After the first excavations began in the summer of 1978, the Temples of Humankind remained a secret for sixteen years. Only the Damanhurian artists, craftspeople and masons directly involved in the construction knew about it. Even though the Temples were on Damanhurian property, they were unauthorized because in the Piedmont region of Italy, there were neither laws that regulated underground construction nor authorities for the asking of permission.
“For me Damanhur is a remarkable flaring forth of creative genius.I have visited the prominent art museums of the world, and I thought I was familiar with the transformative power of art, and I thought I knew something of the impact of creative expression. And I did know. Still, my various times in the Temples of Humankind took me to an entirely different level of human possibility. The creators of the Damanurian works of art are from our generation. Every generation has to create its own narrative. If such a narrative were a book for our generation, the Temples of Humankind would be the cover.”
Will Teagel, PhD, professor and writer, former Dean of Wisdom University, founder of “EarthTribe”
Considered by many as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World — or the First Wonder of the New World — the complex of these underground Temples stretches for over 4,000 cubic meters, on five different levels, connected by hundreds of meters of corridors.
The Hall of Water, of the Earth, of the Spheres, of Mirrors, of Metals, the Blue Temple, the Labyrinth: The Temples of Humankind are an underground work of art, a three-dimensional book built entirely by hand and dedicated to the divine nature of humanity and the narration of humankind’s history through all forms of art. Their images and symbols aim at awakening the sense of the sacred inherent in every human being.
In the foreword to ‘Damanhur, City of Light’ (COSM press, NY, 2006), the American painter and writer Alex Gray writes: “The Temples are residence for divine presence, nurtured by an outpouring of devotional labor. By patiently digging deeply within the mountain and transforming the earthen caverns and tunnels into glorious Halls, the Damanhurians offer a model of commitment to personal transformation by digging deeply within the self. Performing their work on behalf of the planet, out of reverence and love of nature, in remembrance of celestial origins, Damanhurians restore faith in humanity. The people of Damanhur have expressed their creativity through the communal systems of education, economics, socio-politics, environmental stewardship, agriculture, and all the arts and crafts. Damanhur and its Temples are a beacon of possibility for the future.”
During the building of this work, which represents a high form of collective artistic expression, Damanhur’s society has grown, refining itself and establishing its own culture, myths and tradition.