Skip to comments.Eighth wonder of the world? The stunning temples secretly carved out below ground ~snip~
Posted on 11/22/2007 12:02:56 PM PST by fanfan
Nestling in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy, 30 miles from the ancient city of Turin, lies the valley of Valchiusella. Peppered with medieval villages, the hillside scenery is certainly picturesque.
But it is deep underground, buried into the ancient rock, that the region's greatest wonders are concealed.
Here, 100ft down and hidden from public view, lies an astonishing secret - one that has drawn comparisons with the fabled city of Atlantis and has been dubbed 'the Eighth Wonder of the World' by the Italian government.
For weaving their way underneath the hillside are nine ornate temples, on five levels, whose scale and opulence take the breath away.
Constructed like a three-dimensional book, narrating the history of humanity, they are linked by hundreds of metres of richly decorated tunnels and occupy almost 300,000 cubic feet - Big Ben is 15,000 cubic feet.
Few have been granted permission to see these marvels.
Indeed, the Italian government was not even aware of their existence until a few years ago.
But the 'Temples of Damanhur' are not the great legacy of some long-lost civilisation, they are the work of a 57-year-old former insurance broker from northern Italy who, inspired by a childhood vision, began digging into the rock.
It all began in the early Sixties when Oberto Airaudi was aged ten. From an early age, he claims to have experienced visions of what he believed to be a past life, in which there were amazing temples.
Around these he dreamed there lived a highly evolved community who enjoyed an idyllic existence in which all the people worked for the common good.
More bizarrely still, Oberto appeared to have had a supernatural ability: the gift of "remote viewing" - the ability to travel in his mind's eye to describe in detail the contents of any building.
"My goal was to recreate the temples from my visions," he says.
Oberto - who prefers to use the name 'Falco' - began by digging a trial hole under his parent's home to more fully understand the principals of excavation.
But it was only as he began a successful career as an insurance broker that he began to search for his perfect site.
In 1977, he selected a remote hillside where he felt the hard rock would sustain the structures he had in mind.
A house was built on the hillside and Falco moved in with several friends who shared his vision. Using hammers and picks, they began their dig to create the temples of Damanhur - named after the ancient subterranean Egyptian temple meaning City of Light - in August 1978.
As no planning permission had been granted, they decided to share their scheme only with like-minded people.
Volunteers, who flocked from around the world, worked in four-hour shifts for the next 16 years with no formal plans other than Falco's sketches and visions, funding their scheme by setting up small businesses to serve the local community.
By 1991, several of the nine chambers were almost complete with stunning murals, mosaics, statues, secret doors and stained glass windows. But time was running out on the secret.
The first time the police came it was over alleged tax evasion and still the temples lay undiscovered. But a year later the police swooped on the community demanding: "Show us these temples or we will dynamite the entire hillside."
Falco and his colleagues duly complied and opened the secret door to reveal what lay beneath.
Three policemen and the public prosecutor hesitantly entered, but as they stooped down to enter the first temple - named the Hall of the Earth - their jaws dropped.
Inside was a circular chamber measuring 8m in diameter.
A central sculpted column, depicting a three dimensional man and woman, supported a ceiling of intricately painted glass.
The astonished group walked on to find sculpted columns covered with gold leaf, more than 8m high.
Stunned by what they had found, the authorities decided to seize the temples on behalf of the government.
"By the time they had seen all of the chambers, we were told to continue with the artwork, but to cease further building, as we had not been granted planning permission," says Esperide Ananas, who has written a new book called Damanhur, Temples Of Humankind.
Retrospective permission was eventually granted and today the 'Damanhurians' even have their own university, schools, organic supermarkets, vineyards, farms, bakeries and award-winning eco homes.
They do not worship a spiritual leader, though their temples have become the focus for group meditation.
'They are to remind people that we are all capable of much more than we realise and that hidden treasures can be found within every one of us once you know how to access them,' says Falco.
Many more pictures at the link.
“Stunned by what they had found, the authorities decided to seize the temples on behalf of the government.”
The more things change....
Absolutely amazing. Thanks for posting.
Did you see the pictures at the link? Very impressive.
” Big Ben is 15,000 cubic feet. “
Wrong! Off by a factor of 10! (Actual interior volume of the tower is about 150,000 cubic feet.)
Yet another example of the pitiful innumeracy rampant in the mass media.
An ordinary, smallish, house has a volume of about 15,000 cubic feet. That should have tipped off the author of the article to, at least, ask someone who completed one high school math course to check the figures.
In previous centuries, these guys would have lended their talents to cathedrals and beautiful public buildings. But no one’s building cathedrals anymore, and new public buildings are ugly now, so the beauty’s gone underground.
Wow....excuisite artwork. The government should let him continue on with his work.
Beautiful. Also feels very New Age/
Wow, reminds me of Henry Darger.
The temples are astounding! It truly is amazing what these people accomplished.
(My previous post was a reaction to a pet peeve — now, I’m more awestruck than anything.)
I wouldn’t have known, but I don’t write ‘em, I just post ‘em.
Pretty amazing, eh?
Look at the detail!
A bit, yes.
I’d vote for the salt mines in Krakow! Of course, the media is not likely to make as big a deal over the artistic additions to these excavations because they are Christian! The carvings include a life size replica of the Last Supper carved in salt.
“It’s the oldest operational salt mine in Europe which has been working for over 700 years. Since 1978, the mine is on UNESCO’s list of World Class Landmarks of Cultural and Natural Heritage - where it was listed among the top 12 attractions in the world. The tourist route open to sightseers is only a small part of the entire mine. The mine includes 7.5 million square meters of post-excavation space on nine levels, each between 64 and 327 meters. The tourist route extends to level three only - to the depth of 135 meters. During the 2,5 hour tour, you will travel underground approximately 3.5 km. During this time you will see 30 of the more than 2148 chambers.”
Scroll down on this link for pictures:
But the 'Temples of Damanhur' are not the great legacy of some long-lost civilisation, they are the work of a 57-year-old former insurance broker from northern Italy who, inspired by a childhood vision, began digging into the rock.ML/NJ