Near Baldissero Canavese, 40km north of Turin, 15km from Ivrea.
A5 exit Ivrea, towards Castellamonte, after 9km turn right towards Castellamonte, after 1.5km turn right towards Baldissero, after 2km on the left.
|Classification:||Cave Church Painted Cave Tunneling|
TALEY: over night.
|Address:||Federation of Damanhur 10080 Baldissero Canavese (TO), Tel: +39-0124-512236, Fax: +39-0512205. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1977||hillside for the future temples selected.|
|AUG-1978||start of excavations.|
|1991||raid on the temples by the Italian police, acting on a tip from villagers.|
|1992||discovery of the hidden temple by the police on a second raid.|
The Temples of Humankind, also called Damanhur Temples after the ancient Egyptian temple Damanhur, are a huge subterranean structure, a series of underground temples. They are located in a small town in the southern Alps, in northern Italy 50km from Turin. The valley of Valchiusella is a narrow valley with small medieval villages. And under one of the rustic houses lies a complex structure of seven ornate temples on five levels. Today it is surrounded by a sort of esoteric community of the Damanhurians, with vineyards, farms, and bakeries bakeries. The infrastructure includes organic supermarkets, schools, even an university. And many of the people live in award-winning eco homes.
The temples were built by Oberto Airaudi, calledFalco, who is a former insurance broker. He had dreams since he was ten, which he calls the visions of a past life, in which a highly evolved community enjoyed an idyllic existence. He was able to describe the building and temples he had seen, and when he left home and started to work, he also began by digging a trial hole below his parents' house to understand the principals of excavation. Then he looked for the ideal place, where he started to dig together with a few friends. The group of volunteers worked for 16 years on the temple, digging in four-hour shifts. To earn their living they started small businesses, all influenced by esoteric or new age ideas. The result was the Federation of Damanhur, a social and political structure with over 800 citizens.
During the first decades the temple was secret. The reason was mainly that they were digging without any permit. Probably they would not have been allowed to dig if they had asked. So the temple was known only to the involved people. But in 1991 the secret leaked, someone from the village informed the police who raided the building. This time they did not discover the hidden entrance to the temple. But one year later they made a second attempt, pressing them to reveal the temple with the threat to dynamite the hillside. At this point most of the temple was complete with stunning murals, mosaics, statues, and stained glass windows. The three policemen and the public prosecutor who first visited the temple were stunned. Fortunately they decided to allow the completion and a give a retroactive permission. The temple was declared a work of art by the Soprintendenza alle Belle Arti (Fine Art Authority).
There are seven temples, called the Blue Temple, the Hall of Water, the Hall of the Earth, the Hall of Metals, the Labyrinth, the Hall of Spheres, and the Hall of Mirrors. They are connected by passages, stairs and secret doors.
The first hall entered is the Blue Temple, the oldest hall of the structure. It is circular, with the mosaic of a naked woman on the floor, an interpretation of the tarot card The Star, and a painting of an Arkadic landscape on the wall. On one side is a blue spehere integrated into the wall, on the other side a terracotta throne, which is used to meditate on the sphere. A tricky staircase in the floor leads down into the next level.
The Hall of Water is dedicated to the element water and the female principle. It is formed like a chalice, circular with a cuppola, and a window of stained glass in the ceiling, giving a blue light. A window in the wall contains a symbol of the moon, also an ancient female symbol. The wall is covered by ancient texts, enigmatic, beautiful, and a library to those who are able to read them.
The Hall of the Earth is dedicated to the male principle. Again a circular room the ceiling supported by a central column. The wall is painted with the history of humankind, at least as Damanhurian philosophy sees it. Four doors open to altars and passages.
The Hall of Metals is dedikated to the ages of humankind, which are linked to metals or elements. There are eight windows giving data on the eight metals, including details like atomic number and chemical notation. The vices of mankind are depictred on the floor in mosaics. Six human figures, displayed like islands in a sea of dark stone, depict pride, egoism, pessimism, falsity, lack of awareness, and self destruction.
The Labyrinth is not really a labirinth, but an array of three parallel naves with pointed arches, crossed in an right angle by three other parallel naves. It is dedicated to the divine forces which have been worshipped during the millenia. The gods and prophets are depicted on on sixteen Tiffany windows.
The Hall of Spheres is rectangular, four meters wide and seven meters long. Th ceiling is covered by gold, which is said to insulate the room, although we could not find out from what. Eight niches, four on each side, contain the namesake crystal spheres, a ninth sphere is placed in the middle of a narrow side. This hall is located right on the intersection of three Synchronic Lines. According to Damanhurian beliefs, this allows to contact all points of the planet and transmit messages.
The Hall of Mirrors is a frustum of a four sided pyramid, the walls covered by huge mirrors. The ceiling is the largest Tiffani glas cupola in the World. It is loceated above the entrance hall and is the highest point of the structure.
Although we are not believing the esoteric theories of the Damanhur Federation, we are very much impressed by this temple. Since it was discovered and permitted by the authorities, it is also open to the public. But there are no regular guided tours as in a normal touristic landmark. There are three hour tours, which obviously include some insights into esoteric beliefs. Longer tours include meditations and walks, there are even overnight stays and one week seminars. For visitors interested simply in the art, we recommend the three hour trips and ask them to respect the beliefs of their hosts.