Temple of Damanhur – The Lesser Known Marvel

Imagine knowing that behind an ordinary looking home was an extraordinary secret that few people knew about. 

That is essentially the story of the Temple of Damanhur in Italy, also known as the temple of humankind.

A Secret Project?

This particular temple was built entirely in secret behind a house that looks very ordinary by people who were not architects and had no formal training. They are said to have worked for fifteen years around the clock to make this project a reality, and it is not exactly clear what sparked the motivation for the underground temples of Damanhur.

The project to build the temples of humankind began in 1978 when a then twenty-eight-year-old Oberto Airaudi decided that he wanted to build the Temple of Damanhur and shield it from the eyes of the government at the same time. He enlisted people that he felt that he could trust with this mission, and they all set out to start building up this temple. It was just a group of twenty-four people to begin with, but that number had grown into the thousands by the time it was all said and done.

The group would work in four-hour shifts around the clock to build their temple and its many intricate features. It was a necessity to work like this to squeeze out the amount of labor that would be necessary for novices like these individuals to get all of the work done that they needed to be done.

The Police Arrive

In 1992, the Italian police showed up to check out the temple they had heard about springing up in Damanhur Italy. The rumors had grown so loud about the temple at this point that the police felt that they had no choice but to show up and see it for themselves. The law enforcement individuals demanded that they be allowed to see the temple.

Three of the officers and a prosecutor were taken down into the temple and their jaws basically hit the floor. They couldn't believe what they were seeing because it was so far beyond what any of them had seen in the past. 

There were more than 8,500 cubic feet of space in the temple, and this meant that it was one of the largest temples ever constructed in the world.

What The Structure Looks Like

It is very difficult to describe what the structure looks like in one word. There are so many different rooms and creations within it. You can talk about the pyramid that is covered in mirrors or the "hall of spheres" that is covered in gold leaf. 

Each of these rooms is a wonder in and of itself, and that is why this is one of those places that you just have to see to believe.

Tourism And Current State Of The Temple

The temple certainly draws its fair share of tourists who know about it. It falls into the same category as something like the Grand Canyon. You need to be able to see it for yourself to have it take your breath away.

The temple remains in good shape to this day, and people are very respectful of what it is and the work that went into creating it. Most people are more than happy to take a look at it and document how it made them feel, and then leave the experience to the next person who comes along. There are some people who have been critical of the temple and its followers though saying that they act essentially like they are in a cult.

Here's an interesting vlog that I found on the temple:


This is a hidden gem that you absolutely have to see for yourself if you ever get the chance. It is one of those wonders that is so unlikely and improbable, and yet it exists. Friends and family almost won't believe you when you feel them that you have visited this site because it is so hard for them to picture what it must be like, but you can walk away from the experience having taken in something that you just won't find anywhere else. 

You might also be interested in this article on An Absolute Guide to LX Factory, Lisbon.

Mark Bennett

I have a serious thing for travel, outdoors and wilderness. I grew up in Oregon and camping outdoors with my father was one of the fondest memories of childhood. I enjoy camping and hiking and love to share what I've learnt over these years.