Architecture and art

A Rolling Stone: Spectacular examples of Troglodytic Houses

Casa do Penedo, Portugal

Image credits: Jsome1, Creative Commons.

Image credits: Jsome1, Creative Commons.

There’s nice houses, there’s really beautiful houses… and then there’s this. A stunning display of natural and man-made architecture, troglodytic houses (as they’re called) are delightful to look at. Here’s just a small list of some of the most spectacular examples of troglodytic houses. Casa do Penedo, depicted above, is so surreal that many people on the internet didn’t actually believe it’s true – but it is. No hoax here, just beauty.

Same house, different angle. Image credits: Jsome1, Creative Commons.

Corbii de Piatra (The Rocky Ravens), Romania

Image via Ovidiu Ciutescu.

This Romanian Church was built in the early 1500s, and the awe-inspiring structure still exists today. The Rocky Ravens are not very famous, even in Romania, but they are not a site to be missed.

“They feel nothing, they don’t feel the shadows that are quietly mixing through them, these people are absorbed by the eternal second of this life and by the tiny victory of each moment,while the stones they step on are oozing, not with water, but with timeless memories”, the church’s website reads.

Virgin of Carmen church – Spain

Image credit: Codigowiki.

Just another church with a different type of design. This lovely little rural church in Spain, dedicated to the Virgin of Carmen was carved out by hollowing a boulder to create a space within.

Setenil de las Bodegas – The Troglodytic Village in Spain

Image credit: Andrei Dimofte

Image credit: Andrei Dimofte

We’re staying in Spain just a bit more, so that we can enjoy this thrilling village. Even with only 3,000 inhabitants, Setenil de las Bodegas is known not only for the lovely landscapes, but also for the meat production – especially sausages. People have actually been living there for over 2,000 years, since the Roman period. The cliffs and homes work together so naturally, it is difficult to see whether the town formed around the boulders or vice versa.

Kandovan (Iran)

Image via Heritage Institute.

Kandovan is a fine example of a manmade cliff dwellings which are still inhabited. The troglodyte homes, excavated inside volcanic rocks and tuffs similar to dwellings in the Turkish region of Cappadocia, are locally called “Karaan”. Karaans were cut into the Lahars (volcanic mudflow or debris flow) of Mount Sahand. The village population is about 600.

Troglodyte Houses in Loire Valley, France

Image via AirBnb

Image via AirBnb

As you might expect, even troglodyte houses are more stylish in France. You might actually find accommodation in houses like this, and it’s a fantastic way to enjoy some peace, quiet and beauty.

Image credits: Ross V Walker.

Star Wars Troglodytic Homes – Matmata, Tunisia

Image via Oliver Dang.

Matmata is a village in southern Tunisia, famous for being used in 1976 as a filming location for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in which it featured as the home of Luke Skywalker, his Aunt Beru Lars and Uncle Owen Lars on the planet Tatooine.

Image via Ian and Wendy . com

The structures typical for the village are created by digging a large pit in the ground. Around the perimeter of this pit artificial caves are then dug to be used as rooms, with some homes comprising multiple pits, connected by trench-like passageways. This type of structure actually has significant problems with inside flooding.

Beautiful Monsanto – The Portuguese Hidden Gem

Most people in Monsanto, Portugal have been living under a rock – literally.

Monsanto has been inhabited since the stone age, with the massive boulders on the mountain top being used as walls, floors, and most astoundingly, as roofs for houses that date back to the 16th century.


So, that was my selection, but I’m sure I’ve missed some awesome places which just slipped my mind. What’s your list? Do you know an awesome house built on a rock, or with a boulder? Or maybe even an entire village? Share it with us! I’ll add it to this list.




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