Thursday , March 30 2017

The Amazigh Cave Homes of Matmata in Tunisia

Matmata and other desert settlements in Tunisia have wonderful underground homes built by the ancient Amazigh people of Matmata — a small Berber speaking town in southern Tunisia—to avoid the intense heat and strong desert winds. The homes are made by digging a large pit some 7m (23ft) deep and 10m (33ft) wide and then, around the sides of the pit, tunnelling in a few meters before cutting artificial caves.

Matmata, and a handful of similar towns across Tunisia, is situated on a shelf of sandstone that is soft enough to excavate with hand tools, but sturdy enough to provide homes for centuries. The homes are grouped around a central courtyard and connected to other courtyards with more rooms forming an underground labyrinth.
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