Karain Cave

Karain Cave

Karain Cave, also known as Karain Mağarası, is a vast natural cave situated in the Yağca Village province, located 30 kilometers northwest of Antalya. The height of the cave varies from 150 meters at its highest point in front to 430-450 meters above sea level.

The cave has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times, including the early Palaeolithic Age, Middle and Late Paleolithic Ages, Neolithic Age, Chalcolithic Age, Early Bronze Age, and Classical Ages. As a result, it features a thick cultural deposit of approximately 11 meters.

During the Classical Ages, the cave served primarily as a votive cave (temple), and Greek inscriptions and niches can be found on the mouth and outer walls. The archaeological findings from excavations at Karain Cave are on display at the nearby Antalya Museum (Antalya Mağarası) and Karain Museum (Karain Müzesi).

Karain Cave

Located about 100 meters above a layer of travertine believed to have formed during the Pleistocene period, the entrance to Karain Cave opens up to three large chambers separated by calcite walls and connected by narrow, winding corridors. The interior of the cave is adorned with stunning stalactites and stalagmites.

Evidence of archaeological excavations can be observed on the surface of the cave, with the by-product of stone tools visible at the entrance where recent excavation work took place. However, it is important to note that collecting such items is strictly prohibited by Turkish authorities and carries severe penalties.

As you make your way towards the cave's entrance on the mountain slope, you'll come across several niches and Greek inscriptions, remnants of a religious sanctuary established during the period of colonization.

Once inside Karain Cave, visitors can explore numerous chambers and witness how people lived thousands of years ago. These caves provided many advantages, such as natural cooling in summer and protection from the elements in winter, as well as a consistent temperature throughout the year.

The plain at the mountain's foot has long been used for farming, but in ancient times, it was only accessible to hunters and gatherers. Even today, the area remains intensively cultivated for agriculture. The cave's steep slope also provided excellent protection against potential attackers, as any would-be intruders were easily visible to its inhabitants.

Recognized for its historical and cultural significance, Karain Cave has been listed on UNESCO's Tentative List since 1994.