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Rock-Cut Architecture - Free-Standing Structures

Though rock-cut architecture differs from traditional buildings in many obvious ways, many are often made to replicate real architectural forms in the facades and even in their interiors. The interiors were usually carved out by starting at what would wind up being the roof and then working downward, for the obvious reason that stones would not be falling on one's head. The three main uses of rock-cut architecture were temples (like those in India), tombs (like those in Petra, Jordan) and cave dwelling (like those in Cappadocia, Turkey).

Another term sometimes associated with rock-cut architecture is monolithic architecture, but it would apply only to completely free-standing structures.

The technological skills associated with making these complex structures moved into China along the trade routes. The Longmen Grottoes, the Mogao Caves and the Yungang Grottoes consist of hundreds of caves many with statues of Buddha in them. Most were built between 460525 AD. There are extensive rock-cut buildings, including houses and churches in Cappadocia, Turkey. They were built over a span of hundreds of years prior to the 5th century CE. Emphasis here was more on the interiors than the exteriors.

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