Caves became one of the first dwellings of a rational person. During the Middle Ages, these rooms inside the rocks became popular again. Whole castles, monasteries and cities appeared there. People lived here, rested, prayed. Even today in northern China, about 40 million people live in cave houses. People used both natural formations, so they created their own. The most famous such settlements will be discussed below.
Guyaju, China. These caves are located just 92 kilometers from Beijing. This cave house is quite ancient. It only remains a mystery when he appeared. Indeed, there is no mention of this place in historical sources. People here carved a cave on a steep cliff overhanging the city of Zangshaning. The cave is one of the largest in the country. It is divided into 110 stone rooms, inside which many people live today.
Matmata, Tunisia. Tunisia has almost everything. But if a tourist wants to see something really unusual, he should go to the south of the country. There is the cave city of Matmata. A tribe of troglodytes has lived there for 1500 years. These people are very civilized, dress like ordinary nomads. On the slopes of the mountains, they dug artificial caves. There are about 700 of them here. They are used by people as rooms. Dug craters can be up to 10 meters in diameter and height. The length of the rooms can reach 20 meters, while they are connected with each other by passages. Alcoves in the walls serve as beds, if residents need a new shelf, they simply cut it down in the soft wall. The reason for the appearance of the cave city is simple - the rock here is so soft that it is easier to build dwellings right in it than to build from it.
Bamiyan, Afghanistan. This place is 225 miles from Kabul. Tourists have always sought to get here. The city of Bamiyan itself lies at an altitude of 2800 meters, and its population is 61,863 people. It is the largest city in Khazarajat, the central region of Afghanistan. The city lies on the territory of an old Hindu Buddhist monastery. Notable here are the statues of Buddha carved into the rocks. One of them has a height of 55 meters, at one time it was the tallest statue of this deity in the world. During the reign of Kanishka the Great, Bamiyan was an important center of Buddhism. The sculptures of the deity, and the territory itself, were sacred. The priests created many cells here, where round holes in the rocks led. But already in our time, the Taliban forces deliberately blew up these statues, destroying the main pride of the cave complex.
Sassi di Matera. This city is considered a real monument in the open air. It is no coincidence that Matera is included in the UNESCO heritage list. It is believed that the settlement dates back to prehistoric times, becoming one of the first in Italy. The city, spread out on the slopes, attracted the attention of many directors. In particular, it was here that Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" was filmed. In the city, most of the buildings are actually caves. And some streets of the city lie on the roofs of other buildings. Once there was a river in the gorge, on its slopes a prehistoric town arose. Today, the stream has practically disappeared. In Sassi there are more than 120 rock-cut churches with Byzantine frescoes. The Crypt of Original Sin with its drawings is considered a kind of Sistine Chapel for other rock-cut churches. In the middle of the last century, the Italian government tried to relocate the townspeople from Sassi to other places. But this caused a protest from local residents, they wanted to continue living in the land of their ancestors.
Mount Verde, United States. This National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located in Montezuma County, Colorado. Mesa Verde Park was created back in 1906 to preserve nature around the most beautiful human rock dwellings in the world. The entire park covers an area of 211 square kilometers. In it, numerous guests can see the numerous remains of villages and houses built by indigenous people, including those in the rocks. Dwellings in the cliff began to be built from the end of the 12th century by the Anastazi Indians. Today this mountain is known as Verde. The Indians learned to build the first apartment buildings. They preferred to settle closely on mountain tops and even on cliffs. Many of their premises were generally carved into the rocks. So, the Rocky Palace attracts attention.
Bandiagara Highlands, Mali. This natural monument is located in the Mopti region. This sandy toll is 500 meters above the ground. The length of the rocks is about 150 kilometers. People have been living on steep slopes for a long time. For the last 500 years it has been a Dogon tribe. Before them, the Tellema and Toloi lived here. Many rock structures remain from them. The Tellem cut down caves, using them as graveyards for the dead. The Dogons continued to build their settlements in the form of terraces at the foot of the rocks. Since 1989, this highland has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The rock is one of the largest in the world.
Vardzia, Georgia. This cave city is a monastery. It was dug up in Mount Erusheli in the south of the country. The history of the creation of Vardzia dates back to 1185, to Queen Tamara. The monastery was located on the southwestern border of Georgia and was designed to block the Kura gorge from the invasion of the country by the Iranians and Turks. Initially, all the rooms were hidden under a rock, and only three underground passages led to the surface. Over time, the monastery expanded, there were more than six thousand apartments. It also included the church, throne room and farmland. In 1283, an earthquake destroyed most of the city, exposing the caves. But the monastery was rebuilt so that in the 16th century it was destroyed by the Persians, and then by the Turks.
Kandovan, Iran. This mysterious unique village dates back to the early 13th century. Kandovan is located in the eastern part of Iranian Azerbaijan. The uniqueness of the buildings is that they were cut by caves right in the cone-shaped rocks of volcanic ash. From afar, the village resembles some kind of huge colony of termites. Thanks to the material from which the houses were created, a comfortable temperature was maintained there both in winter and in summer. It was as if nature took care of the blanks for the dwellings; all that remained was to hollow out the insides, windows, a door and build a ladder. Modern Kandovan already has stone outbuildings adjacent directly to the rocks. There is a hotel in the center of the village; it is also hidden in the rocks. A jacuzzi room costs $ 200 here. Today the village is home to about a thousand people.
Ortahisar, Turkey. This rock, 86 meters high, turned into a battle fortress, which was designed to protect the valley. Almost the entire citadel of Ortahisar is a cave in a huge stone. This place is located 6 kilometers from Urgup, south of the highway from Nevsehir. The very name of the monument literally translates as "middle fortress". Simple and picturesque from this structure literally molded to the rock, which is all, like a beehive, dotted with passages. The building is quite ancient, and rock falls in places have exposed old passages. The houses here are mostly two-story, with a staircase without a parapet leading upstairs.
Uchisar, Turkey. This small village is located 8 kilometers from Goreme. Uchisar is the highest point in Cappadocia. An unusual geological formation brought fame to this place. People built a castle right in the rock. The mountain itself looked like cheese eaten by mice. Previously, this place was popular, but frequent natural disasters, and wind erosion, scared away residents, and there are few tourists here. Uchisar is a quiet place. And the history of the castle began in the 15th century, when the Byzantines built it. They used the structure in stone as a fortress and an observation post, allowing them to exchange signal lights with other similar posts. Today, there are hotels right in the caves where you can stay and admire the picturesque stone valley.