Damanhur is a unique eco-community found in the Italian Alps and named after the ancient subterranean Egyptian temple meaning City of Light.  Damanhur has become a celebrity eco-community and the story of Damanhur is considered by many to be a modern tale of the triumph of human vision, creativity, resiliency, determination and triumph over incredible odds. It is nestled in the Italian Alps and began in 1978 through the visions and dreams of its founder, Oberto Airaudi, also known as Falco or Falcon, who recently passed away in 2013. It is considered an eco-society, a federation of 1,000 with their own sustainable food production, currency and culture.

Emerging Controversy

Recent controversy has emerged that potentially exposes Damanhur as a dangerous cult. A website called Damanhur Inside Out (DIO), founded by an ex-member, has the  sole purpose warning others about the dark underbelly of Damanhur. The stories from DIO paint an unhealthy picture of cult-like behavior and includes all the usual trappings….power, money, false stories, control, sexual affairs and more.  If true, this is a sad statement to see such majestic art and idealism propagated for selfish, egotistical reasons. Rather than being the open, humanistic egalitarian community it portrays, it then becomes the very opposite of that. The story told by DIO paints the deceased founder Falco as a dark figure who is far from embodying the traits of humanism normally associated to the man. The reader can study the DIO website material and judge for him/herself.



In another sense, Damanhur is also the story of one man’s vision. The story began in the early 1960’s when Damanhur’s founder, Oberto Airaudi was only ten years old. From an early age, Oberto claimed to have experienced incredible visions of a past life, in which he could envision amazing temples. In his imagination, he dreamt of people living in a highly evolved community and enjoying an idyllic existence, one  in which all the people worked towards a common good. Oberto’s gift of “remote viewing” allowed him to travel in his mind’s eye and to describe in intricate detail the contents of any building.

These early visions were strongly imprinted in Oberto’s mind and were to guide him for the rest of his life. He had found his life’s mission and it was to manifest the temples he saw so clearly in his visions into reality. He began by digging trial holes under his parent’s home to understand the principals of excavation but it was only when he began a successful career as an insurance broker that he had secured the financial resources to realize his dream. He began to search for his perfect site and in 1977, he found it in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy, 30 miles from the ancient city of Turin, in the valley of Valchiusella where he felt the hard rock would sustain the structures he had in mind.

Falco and several friends who shared his vision moved into a newly built house on the hillside and in August 1978, using only hammers and picks, the ecclectic group enthusiastically began to break ground on Damanhur.

As no planning permission had been granted or could be for such a unique venture, they made the decision to share their vision with only a small group of like-minded people. They recruited volunteers from around the world who came to Damanhur and worked in four-hour shifts for the next 16 years with no formal plans other than Falco’s sketches and visions. Funding was provided through local, small business ventures  that served the local community. Incredibly, the group worked in secrecy for the next decade. By 1991, several of the halls were almost complete with stunning murals, mosaics, statues, secret doors and stained glass windows.

However, at about this time, a disgruntled former member of the group threatened to expose Damanhur if certain demands were not met. The principals, including Falco called an urgent meeting and decided that they cannot in principle allow themselves to be extorted. The disgruntled member reported them to the police. The first time the police came it was over alleged tax evasion and still the temples lay undiscovered. But a year later the police returned to the community demanding: “Show us these temples or we will dynamite the entire hillside.” Falco and his colleagues opened the secret door and the three policemen and the public prosecutor hesitantly entered. When they entered the first temple, the Hall of the Earth their jaws dropped at what they saw. The astonished group walked on to find sculpted columns covered with gold leaf, more than 8m high. Stunned by the incredible beauty and artistry of what they had found, the authorities emerged, one of them in tears and said they could not follow through with their threats. They decided to seize the temples on behalf of the government. “By the time they had seen all of the chambers, we were told to continue with the artwork, but to cease further building, as we had not been granted planning permission,” says Esperide Ananas, who has written a new book called Damanhur, Temples Of Humankind.

Today, the community of Damanhur is looked upon as a model eco-community and has its own university, schools, organic supermarkets, vineyards, farms, bakeries and award-winning eco homes. Falco said of Damanhur’s temples ‘They are to remind people that we are all capable of much more than we realise and that hidden treasures can be found within every one of us once you know how to access them’

The Federation of Damanhur

Following  Gaia Educations 4 Pillars to a healthy ecological community, it presents itself as an intentional eco-community grounded in ethical and spiritual values that recognizes the preciousness of human and cultural diversity. From that firm humanistic and spiritual grounding of it’s community members comes the solidarity required to turn such a grand vision into a reality. In a successful ecocommunity, artistry is one of the most important elements to inspire the feeling of sacredness of life. The amazing artwork of the Damanhur community continue to create a spirit of sacredness within the community which provides its members with a feeling of sanctity and provides the most powerful cohesive force. In 2005 it was recognized by the United Nations as a model of sustainable society, an example for the future and a seed of a culture of peace that can inspire change in the world’s economic and social systems.

It is presently a federation consisting of a thousand inhabitants thats is a social experiment, a laboratory for the future of humanity.  It is a marvel in construction and art, a truly astounding creation now considered one of the wonders of the world. Perhaps even more astounding than the physical construction itself is the proof that a small group of dedicated people working in harmony can manifest such a feat. For decades, a determined band of like-minded visions built what can only be described as one of the most beautiful modern structures of mankind. The group toiled secretly building a series of underground temples that testified to the beauty of human life. This complex of temples was modeled after the pyramids secret labyrinths and passageways but the architecture is more like Italian Rennaisance.

