Damanhur is a spiritual community located in the Piedmont region in the north of Italy. The community was founded in the 1970s by a group of people who were interested in exploring alternative ways of living and spirituality. Damanhur is known for its commitment to sustainable living, artistic expression, and social innovation.
One of the most unique features of Damanhur is the Temples of Humankind. These underground temples were built by hand over several decades, using traditional construction techniques and modern engineering methods. The temples are located beneath the surface of a hill and consist of a complex network of chambers and tunnels.
The Temples of Humankind are considered to be one of the most impressive works of modern art and architecture in the world and one of the most unique places to visit in Italy.
If you're planning a visit to Damanhur and the Temples of Humankind, you're in for a treat. This guide will provide you with everything you need to know before embarking on this unforgettable journey.
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Things to Know about Damanhur in Italy
Damanhur, which translates to “city of light”, is located 30 miles from Turin in the valleys of Valchiusella. Damanhur is a federation of spiritual eco-communities with their own school, art, culture and even their own currency. The community of Damanhur has citizens from all over the world who share the same values of positive thinking, taking action, and recognising the true meaning in things.
Those who become citizens of Damanhur can choose a new name. They usually choose animal names to establish a connection with nature. In the community of Damanhur, people believe that our planet is a living being and should be respected and protected.
Children from a very young age learn not only to take care of the environment but to connect with everything that surrounds humans. This community uses renewable energy and produces organic products.
The Temples of Humankind
The Temples of Humankind are regarded as a spiritual and cultural centre for the Damanhur community as well as a destination for tourists and visitors who are interested in exploring alternative forms of spirituality and art.
The excavation of the temples began secretly in August 1978 under the direction of Oberto Airaudi, also known as Falco, who claimed to have had visions of ancient temples at the age of 10 from a previous life.
They often hid the sounds of construction by pretending to throw parties. 14 years after the first digging began, the Italian police showed up because they heard rumours that they were building an illegal temple, but the temple was so well hidden that no one could find it until the state prosecutor threatened to blow up the entire hillside with dynamite.
As a result, three policemen and a public prosecutor were taken down into the stunning temples, and they were amazed by their work. Eventually, the Italian government gave them retroactive excavation and erection privileges, and the Temples are now open to visitors.
The Temples of Humankind are a complex of eight halls decorated with remarkable paintings, mosaics, sculptures, and glass art, all created to celebrate universal spirituality. The temple is built in the style of an inverted tree, with the underground rooms symbolising the roots, trunk, and branches. Each chamber has a specific theme, such as the Hall of Water, the Hall of Spheres, and the Hall of Mirrors.
The Hall of Water is dedicated to femininity and holds the records of ancient knowledge. It was transcribed into twelve different ancient languages by Falco himself. The artwork in the temples is produced by the citizens of Damanhur, who cut small pieces carefully to create impressive and meaningful decorations for the temple.
How to Get to Damanhur and the Temples of Humankind
Damanhur and the Temples of Humankind are located in Northern Italy, and the closest airport is Turin airport, which is just a 45-minute drive away. You can also fly to Milan Malpensa Airport, which is within driving distance, taking around 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the site.
Renting a car from the airport and driving is the best way to get to Damanhur. There are a number of rental car companies to choose from, offering a range of vehicles for all types of budgets. To get the best deal check out Rentalcars or Discovercars.
Once you have your rental car, it's a straightforward drive to Damanhur, and you'll be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Piedmont region along the way.
Things to Know Before Your Visit
It is essential to book an experience or visit before arriving at Damanhur. There are a variety of experiences available, with different durations and languages offered, including English, Italian, Russian, and German. For more information please check out the Damanhur official website.
If you are planning to visit the temples, leave your pet at home. While pets and animals are welcome in most areas of Damanhur, they are not permitted in the Temples of Humankind.
Smoking is strictly prohibited throughout Damanhur, as it has been since 1975. The founders chose to abstain from smoking as an exercise in discipline and respect, not just for themselves but also for others and the environment, including plants and Nature Spirits. This smoking ban applies to all individuals, including guests, throughout the entirety of Damanhur.
Where to Stay when Visiting Damanhur
There are a variety of accommodation options available in Damanhur, including the Abaton, which features five rooms connected to the Temples of Humankind, and Le Ali del Falco. To book a stay at either of these locations, simply visit the Damanhur Accommodation page.
Another option is to stay in nearby villages. There are several charming towns and villages in the surrounding area that offer a range of accommodation options, from cosy bed and breakfasts to comfortable hotels.
CasaRosada Wellness Guesthouse is a unique place with a hot tub and a fully equipped kitchenette, located just a short drive away from Damanhur.
B&BTorre Cives is another lovely place to stay near Damanhur. With a children's playground, a garden and free private parking, this bed and breakfast is a perfect place for families.
Damanhur and the Temples of Humankind are a hidden gem in Italy, a place that is worth discovering for anyone interested in spirituality, sustainability, and art. This is a place where people live in harmony with nature, celebrate universal spirituality, and create beauty that inspires us all.