Table of contents:

TOP-8 Surviving ancient temples built in the rocks
TOP-8 Surviving ancient temples built in the rocks

Even at the dawn of mankind, ancient people used caves not only as a shelter from bad weather and predatory animals. Despite the fact that stone is a very durable material, our ancestors were able to create unique temples, fortresses and entire cities. And despite the fact that progress has reached unprecedented heights, and the need for such architecture has long disappeared, the preserved structures of the Ancient World do not cease to arouse keen interest.

1. The ancient city of Petra, carved into the rock (Jordan)

The ancient city of Petra is a national treasure of Jordan

In the south of Jordan, Petra is one of the most famous places in the region and a national treasure of the country. This ancient city is notable for the fact that it was carved on the slopes of Jebel el-Madhba by the Arab people - the Nabateans, who settled in the south of Jordan more than 2000 years ago.

The ingenious architects and stonemasons were able to place a full-fledged city in the thickness of the rock, which still preserves exquisite examples of ancient art, from dwellings, temples, tombs, treasuries and an amphitheater, to an ingenious complex of dams and water channels. Since 1985 Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

2. Mountain castle Predjama (Slovenia)

The Predjama mountain castle offers an unforgettable experience in the fairytale world of the knights (Slovenia)

Predjama Castle is an imposing structure full of mystery and history. The impregnable medieval fortification is located in the middle of a 123-meter cliff and for more than 800 years has attracted thrill-seekers with a network of secret tunnels.

According to rumors, it was from there that the knight Erazem set off on his predatory expeditions. Also, the mysterious castle served as a refuge for the disgraced knight Luger in the 15th century. It is so special and unique that it is one of the ten most charming castles in the world, and so romantic that many couples choose it for their wedding ceremony. It is also listed in the Guinness Book of Records as "The world's largest cave castle."

3. Kropfenstein Castle in the Alps (Switzerland)

The impregnable Kropfenstein Castle is one of the most mysterious castles on the planet (Switzerland)

Not much is known about the mysterious Kropfenstein Castle, carved high in the Alps. Studying its architecture, researchers came to the conclusion that it was roughly erected in the XIII century.

Over time, the need for impregnable fortresses had already disappeared, and by the end of the 15th century. the castle was abandoned by people, which led to its gradual decline. Thanks to the protection of the rocky ledge, most of the fortification elements of the castle have survived, but they are in a deplorable state.

4. Lycian rock tombs of Myrrh (Turkey)

The richly decorated tombs of Myrrh attract thousands of tourists (Turkey)

The Lycian rock tombs of Myra are one of the most interesting tombs of its kind in Anatolia. Tombstones of architecture appeared high in the mountains in the 6th century. BC. This strange arrangement is explained by the fact that the Lycians believed that it would be more convenient for the angels to transfer the dead to the afterlife.

Despite the outward splendor, the interiors of the tombs are chambers carved into the rock with a simple monolith inside, just enough to contain the body of the deceased. But the huge halls and galleries were left empty as a result of robberies.

5. Cliff Palace cave complex in Mesa Verde National Park (USA)

The Cliff Palace Cave Residence was home to the ancestors of the Pueblo Indian people

One of America's largest cave housing complexes, Cliff Palace is located in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. According to the authors of, a huge complex began to be created in the XII century. and expanded over the next several centuries. Recent research has shown that during this time, 150 rooms were carved into the sandstone of the Cliff Palace and almost 600 rock dwellings are concentrated within the park.

6. Medieval sacred site Lalibela (Ethiopia)

Lalibela is one of the most sacred places in Ethiopia (St. George's Church)

The 11 cave churches of Lalibela, built in the very heart of Ethiopia in the XII-XIII centuries, are considered one of the main shrines of the country. They are located at an altitude of more than 2, 5 thousand meters above sea level in the mountainous surroundings. Their construction is attributed to King Lalibela, who intended to build a "New Jerusalem" in the 12th century after Muslim conquerors stopped the pilgrimage of Christians to the Holy Land.

For this reason, in the main church you can see a replica of Calvary, copies of the tomb of Christ, Adam and the cradle of Christmas. Today, Lalibela attracts many tourists as well as Christian pilgrims who flock to the sacred places of worship.

7. Longmen Cave Temple Complex (China)

The grottoes and niches of the Longmen Temple Complex contain the largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art (Henan Longmen Province)

In China's Henan Longmen province, in the cliffs of the Xiangshan and Longmenshan mountains, the largest and most impressive collection of national art from the late northern Wei and Tang dynasties (316-907) has been built over the centuries.

The Longmen Caves includes more than 2,300 caves and niches, carved by hand in steep rocks, which are about 1 km long. Almost 110 thousand Buddhist stone statues, more than 60 stupas and 2, 8 thousand inscriptions carved on the walls of grottoes and caves are still kept in these man-made shelters.

The sculptures of the Longmen grottoes are outstanding achievements of the artistic creation of mankind

Interesting fact:Along with the caves containing the largest sculptures of Buddha, Yaofangdong Cave is especially popular.

It contains unique inscriptions telling about the treatment of various diseases and ailments. Work on the design of this cave continued for 150 years, clearly illustrating the changes in artistic style and methods of healing.

8. Ancient Caves of Ajanta (India)

Ajanta Caves are a series of temples and monuments dedicated to Buddha (India)

The first Buddhist cave monuments in Ajanta (Ajanta Caves) date back to the 2nd-1st centuries. BC e. During the reign of Gupta (V-VI centuries A.D.), a significant number of ornate temple caves were added to the original group, which arouse increased interest among researchers and tourists.

The paintings and sculptures carved in stone are considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art that have had a significant artistic influence over many generations. In 1983 UNESCO declared the Ajanta Caves a World Heritage Site.

Popular by topic