Thousands of years ago, human beings looked to the natural resources of their surroundings to create shelter. Remnants of some of these ancient settlements still exist all over the world as reminders of man’s primitive early life.

One of these is the Italian village of Sassi di Matera, and it boasts an incredible city of cave-like homes that once housed thousands of people. Amazingly, many parts of it are so well-preserved, that it was used as a site for the 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ.

Still, at 9,000 years old, one would think it’s completely vacant. But you’d be surprised to find who’s living there…

Located at the heel of Italy’s “boot” lies the ancient village of Sassi di Matera.

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Located on a steep cliffside, this city is estimated to be over 9,000 years old.

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Dwellings were carved directly into the rock, which allowed people to create more homes as their population grew.

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Still, early residents had limited access to basic supplies.

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Many people shared space with their animals, meaning disease was common.

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But there’s one thing that makes this city different from the abandoned ruins of other settlements…

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People still live there!

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In fact, Sassi di Matera is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited cave city in the world.

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Some caves were vacated after World War II because of the unstable cliffs.

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Other caves have been turned into restaurants and hotels (updated with modern amenities, of course).

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Not only that: the city finally received electricity and running water in the late 20th century.

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Movie buffs might even recognize the scenery from several biblical films, including The Passion of the Christ.

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Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, the natural beauty of Sassi di Matera is now protected for years to come!

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Could you imagine living in a 9,000-year-old cave city? This place should definitely be on every adventurer’s bucket list.

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