Maintenance is definitely easy. Not only are these cave homes energy efficient, they help save arable land for farmers to grow their livelihood. Moreover, the investment in building a cave is minimal. Liu Jiaping, director of the Green Architecture Research Center in Xian and the leading expert on cave living, designed a modernized version of the traditional cave dwellings that was a finalist for a World Habitat Award for sustainable housing. The new and updated cave homes are built in two levels, with openings over the entrance for light and ventilation. Each family has four chambers, two on each level.
Reportedly, it's like living in a villa. Some of these caves are as comfortable as posh apartments in the city. And you have to trust this, as it comes straight from the mouth of Cheng Wei, a Communist Party official who lives in one of these cave houses in Zaoyuan village.
Located near the thriving market of Yanan, a cave with three rooms and a bathroom (a total of 750 square feet) would cost around $46,000. You can even rent a simple one-room cave without plumbing for $30 a month. This would mean relying on outhouses or potties that you empty outside. Some of the caves are not available for rent or sale, as the rightful owners tend to hand it over from one generation to the other.
In the words of Ma Liangshui, a 76 year old resident, "Life is easy and comfortable here. I don't need to climb stairs. I have everything I need. I've lived all my life in caves, and I can't imagine anything different."
The demand is definitely greater than the supply here and one can see why!
Tag your friends who would love to move away from the crowd and dwell in the caves. Share your cave experiences here.