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Youkhana Cave • ئه‌شكه‌وتى يوخنا • كهف يوخنا

Youkhana Cave (Arabic: كهف يوخنا / Kurdish: ئه‌شكه‌وتى يوخنا) was named by the Christians after one of their saints, but it is also known as Gondik Cave after the Kurdish name for the village over which it looms There are carvings in three sections. They have not been surely dated, but likely are from the late third millennium BC. The people's figures resemble Luluins from the Naram-Sin and Anubanini reliefs.

The cave is a ten-minute walk from the village below. Simply follow your intuition about the way to get there, following small roads and paths and crossing a mucky ditch.

Two scenes outside the cave, and one is inside. The upper outer scene shows a standing hunter with a bow in his hand, stabbing a mountain goat. The hunter wears a short, belted skirt that goes below his knees. The lower outer scene shows two people sitting on two chairs. One is facing the other, and between and behind them are other people. This is thought to be a feast or festival scene, a common motif in the 3rd millennia BC. The inner scene is on the right wall of the cave. It shows several animals moving toward a seated man.

The interior of the cave is gorgeously, naturally sculpted. Millennia of fresh spring waters seeping along its surfaces have drawn fantastic forms across the cave. There are mineral buildups, broken stalactites, a myriad of tinier caves, and even some human development by local shepherds. Massive yellow jackets drink, and butterflies and moths rest in the shade.

The cave has plenty of fun places to explore. It is dusty with the ashes of burnt dung from the herds that were sheltered here during the winter, but nonetheless lots of fun to climb. There are tucked-away crevices, corners, throughways, and plenty more to see. Stop. Enjoy a picnic.

There is a shepherd's cave with a masonry wall to keep the herds inside and sheltered during the cold of winter. It has a thick layer of dust on the floor, the result of burning off the dung at the start and end of the cold season.