Daily Mail: Inside Armenia’s hand-crafted jaw-dropping cave

The Daily Mail has published fascinating photos show how one man painstakingly created a jaw-dropping basement under his house, using just a hammer and chisel.

Builder Levon Arakelyan spent 23 years crafting the 65ft-deep, 3,000-square-foot subterranean space and he was even working on the project on the day he died in 2008, aged 67. He began working on it after his wife, Tosya, asked for a cool space for her potatoes. He got carried away.

Today the hand-crafted cellar network in the village of Arinj in Armenia is open as a museum. According to the Daily Mail, New Zealand-based Radio Free Europe photographer Amos Chapple recently journeyed to the attraction to shed some light on it.

Mr Chapple said he decided to visit the unique basement after reading an article about it online.

Describing the cave, he told MailOnline Travel: ‘I went and scouted the place out with the lights on. I then went back up and asked Tosya to switch all the lights off and I would work down there alone to take photographs.

‘So being down there in the darkness was amazing – there was utter silence and darkness, and it was easy to get lost.

‘At first though I was a little nervous – Armenia is earthquake-prone and in the deeper caverns the rock crumbled under my fingernails.

‘I tried to banish the thought of a collapse from my mind and just concentrate on photographing.’

The walls of the cave feature a mix of hard and soft volcanic rock and the temperature remains around 10 degrees Celsius all-year round.

Levon started hammering out the basement in 1985 and over the years he continued to burrow, adding intricate detailing to the cave-like space.

Some of the tunnels feature grand doorways, with Romanesque columns carved into the stone and there are perfectly angled stairs chipped into the rock.

The cave museum features the rustic tools used by Levon and the shredded boots he worked in.

All of the earth removed during the excavation project was donated to local builders for use on construction projects. .

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