Sassi di Matera
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The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera
This is the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, perfectly adapted to its terrain and ecosystem. The first inhabited zone dates from the Palaeolithic, while later settlements illustrate a number of significant stages in human history. Matera is in the southern region of Basilicata.
Outstanding Universal Value
Located in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera comprises a complex of houses, churches, monasteries and hermitages built into the natural caves of the Murgia. Covering an area of 1,016 hectares a this remarkable and intact troglodyte settlement contains more than a thousand dwellings and a large number of shops and workshops. The property was first occupied during the Palaeolithic period and shows evidence of continuous human occupation through several millennia until the present day, and is harmoniously integrated into the natural terrain and ecosystem.
The site is composed of the ancient districts of the city of Matera and of the Park of the Rupestrian Churches which stretch over the Murgia, a calcareous highland plateau characterized by deep fault fissures, ravines, rocks and caves. The morphology of the territory, characterized by deep ravines (gravine) and bare highland plateaus, integrated with ancient cave churches, shepherd tracks marked by wells, and fortified farmhouses, form one of the most evocative landscapes of the Mediterranean.
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