Iran’s Kandovan joins Best Tourism Villages Network

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The 25th session of the UNWTO General Assembly convened in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on 16-20 October 2023.

Some 54 villages from all regions were selected from almost 260 applications. A further 20 villages have joined the Upgrade Programme, and all 74 villages are now part of the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Network.

The Network enlarges every year and aims at becoming the largest global rural network: with the announcement today of these 74 new members, 190 villages are now part of this unique Network.

Eight villages situated in various Iranian provinces competed to be selected as a global village by the World Tourism Organization.

The eight nominees were shortlisted from 130 villages by a working group affiliated with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.

The shortlist comprised Kandovan in East Azarbaijan province, Meymand in Kerman, Soheili in Hormozgan, Qasemabad in Gilan, Kandelus in Mazandaran, Palangan in Kordestan, Abyaneh in Isfahan, and the village of Bisheh, which is located in Lorestan province.

Dating back over seven thousand years, the rocky village of Kandovan is situated in Northwestern Iran which is around an hour outside of Tabriz City.

“Kandovan” means beehive and any traveler climbing up the winding paths of the Kandovan cave village will see how the village got its name. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes for walking around this rocky village.

Visitors can book tours to explore these cave homes. Locals will welcome you into the homes where you can purchase sweets, souvenirs and traditional tea that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.

Iran's Kandovan joins Best Tourism Villages Network

To truly understand how it feels to dwell in a cave village, several of the cave homes are available for visitors to rent. The two meter thick walls keep cool air flowing in the summer and trap warm air in during the winter, making a stay in a Kandovan cave home perfect for any time of year.

Situated near the city of Osku, Kandovan epitomizes genuine manmade dwellings that have been carved out of substantially eroded rocks and it has been continuously inhabited since ancient times.

As to its shape and appearance, Kandovan is highly reminiscent of Turkey’s Cappadocia, a UNESCO World Heritage site that features dwellings, troglodyte villages and underground towns with traces of human habitat dating back to the 4th century.

Iran's Kandovan joins Best Tourism Villages Network

Home to thousands of ancient villages, Iran perfectly suits the tastes of many domestic and even international vacationers who seek unique nature experiences and untouched landscapes, stay in authentic accommodations, and feel the local lifestyle.

Launched in 2021, the Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative is part of the UNWTO Tourism for Rural Development Programme. The Programme works to foster development and inclusion in rural areas, combat depopulation, advance innovation and value chain integration through tourism and encourage sustainable practices.

UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

Reported byTohid Mahmoudpour

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