5 underground homes and hotels for desert dwellers and tourists

underground home and hotel in Turkey

Some advocates of eco architecture say that for preserving the urban space the higher up you build, the better. But with an astonishing amount of desert landscape all around us, in Asia, in the Middle East, Africa and even in the United States, we’re thinking – let’s showcase the buried homes, the sustainable buildings that have gone underground or which are built from caves. Underground homes which use earth as insulation can be heated and cooled passively and overhead, well just imagine the possibilities.

Stay with a Bedouin in his underground cave in Jordan

petra cave couchsurfing

Although visitors don’t actually get a couch (they get a thin mat instead) and toilets don’t come with the package, just about everyone who has been to the cave in which Al-Bedoul was born and raised has good things to say: “Four friends and I spent one night at Ghassab’s cave. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I wish we had been able to stay for longer. I would go back in a heart beat!”

700-year-old underground hobbit cave homes in Iran


Nothing we’ve encountered yet deserves the eco, efficient, friendly, green, sustainable award as much as these seven century old cave homes that are for rent or for sale in Iran. They look like they might have been conceived by Salvador Dali and built by Antoni Gaudí, but indeed these cave homes are much much older than that. Carved into the volcanic rock at the foot of Mt. Sahand in Northeast Iran, the homes comprise both under and above ground space. A novel idea for future off grid architects?

Stay cool in this  5 Star underground hotel in Turkey

underground hotel, Turkey, buried hotel,

We were quite taken with these long-standing caves in Iran, and with this eco-boutique hotel in Turkey, but neither match the style of the restored Yunak Evleri hotel in Cappadocia. With fixings such as marble in the reception area, it isn’t the most modest tourism facility we have featured, but we do love to see history, nature, and travel merge in creative harmony. Once a sextet of cave houses carved out of soft limestone, a little cleanup and modern conveniences were added to this 5th-6th century marvel to produce a 21st century luxury hotel.

Emergency underground desert dwelling

underground home buried house
This desert home will save you from climate change. Built 3 stories underground these Underground Desert Living Units by Reynard Loki and Jennifer Daniels is more than conceptual. They are about survival: “You’ve seen it happening in Australia already: Desert is spreading and things just won’t grow,” says Lovelock. “The island nations like New Zealand will be spared that kind of damage.” 

Emre Arolat’s underground Sancaklar mosque in Turkey

underground home, mosque, buried home

We’ve featured some of the world’s most beautiful mosques on Green Prophet, but this is the first that resembles a cave. Slated for a prairie landscape in Buyuk Cekmece on the outskirts of Istanbul, the Sancaklar Mosque by Emre Arolat Architects is designed to offer genuine reprieve from the growing madness of urban life.

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