Murgia Materana Park
The Murgia of Matera, in addition to an original nature, preserves the most fascinating traces of ancient human civilization present in Italy, offering a variety of historical elements that make it possible to distinguish the different cultures that have followed one another over the millennia. Cultures connected to a particular natural environment that has formed and conditioned their identity. The settlement of the Murgia dates back to very ancient times: to the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods. In the Park area there are examples of great importance such as the "bat cave" and the fortified villages located in the districts of Murgecchia, Murgia Timone and Tirlecchia. The Murgia was the kingdom of shepherds and herdsmen, a real social class that with its rites and traditions offered a notable contribution to the "peasant civilization" and more generally to the whole rock civilization that today, through the study and research, reached the historical value that belongs to it. A civilization that has had its maximum expression in the phenomenon of “rock churches” that make the Murgia important, together with Cappadocia with its valleys of Goréme and Ilhara, of Syria, Tunisia or the distant Tigrai: a heritage considered a "unicum" of its kind since 1958. The regional law dates back to 1978 which identified, for this Murgic area, the creation of a Park, the only tool capable of offering, in balance, protection and development.