Damanhur’s roughly 600 residents live in 30 communities, called “nucleos,” spread across a spectacular subalpine valley in northern Italy. Each nucleo in the Damanhur Federation is devoted to a specific field: solar energy, seed saving, organic meat production, education, healing, etc.
Appropriately, Dendera, a new nucleo dedicated to international exchange, served as my gracious host.
Damanhur may be the world’s most fast-paced, high-tech ecovillage. For instance:
- It has its own molecular biology lab that tests for genetically modified food
- a smart-phone for every member
- and a highly successful complementary currency—the credito.
It may also be the world’s most beautiful and fanciful ecovillage. For instance, in order to enter into a more intimate relationship with nature, each member takes as their first and last name the Italian name of an animal and plant. As a consequence, I found myself interviewing people with names like Anaconda Papaya, Lizard Pepper, and Goat Carob.
For Damanhurians, playfulness is not just about having fun; for them, it also as a key source of creativity. Nowhere is that creativity more evident than in the community’s underground Temples of Humankind, an architectural wonder that serves as a place for meditation and ritual and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.
Official website: http://www.damanhur.org/
Virtual tour of the Temples of Humankind: http://www.thetemples.org/tour/
Video introduction to Damanhur