Rock Cut Architecture

Structures carved in situ into 'living rock' which are not primarily based on natural caves even though in India and China these are often referred to as being 'caves'.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Ajanta Caves
Ani great number of rockcarved structures including chapels, burial chambers, warehouses and pigeon houses (AB ev)
Bali Subak system Gunung Kawi Temple rock cut monuments and monasteries (AB ev)
Dholavira: A Harappan City Of a series of five buried water reservoirs, the "third one which is centrally located is primarily a rock-cut architecture of excellence, exquisite beauty and superb skill." (Nomination text, p. 121)
El Fuerte de Samaipata
Elephanta Caves
Ellora Caves
Etruscan Necropolises Several tombs
Gebel Barkal "rock-cut burials and temples" (AB ev)
Gyeongju Mount Namsan "The rock-cut reliefs and engravings and the stone images are fine examples of Shilla Kingdom Buddhist art from the 7th to the 14th century. They are artistic masterpieces which trace the evolution of this especially refined school of Buddhist art throughout its most prolific and innovatory period, in particular from the 7th to the 10th century. They depict for the most part Buddha, and also the saints and bodhisattvas associated with him. Skilful use is made of the landscape in siting many of the sculptural groups. The most impressive is probably the Buddha Rock, a massive natural formation in the Tapkol Valley. It is located close to a three storey pagoda, and its three walls are decorated with vivid depictions in bas-relief of Buddha in different incarnations, surrounded by his acolytes and disciples." - Advisory Body Evaluation (2000)
Hegra rock-cut necropoles
Longmen Grottoes
Mogao Caves
Monastery of Geghard
Nubian Monuments Abu Simbel
Oaxaca and Monte Alban Monte Alban (originally carved out of the mountain)
Pergamon The Kybele Sanctuary at Kapikaya is a rural rock-cut sanctuary (AB ev)
Qadisha Valley Qannubin Monastery and others
Saint-Emilion Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff
Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries Rock-carved Seated Buddha, Treasure No. 216 (Beopjusa Temple) - Nomination File
Syracuse Pantalica
Yungang Grottoes


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A connection should:

  1. Not be "self evident"
  2. Link at least 3 different sites
  3. Not duplicate or merely subdivide the "Category" assignment already identified on this site.
  4. Add some knowledge or insight (whether significant or trivial!) about WHS for the users of this site
  5. Be explained, with reference to a source