The powerful phenomenon of monasticism, present in the East since the 6th century and enriched by the contribution of the Byzantines and Benedictine monks, favoured the appearance, in the territory near Matera, of numerous hermitages, rock churches, laures and monasteries. There are approximately 155 of these buildings in the area. This part of eastern Basilicata presents itself as an area of high plains, cracked by the gravel (crevices) and small caves dug in the tufa, typical of the region.
Since 1978 an archaeological park of rock churches (Parco archeologico storico naturale della Murgia e delle chiese rupestri del Materano) has been gathering and protecting these religious monuments of inestimable artistic value. It can be reached from Matera by the Strada Statale SS-7 in the direction of Laterza.
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