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Now THAT'S a man cave! Inside the 65ft-deep underground

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#1 Yervant1

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 10:59 AM

Daily Mail, UK
June 22 2018
 
 
Now THAT'S a man cave! Inside the 65ft-deep underground world dug out by a builder over 23 YEARS... using just a chisel and hammer
  • Levon Arakelyan, who was a builder by profession, spent 23 years crafting the 280-square-metre cave
  • Today the hand-crafted cellar in the village of Arinj in Armenia is open as a museum 
  • New Zealand-based photographer Amos Chapple recently journeyed to the attraction to shed some light on it 

By Sadie Whitelocks for MailOnline

Published: 03:09 EDT, 22 June 2018

These 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 incredible 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 and New Zealand-based Radio Free Europe photographer Amos Chapple recently journeyed to the attraction to shed some light on it. 

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These fascinating photos show how one man painstakingly created a jaw-dropping basement under his house, armed with just a hammer and chisel

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

Apparently Tosya no longer ventures into the cavern as she's scared of having a fall, so the cameraman went down there alone. 

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. 

4D7C85D900000578-5870117-Over_the_years_

 

4D7C896100000578-5870117-image-a-104_152Some of the tunnels feature grand doorways, with Romanesque columns carved into the stone and there are perfectly angled stairs chipped into the rock

'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.' 

 

 

 

 

4D7C852400000578-5870117-image-a-129_152

 


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#2 onjig

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 03:00 PM

That's pretty neat ~ God bless Levon ~ great job ~ a monument ~ and Tosya too ~ I'd like to give her a kiss ~ she's an angle ~ I bet she'd serve us coffee with bread, olives and cheese if we were there ```



#3 onjig

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 06:45 PM

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#4 onjig

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 06:46 PM

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#5 onjig

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 06:47 PM

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#6 onjig

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 06:48 PM

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#7 onjig

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 06:50 PM

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#8 onjig

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 07:33 PM

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“My husband would only catch 3-4 sleep a night. In the latter years of the project, visitors would come with food to offer him. Levon would complain and say they were interrupting his work. From the very beginning, he’d fill up a bottle of mineral water and take it down the cave. That’s what sustained him. That and his untiring spirit and love for what he was doing. If he didn’t love what he was doing, he’d never achieve all this. And there I was chiding him, ‘Get out of there. It might collapse on you’. Luckily, he never listened to me.”

The first floor of the house has been transformed into a museum as well, displaying the clothes worn and tools used by Levon. There are also press clippings of the cave and a visitor’s sign-in book. And the cave/museum has been a spot for many a curious visitor – whether from Armenia, the diaspora or non-Armenian tourists.

In the yard, you can see flower pots that Levon made from the shards and pieces of stone from the dig. There are also two stone mosaics on the wall of the courtyard – one is of Levon, holding his hammer and chisel, the other is Tosya, potato in hand.

 

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Master Levon’s tools                                                                          

 

Planters in the courtyard made of stone shards

Levon Arakelyan passed away suddenly four years ago at 67. He was working on the day he died.

“He would say, God has instructed me to do this and God will tell me when to stop.” says Tosya.

 

 

Levon and Tosya have four daughters and 12 grandchildren.

 

Tosya says that in this age of modern tools and equipment, no one will continue the work of master Levon. His hammer and chisel remain silent, on display for all to see.

 

                                                




#9 onjig

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 10:57 PM

I wonder how he ran the wiring for the lights ```






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