Rock-cut architecture is the practice of creating buildings by carving natural rock. In India the term 'cave' is often applied, and in China 'cavern,' but one must differentiate natural caves from rock-cut architecture which is man-made and designed along the conventions of architecture itself and thus in every respect a part of architecture and its history. 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).
Rock-cut architecture is an early type of monolithic architecture.