Karain Cave is one of the largest natural caves in Turkey and is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Remains of Neanderthals who lived over 200,000 years ago have been found in the cave. Bones of elephants, bear, rhinoceroses, and hippopotamuses have been found in the cave. Researchers have found evidence of 25,000 years on continuous habitation at Karain Cave.
The entrance to the cave.
To reach the cave, you to climb the side of the mountainside via a staircase. The climb takes about a 10 minutes if you go at a brisk pace without stopping (although most people stop at least a couple times to rest). The entrance of the cave shows traces of old archaeological digs. Once inside the cave, there’s not a lot to see other than some carvings into the rocks (and, unfortunately, the names of many lovers written on the walls of the cave). But with even the slightest imagination, one can experience what life was like hundreds of thousands of years ago. Researches have found evidence of life from the Lower, Middle, and Upper Paleolithic Periods. Near the entrance of the cave, there is an inscription with Greek writing, which is the remains of an ancient site of worship. If you search the ground around the cave, you can find evidence of stone tool making around the entrance (removing any artifacts, including rocks, is strictly forbidden and can be punished severely). There are countless artifacts on display at the Antalya Archaeology Museum, so a visit to see the riches of Karain Cave is definitely recommended. Due to its historical and archaeological significance, Karain Cave has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list.
The cave is broken into three chambers that are connected by small passages, some of which are at an incline and can be slippery, so wear good shoes. The cave is not particularly large – you could walk through it in 5 minutes. But if you take time to explore all the nooks and crannies, you could easily spend 30 minutes to an hour just exploring the cave. The cave is largely protected from the outside elements, so the inside of the cave is pleasant year round. The views from the cave and the climb up are quite beautiful. Researchers think that the agricultural fields outside the cave are actually an ancient lake. Despite being off the beaten path and being relatively small (a criticism we’ve heard and read), a trip to Karain Cave is defintely worth it in our opinion.
Artifacts at the Antalya Archaeology Museum..
A face carved into the wall.
The paths between chambers.
The first chamber with the archaeology dig remains.
The second chamber.
Greek writing at the entrance to the cave.