The story of Damanhur’s origin is the story of one man’s vision, which came to him in a dream. This communities hope is to inspire other intentional communities to do even better than what they have done….a tall order!  The residents live in nuclear communities, choosing their “families”. Some families are specialists in alternative energy, others in education. All combine to contribute to the entire community.

Their ideal is to prove that Nations are obsolete and to promote a vision of a planet in which all beings feel they are part of the same human family.

The Temple of Humankind

The Temples of Humankind are a testament to the ingenuity and artistry of human beings. THey are the central space where art is taught, explored and performed and a place of prayer and meditation. Their artistry, grandeur and scale are truly awe inspiring.

The Temples were the vision of one man, Oberto Airaudi, also known as “Falco” and are constructed like a three-dimensional book, narrating the history of humanity. They are built inside a mountain inside the Italian Alps in Northern Italy and are now considered by many to be the 8th wonder of the world. Here, 30 meters below the earth and hidden from view, lies an astonishing architectural accomplishment. Weaving their way underneath the hillside are nine ornate temples, on five different levels. They are linked by hundreds of metres of ornate tunnels and occupy almost 300,000 cubic feet.  The temples are built underground because of Airaudi believed that the energy lines that connect the earth to the cosmos (the synchronic lines) meet underground. The temples were built in secret because there were no permits to allow such building at the time.



The story of how the site came to the attention of the local police reveals the ugly side of human nature but also the triumph of love and beauty. A former member tried, unsucessfully to blackmail the community by threatening to expose them unless he was paid a large sum of money. The community refused and he promptly followed through on his threat by contacting the local police. They came but could not find the entrance because the maps given to them were old and out of date. The police then threatened to blow up the entire mountain unless the entrances were revealed. This pressured the community to reveal the entrances. The police chief entered with a threat of destroying the “cult” but after he viewed the temples and came out, he was in tears. In time, he became a great friend and champion of the community.

Selfic Technology

There are many types of research conducted at Damanhur. One of the most important is called Selfic technology, which Damanhur researchers claim is modeled after ancient texts and is a type of technology which harnesses field energy to produce measureable physical effects. This idea of unobserved energies is the foundation for the entire community. The researchers claim they have been performing research for over 20 years based on synchronic lines, energy channels that cross the planet and which influence living beings.  The various devices they construct are various configurations of conductors and glass tubes filled with distilled liquids and their claim is that it can interact with these fields to influence human health like menstrual pain in women, restoring energy in sleep, improve memory.

Selfic Fields and Medicine

The Hall of Spheres is where the earth’s synchronic lines are said to converge. Damanhurians say that many energy channels intersect at this point and leave as well. Their medical system is based on field energy existing in space and having an influence in our bodies. The fulltime researchers are developing is highly pragmatic and based on real physical effects, claims Falcon, the founder of Damanhur. A Damanhurian doctor demonstrates the use of one of these constructed devices, a needle which influences energy flow in the body and whose field effect is dependent on the distance from the tip of the practitioners hand holding the needle-like instrument. There are also highly elaborately constructed instruments which the Damanhurians claim enable out-of-body astral travel experiences!

The Paintings

Damanhurians have built and decorated their world from 1978 to 1992. Now, they are entering a new phase of construction to continue to expand the temple structures. Among the most spectacular art in the temples is the painting. These paintings are considered a combination of alchemy and chemistry, whose combined purpose is to serve the telling of stories. The paintings are not just a visual experience, but also a olfactory experience, emitting smells as part of the story. Falcon, the founder, is a specialist at these paintings, which he claims, embeds a number of technologies that create the sensation the observer experiences when viewing them.

Talking Plants

In this last episode, we meet Lucertola Pepe, a Damanhurian who, with her nucleus / family of 14  is building an above ground eco-community named “Arboricolo” to cohabitat with trees in a harmonious tree house community. Their social community takes place in the trees, not the ground. Each member of the community lives in a small treehome with a living space and a bathroom and there is one large central communal space, a 3 storey building where the main community activities and socializing is done.  The living spaces have a functional/living split design with an office on one side and the bedrooms on the other. Bridges interconnect the individual homes.

There has been 30 years of ongoing research on plants and their lives, how to communicate and interact with them. A Damanhurian invention allows plants to create music.  The electrical potential between the leaves and the roots produces a signal which is mapped to a synthesizer to produce music triggered by plants. At first, these plants produce very simple signals but as the are exposed to other human musical stimulation, begin to produce more complex music that is dependent on the stimuli they were exposed to. They even bring plants which have been trained to close proximity with untrained plants and the untrained ones quickly become entrained to produce complex signals. Lucertola also claims that plants communicate telepathically with humans and are especially sensitive to emotions and the color orange.

The Construction of Damanhur


The Damanhur Youtube page

Virtual Tours of the Main Temples

  1. Click on the images below to go to the Temples page
  2. Click on the one of the 7 halls you would like to tour ( links below the main image)
  3. Click on Virtual Tour (link above the main image)
  4. Enjoy the 360 Degree view of the hall!