Photo essay: Matera – 2019 European Capital of Culture

After Jericho and Aleppo, Matera in Basilicata, Southern Italy is the third oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Its first citizens where prehistoric troglodytes, who, over the years, upgraded their cave dwellings with frontages. A series of cisterns were employed to capture rainwater in this dry valley. The city grew into the Sassi which you see in these pictures. Condemned by the government in the 1950s, which meant forced evictions, investors are breathing life back into this ancient city. Cafes, churches, BnBs and restaurants now occupy some of these breathtaking and unique buildings. And, unsurprisingly, film directors flock here – watch out for scenes in the next James Bond film.

For more on Matera’s programme for its year as the European Capital of Culture, click here.

Ancient and fresh beauty in Matera
Ancient and fresh beauty in Matera
Looking down across the gorge - la Gravina
Looking down across the gorge – la Gravina
A Byzantine fresco in a cave church
A Byzantine fresco in a cave church
The Sassi or ancient town
The Sassi or ancient town
The bleached streets of Matera are coming back to life
The bleached streets of Matera are coming back to life
Possessions abandoned in a cave dwelling
Possessions abandoned in a cave dwelling
Caves to houses - Matera
Caves to houses – Matera
The Sassi of Matera from across la Gravina
The Sassi of Matera from across la Gravina

Have you been to Matera? If so, what did you think? If not, have we inspired you?


2 thoughts on “Photo essay: Matera – 2019 European Capital of Culture

  1. imagine getting down the bottom of town, only to realise you have left your car keys on the kitchen table

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