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Visit the Damanhur Temples of Humankind


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This is a Student Travel Writer 2018 competition entry

On my visit to the community of Damanhur, you can check out my article here, I also had the immense pleasure to visit the astonishing Temples of Humankind. These Temples are a collection of subterranean chambers buried 30 meters underground and excavated completely by hand, resulting in the largest underground manmade construction on earth, and what some critics refer to as the “eighth wonder” and a rendition of the fabled city of Atlantis. 

The temples were created under the direction of Falco Tarassaco, the founder, who said he had seen these temples at age ten from visions of a previous life. According to the Damanhurian recounts, it was a Saturday evening in 1978 when Falco and ten other Damanhurians sat around a fire and saw a flashing falling star, interpreting it as a positive sign, a good moment to begin to dig a tunnel into the mountain, “towards the heart of Earth, to create a synchronic contact, to build a temple the likes of which had not existed for a thousand years or more.”

In 1991 the chambers were discovered and raided by the Italian police, as the villagers were getting suspicious. Although legislation was a bit sketchy to start with and, to the Damanhurians’ disappointment, the excavations had to cease. On October 9, 1992, the first press conference was held in Damanhur to announce the existence of the Temples of Humankind. In June 1996, with the support of the Beaux Art Authority, the Italian Government approved a change in the law to legalize the underground structure and the temples were finally saved.

Temple Plan, by Damanhur Spiritual EcoCommunity.

Although the Temples aren’t as majestic as the citizens had in mind, they are still more than just impressive, with rooms decorated centimetre by centimetre with astounding precision. What baffled me the most was how absolutely anonymous the entrance is: the temples are nestled under a small, tepid-looking house on the hill. You then open a tiny door that leads to a sort of basement and discover an intersection of chambers, trap doors, shifting floors, and vaulted ceilings woven with perfection. The walls, ceilings and floors are covered with paintings, sculpture, mosaics, stained glass, ironwork, and statuary.

The Temples of Humankind are constructed to be experienced like a three-dimensional book narrating the history of humanity and occupies almost 300,000 cubic feet. The rooms included are the Hall of Water, dedicated to the feminine principle, and the Hall of Earth, dedicated to the masculine principle. Then there’s the Blue Hall, for inspiration, meditation and reflection, and the Labyrinth Hall, depicted with small representations of faiths all over the world during the past centuries, which is actually the hall you enter the chambers from.

Further into the undergrounds is the Hall of Metals, representing the different ages and developmental stages of people, and has metal attributed to each stage, as well as representations of our human psyche. And last but not least there are, in my opinion, the most powerful rooms; the Hall of Spheres, a room positioned where three synchronic lines merge, inviting planetary contact and transmission of messages, and the Hall of Mirrors, dedicated to the sky, air and light, solar energy, strength and life. 

Each room also has a key instrument around which it revolves, so during our meditations we listened to the sounds of the gongs and the calices in what was an honestly mystical experience that had me entranced by the stories we were being told. The Damanhurians do not worship a spiritual leader, but they meditate and operate on a very inclusive basis, so they accept many different religions and pay tribute to them with reverence for the natural world and celestial surroundings that make our existence possible. In fact, they live by eight “quesiti”, dynamic formulas and themes that are used both in everyday life and specifically in meditation, rather than biblical prophecies and such.

Damanhurian phylosophy, Damanhur Spiritual EcoCommunity.

In conclusion, due to its amazing architecture and very inclusive spirit, every year thousands of people from all over the world visit this large contemporary cathedral! An absolutely revitalising visit.

Check out the virtual tour here. 

In order to provide no entrant with an unfair advantage, Student Travel Writer 2018 competition entries are edited for grammar only - stylistic choices and headlines are solely the work of the writer in question and not of The National Student's editorial staff. 

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