Blogger Widgets Read between the lines: Cave homes


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Cave homes

Did you know that millions of people worldwide live underground? In fact, over twenty million people live in caves in China alone. These numbers don’t count the numbers of individuals who work in underground laboratories, urban cities, and on construction sites as more and more underground facilities are being built.Some individuals live underground or in caves because they’re simply following the paths of their ancestors. Others, like Gerald Fitzpatrick, have taken on the task of refurbishing underground facilities like this missile silo located in Champion, New York. Still others desire a move beneath the ground in order to avoid overcrowded cities and ground surface pollution. Some of these individuals are minimalists, and others live high on the hog. Finally, there are the survivalists - individuals who want to hunker down in some flat space in Middle America.

You can find troglodytes (cave dwellers) in desert villages spread around North Africa; however, Matmata and Bulla Regia, both in Tunisia, serve as prime examples of this type of dwelling. Troglodytes are believed to be a relatively recent invention in Saharan architecture, dating from about 1200 AD. While the structures proved to be a success, their uses are limited. This area is also popular for nomads and their Bedouin tents and for ‘regular’ housing. Matmata is home to Sidi Driss, the only troglodyte hotel.

Gamirasu Cave House Hotel - Gamirasu is the name of an exquisitely restored eleven-room cave house, in Ayvali Village near Ürgüp in the heart of Cappadocia, Turkey. The hotel is located in a restored one thousand year old Byzantine monastic retreat which offers modern conveniences without distracting from the historic ambiance of the area which has been known to be inhabited for more than five thousand years. The hotel is open all year-round. There is an Early Christian Byzantine Cave Church, containing some frescoes right within the hotel complex itself. There is also an underground city just across from the Hotel waiting to be excavated.

In southern Spain, cave houses naturally maintain a steady temperature of around 19-20 degrees centigrade year round. This is quite exceptional in a montane climate like Granada City where summertime temperatures surpass 40 degrees and where it occasionally snows in winter. Building a cave dwelling is relatively inexpensive (though not necessarily cheap), cave houses can have all the amenities of a regular house (and more), electricity, plumbing, and HVAC are easy to install, and cave houses remain dry and habitable with normal ventilation, unlike many stone caves that can store dampness. Even those with claustrophobia find modern cave houses quite comfortable.

We would strongly recommend using a professional builder for any cave creation or renovation. Finding a cave builder is not always easy, though in areas with large concentrations of cave dwellings it is not hard. Anyone considering building an earthen cave dwelling themselves should spend some time in Granada or elsewhere studying cave construction. Cave hotels, apartment rentals, and flamenco night clubs (tablaos) are common in most areas.

Family multiple in these caves and have lived in them for centuries.

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