The Karain Cave , Antalya – Turkey

It was since such a long time that I was reading about the Karain Cave and its importance but did not have the opportunity to arrange a visit over there .

Last year even though the pandemic took place we decided to do a trip to Karain as we were in the South of Turkey in those days. You can read more about it here: 13 Gorgeous Travelstops at the Medditerrean Coastline from Antalya to Marmaris. Unfortunately the cave was closed exactly because of the pandemic conditions .

This year we had another chance to make a trial to the cave and this time the cave was open !

Actually the Karain Cave is very close to Antalya , the famous touristic city at the Mediterrean Sea in the South of Turkey. Once you visit this region , you definitely should see all the ancient archeological sites and natural beautiful surrounding of old Perge , Capital City of Pamphylia and Lycia , the Land of the Light Turkey June 2019 over there .

The worldfamous cave of Karain is located 27 km northwest of Antalya city in the little village of Yagca .

We leave the city and drive northwards .On the one side there are the highways going to Side, Perge and the Duden and Kursunlu waterfalls while on the other side there are the beautiful mountain ranges of the region .On our way to Karain we pass by huge fileds with pomegrate trees and olive trees.

The trees are full of fruits and olives . It looks so gorgeous and gives this valley a wonderful fairy touch .

From the city it takes just about half an hour and once we pass by the narrow streets of the village finally we arrive at the entrance gate that is open and welcoming us .

After having parked our car we arrange our entrance tickets .

There is just a notice of the clerk : ” Please remark that you need to take 450 steps to go up to the cave “

Oh , this is something that we did not expect since we thought that the cave is more or less on the ground or even under the ground area but it is high in the mountains .

There is no way out , we need to use the steps to go upwards as we were waiting so long to visit this very special place .

Slowly we walk up the slope of the mountains and once we need a break we just sit down at the numerous banks on the path and look downwards to the valley that is looking breathtaking ! Nature is so beautiful as long as people don’t touch it and destroy it .The view is gorgeous .

Finally we arrive at the top and even the entrance area looks very promising .

The Karain cave is a very important prehistoric site as since 500.000 years ago people were using this cave for different purposes .It is located 450 meters above sealevel at the at the Sam Dagi Mountain at the Western Taurus Mountain range and is one of the largest caves in Anatolia and the Near East region and one of the oldest caves used by mankind on earth .

In 1946 the cave was discovered and archeological excavations directed by Prof Dr Kilic Kokten started .

While we enter the cave I just admire the beautiful rock formations. We need to be careful while going down since the way is a bit steep and sandy and the stones of the steps are slippery .

Right at the entrance area we see the part where excavations every year still go on .

The cave itself consists of 3 mainparts ie 3 mainchambers which are separated from each other by pillars and passageways.

Results of the excavations have shown that this cave was used from the Paleolothic ages till the Roman period .It is proofed that Neanderthal people were living at this place .

In the Iron age eg this cave was used for religious purposes .Due to this period there are even some Greek inscriptions and some niches found here .

Historical objects show that the people living here were using the entrance part as an altar and were probably eating the hunted animals at this location .

It is a very important place for mankind since the cave is on the migration routes of the people migrating from Asia to Europe , since the findings of the archeological work gives insight into the flora and fauna of the surrounding in paleolithic times and later as due to the results animals like rhinos , elephants , hippopotamus should have lived in this area . Instruments made of the strong leg bones of those animals were found in this cave . An axe probably being about 350.000 years old was found in 2017.

About 20-30 archeological staff is working here seasonally and due to given information each year they are able to carve about 1 year deep into the earth at this location and find new objects which give light to human history . Going further down we arrive at the main chamber which is very impressive .

From here onwards there are again steps going further down to the 2nd and 3rd chamber . The cave is high and there is enough space for oxygen .It is also light inside .Every corner is so nice and interesting .

Inside the 3rd chamber a bat is crying .Probably incoming visitors have disturbed the animal somehow in its natural habitat .

Historical findings of the Karain Cave are shown in the Museum of Antalya and also in the Museum of the Ancient Civilizations in Ankara .

I just try to imagine what all has taken places in these hundreds of thousand years at this location .It seems to be a perfect place to hide from wild animals , to hide from enemies , to hide from the burning sun in summer and to be at a cool place or to hide from the snow and cold wind in wintertimes .

It is even very cosy here – the colors of the rock formations inside are somehow harmonizing with each other .The cave itself as well as its supernice surrounding are having a great energy . Outside the cave you have a perfect view to the valley as if you are in the nest of an eagle and wonderful trees and flowers are flourishing around , especially olive trees are around the cave .

What gorgous place , what wonderful day and what a perfect weather today – it is a nice September day where I succeeded in fulfilling another dream . It might seem very modest to you but for me it is a big dream that I have achieved in walking down this cave and admiring this sublime historical place .

The Karain cave is on the tentative list of the Unesco World Heritage sites and there is no doubt that it needs to be on the final list soonest and also introduced to the world public and especially to the pupils and students at schools as they should definitely know about this gem whose value is incountable and they should be aware of what they need to protect also in the future for mankind !

When leaving the cave I just need to sit down at top of the hill and look down into the valley and all my deep impressions need to sink down my soul.It was a special gift given me to be here today !

Thank you ….

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