A while back we decided to take a day trip before the masses joined us for Israel’s annual Spring vacation. We went to the man-made bell-shaped caves near Luzit north of Beersheva. Usually I avoid going to caves as I don’t find small, dark spaces that you have to crawl on your hands and knees at all appealing.
But these enormous spaces were anything but dark.
They are limestone quarries dug during the Roman, Byzantine and early Arab periods (3rd – 10th centuries C.E.). The shape of the domes are very structurally sound. While they are not a natural phenomenon, I thought that other examples of famous architectural landmarks could well have been inspired by caverns like these.
The Pantheon, Rome also built with an oculus – a central opening allowing light to enter.
And Buckminister Fuller’s geodesic dome. In this case the entire structure is a glass dome.
Today there are amazing modern dome houses that rotate for energy efficiency.
Earth – sheltered housing – working with nature instead of at odds with it. Even hi -rise developments realize that planted grassy areas provide insulation as well as much needed greenery. Like this green rooftop in New Jersey.
The Columbarian niches were probably used for olive oil storage.
I could just imagine them for lighting or other decorative purposes.
Arch entrances were probably by chance but almost as beautiful as those of later centuries.
They are reminiscent of Antonio Gaudi’s organic work some nine centuries later.
All images and text copyright Judy Weiss. All rights reserved.
Ancient Caves Inspire Modern Design