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(dämänho͝or`), city (1986 pop. 188,939), capital of Beheira governorate, N Egypt, in the Nile River delta. It is a communications center and a market for cotton and rice. Industries include cotton ginning, potato processing, and date picking. In Roman times it was called Hermopolis Parva.
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Damanhur (Italy)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Damanhur is a large communal group of some 800 members founded in 1975 by Oberto Airaudi (b. 1950). The community is located in the Valchiusella Valley, in the Alpine foothills north of Torino, Italy. Damanhur is organized as a Federation of Communities and Regions, and for many years its members considered the community a separate nation, signaled most visibly by the issuance of its own currency. Visitors exchanged their lira (or more recently, their euros) for the local currency while moving through the valley.

While Damanhur is interesting for a variety of reasons, from its life as a commune to church-state relations, it has added significantly to the manifestation of religious phenomena through its secretly constructed underground temple complex. Through the 1980s and 1990s, members of the temple carved a vast complex of rooms out of the Alpine rocks. Although several members had left the community prior to 1992, none had revealed the secret project. Its existence came to light that year only because of a lawsuit filed by a former leader.

The Temple of Mankind includes a number of rooms expressive of the group’s own teachings, a form of Western Esotericism that draws on both ancient Pagan and modern theosophical beliefs and practices. Various halls in the temples are related to different aspects of the human psyche, and work within the temple is a visible representa ti on of the journeys within and alchemical explorations of one’s self.

When outsiders were admitted to the temple in the mid-1970s, they found it had seven large chambers connected by 150 meters of corridors. They were decorated with frescoes, mosaics, and stained glass. In one room was the largest Tiffany stained-glass dome in the world. The most important structures were the Earth Hall, symbolizing the male principle; the Water Hall, symbolizing the female principle; the Hall of Mirrors, which emphasizes the sky, air, and light; the Hall of Metals, symbolic of the struggle between mind and body; and the Hall of the Spheres, a place for Esoteric alchemical experimentation.

Integral to the temple’s construction was its alignment to what are believed to be the currents of energy that flow around the planet. These “synchronic lines,” similar to what elsewhere are called ley lines and to the flow of energy out of which Feng Shuideveloped, create a global network that can be imposed on a world map, with nine lines flowing basically east-west, and nine flowing basically north-south. Four of these lines are believed to cross where the temple is located, and its various rooms were placed to coincide with the flow of the lines under the earth. Thus, work inside the temple not only includes work within one’s self, but also connects individuals and the community with the larger cosmos.

Offended by the secret construction of such a large structure without reference to local building laws or even the knowledge of government officials, different authorities ordered the destruction of the temple, citing its violation of zoning regulations. However, academic and artistic voices were raised in its support and public opinion swung behind Damanhur. The move against the temple was blocked, and the planned construction to complete the project has been resumed. In the meantime, Damanhur has expanded its influence to the nearby City of Vidracco, where a majority of the city council is drawn from members of Damanhur.


Introvigne, Massimo. “Damanhur: A Magical Community in Italy.” In Bryan Wilson and Jamie Cresswell, eds., New Religious Movements: Challenge and Response. London: Routledge, 1999.
Merrifield, Jeff. Damanhur: The Real Dream. London: Thorsons, 1998.
The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena © 2008 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The issue of the Damanhur mosque came to authorities' attention on Sunday after pro-government online activists posted photos of the site with Al Banna's name and the Brotherhood emblem appearing on its front.
A convenience sample of 50 professors working in two faculties of commerce, one at Alexandria University and the other at Damanhur University, were used for the pilot study.
Global Ecovillages Referenced in this Article (7) Location Date Size (ha) Number of Adult Established Members Australia Crystal Waters 1988 259 250 Denmark Svanholm 1978 400 70 Germany Lebensgarten 1985 30 130 Sieben Linden 1997 82 115 UFA-Fabrik 1973 1.6 35 ZEGG 1991 15 80 India Auroville 1968 1,214 2,400 Ireland Cloughjordan 2005 27 125 Italy Damanhur 1977 600 500 New Zealand Tui 1983 59 46 Scotland Findhorn 1962 42 130 United States Earthaven, NC 1994 133 50 EcoVillage at 1992 71 240 Ithaca, NY Dancing Rabbit, 1997 113 37 MO Los Angeles 1993 2 city 30-40 Ecovillage, CA blocks The Farm, TN 1971 708 200 Twin Oaks, VA 1967 142 90 Sirius, MA 1978 36 26 Table 2.
As an example, Behiera Water and Wastewater Co replaced the antiquated Damanhur water distribution network in Egypt to reduce the amount of non-revenue water and improve the overall management of the distribution network.
Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have signed a US$200 million loan to finance a power plant in Damanhur, 160 km (99.4 miles) northwest of Cairo.
The crash, near the Nile Delta city of Damanhur, 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Cairo, also injured 18 people, some of them seriously, police and hospital officials said.
(2006), the west coast area of Abu Qir Bay, a geographical study, Master Thesis, Alexandria University branch of Damanhur, Faculty of Arts, Geography Department.
At least 12 people were hurt Saturday in fighting between opponents and backers of Morsi for the second-consecutive day in the Nile Delta province of Damanhur, local media said.
Three tenders for the rehabilitation/ replacement of potable water networks at Damanhur urban & rural zones.
CAIRO, (SANA) -- The Egyptian Health Ministry announced on Monday that the number of people injured between the proponents and the opponents of the "constitutional declaration" issued by Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi has reached 444 people on Monday, in addition to two dead, one in Cairo and one in Damanhur.
As Damanhur is on fire especially after the murder of a 15 years old boy in the clashes between the MB members and the protesters , the city of Tanta is also on fire.