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Inside the Nine-Room Temple Buried Beneath the Italian Alps

Exploring Damanhur's Temples of Humankind

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In 1978, the followers of Oberto Airaudi, founder of a cult-like group the Federation of Damanhur, began secretly digging at the foothills of the Italian Alps. When police raided the site in 1991, they were stunned to find a series of underground chambers ornately decorated with psychedelic new-age paintings. The nine rooms, some with 25-foot-high ceilings, were built over a 15-year period with the help 150 people, none of whom had architectural experience.

After Airaudi failed to cooperate with local authorities in navigating the underground structure, the local prosecutor threatened to demolish the structure only to be persuaded later to allow the followers of Damanhur to continue construction. Today, the Temples of Damanhur has five floors and reaches 100 feet below the surface at its deepest point. Located about 30 miles north of Turin, it has become a tourist attraction and is often referred to as “the 8th wonder of the world.” Take a short visual tour of the temples below and then watch a video on Damanhur at the bottom to learn more.
The Open TempleThe LabyrinthHall of Mirrors