through the rocks. These complexes date back to 300 B.C., and belong to the Ashkanid dynasty. These have constituted a temple for Heracles (2000 years ago), and the name of this Greek god is carved on one of the walls of the third room, accompanied by a horse rider (hunting a deer) which is believed to illustrate Goudarz the Ashkanid king. Various war triumphs are also illustrated, and these are also believed to date back to the same historical era. The eminent Russian historian Tasit, claimed that these paintings illustrate the importance of this temple causing highly important triumph of Goudarz and Mehrdad the Ashkanid kings.

Entering these caves is still very difficult, as the entrances are placed on the heights of this steep mountain. The corridors are also difficult to pass through, as the sizes are constructed for strategical purposes. Some passages also maintain natural water wells, and many of the labyrinth-like corridors lead to important fireplaces (in the temple).

Investigating the paintings, have revealed that oil based colors have been used, and attached buildings in the various wings, are signs to an annexed village to the temple.

Coordinates: 36°16′N 46°51′E / 36.267°N 46.850°E / 36.267; 46.850