Troglodyte Dwellings, Matmata – Tunisia

Located on the Mediterranean coast of northern Africa, Tunisia hosts traditional underground “troglodyte” structures, in which some of the local Berber residents live. Situated in Matmata, a small Berber speaking town, they are a great example of how people have lived for centuries. 

The typical structures for the village are created by digging a large pit in the ground. The sandstone geology is soft enough to allow caves to be excavated by hand but remain perfectly stable over the time. 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.

The courtyards, whose diameter is between 8 and 13 meters, provide a place for community activities and, in some cases, a well, or a tree… A perfect place to live away from the heat and sandstorms of the desert above.


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