The beautiful village of Kanduan near Tabriz in Azerbaijan of Iran is of interest. This is the site of world’s sole modern hotel that has been literally carved inside a mountain. Note the 3 photographs below of the Kanduan Hotel near Tabriz:


  Hotel Entrance

Guest Suite

Dining Room

This hotel is again a testament to Iranian engineering skills, one that harks back to the days of the Medes, Cyrus, Darius and Xerxes…

Azarbaijan is indeed one of Iran’s oldest provinces, known to Greco-Roman historiography as Media Atropatene. Few Iranians or westerners are aware that this area (near Tabriz) is not far from ancient Praaspa, the site where the legendary Roman leader Marc Antony failed to capture in 36 BC. Antony’s expedition in fact ended in disaster with heavy losses to the Romans in men and materiel.


Marc Antony (83-30 BC) Roman statesman and military leader. His expedition into ancient Praaspa (near modern Tabriz)ended in disaster in 36 BC mainly at the hands of Iranian Parthian armored knights and horse-archers. In one of the engagements, the Mede infantry destroyed 10,000 Roman legionnaires. Marc Antony and his surviving troops fled into Syria and from there to Egypt where Ptolemid Queen Cleopatra provided them sanctuary and shelter  (For more details consult Farrokh, 2007, p.144-146).


Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema showing Queen Cleopatra of Egypt receiving Marc Antony. Hollywood and western entertainment outlets often produce movies and narratives of Antony’s love affair with Cleopatra. Interestingly these depictions avoid any mention of Antony’s disaster in Parthian Persia.

Azarbaijan has indeed contributed much to Iran’s rich and ancient legacy and has often been at the forefront of  defending the borders of ancient and modern Iran again invasions.