The Unfolding Tragedy of Kandovan: The Loss of the last inhabited cone-shaped settlement in the world

Aso Hajirasouli, Saeed Banihashemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Kandovan, a rural village in northwestern Iran, is a significant settlement because of its unique cone-shaped architecture and distinctive social consistency, having been continually inhabited for the past nine centuries. This uniqueness was officially acknowledged when it was enshrined in Iran's National Heritage List in (give date here). Over the past two decades, however, this unique settlement has experienced profound changes driven by the 21st-century lifestyles of its current residents. This research paper aims to identify the underlying factors responsible for these on-going changes. Data on the architecture, society, and culture of its inhabitants was collected using the qualitative methodology of an embedded single-case study, drawing on direct observation, interviews, document analysis, archival records, and physical artefacts, the content of this data then being evaluated using thematic analysis. The results from this analysis have indicated that both the rural community and unique architecture of Kandovan are fast disappearing, mostly due to mass-tourism and urbanisation which is resulting in a rapid change of the socio-cultural backgrounds of the local residents. This research confirms the importance of providing additional support for the preservation and management of the architectural context and living traditions of Kandovan as the last surviving rock cone-shaped rural habitation, and other, similarly endangered heritage sites.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102211
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


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