In 1975, Tatlarin underground city was discovered. After a long period of excavations it was finally opened to the public in 1991. From their work, history experts were able to discover a number of important facts about the city including that it was used for religious or military purposes due to the size of many of the rooms. There are only two floors open to the public however it is worth a visit to discover how life was 3000 years ago. Highlights include sliding stones that meant doors could only be opened from the inside, kitchen and burial places as well as food supply storage areas.
Derinkuyu is perhaps the most popular out of all the underground cities in the Cappadocia region. This may be due to the fact that it is the most impressive because it is bigger and deeper than its counterparts. Eight floors extend approximately 85 meters underground allowing citizens’ adequate protection in times of invasion. Derinkuyu underground city really is worth exploring as you will discover kitchen areas, wells, rooms, burial chambers, a chapel, animal pens and also how they used to tie people up who went crazy through a lack of sunshine and natural daylight. It is estimated that the city was built to accommodate up to 50,000 people to protect them from invading forces.
Ozkonak Underground City is located northeast of the town of Avanos and is definitely worth a visit if you want to explore underground cities in depth. The city was discovered in 1972 and it differs from other in that, there were holes in ceilings above the doors which enabled the citizens to pour hot oil on any unwelcome visitors. There are only four of the ten floors open to the public at the moment however you can discover many surprises on your tour including water wells, salons, ventilation systems and tombs.
Mazi Village is located just 10 km east from Kaymakli underground city so it is possible to combine the two to make a full day of underground city exploration. This underground city is relatively small compared to others however it still makes for great discovery as you come across the church, barns and winery. In the past, the Mazi village underground city could be entered via four different entrances but all of them led to the main hall which was then also shut off from invaders.
Kaymakli underground city is another famous city of the region and can be combined with a trip to Ihlara Valley. Its previous name was Enegup and it is believed that the city was built first and then homes were established around the entrance. History experts estimate that the eight floors could accommodate 5000 people for up to a long period of time due to the well-built ventilation system, the winery, water cistern and wells, kitchen and storage areas. Storage areas were also built to accommodate livestock and this would have served well in terms of food products like milk, cheese and eggs.
Gaziemir Underground city only opened in 2007 so visitors to the Cappadocia region before that time could have missed the delights that this ancient city has to offer. History experts are strongly of the belief that the underground city was in full use during the Byzantine period. Within the mass of tunnels that span a large space are two churches, a winery, tandoor fireplaces and even a Turkish bath. This city differs from the others in that its passageways are much larger even allowing space for a large horse to enter. Perhaps this versatile set-up is also what led the experts to believe that it was used as a public house in periods of time after invasion was no longer was a threat.
This underground settlement is located in the village of Ozluce which was called Zile in ancient times. It is on the Nevsehir-Derinkuyu road and just 6 km south of the town of Kaymakli so the trip could also be combined with a visit to Kaymakli underground city. Ozluce Underground City is unique in terms of its formation and architectural features. Although not as large as other underground cities, exploration is still fun as you discover storage and living areas that were used in times of invasion by the enemy.
The beginning of the Ovaoren Underground city is not known at this time due to the fact that different civilizations added to the original city making it hard to determine the time period when it was in full use. History experts have suggested that it dates back to the Hittites but this is unconfirmed. Long tunnels and large rooms were protecting its inhabitants from outside invasion with stone doors that were rolled over the entrance and could only be opened from the inside. Long corridors could be light by oil lamps and candles and every event was catered for in the form of air chimneys, water wells, burial chambers and kitchens.
In the Aksaray Province of Cappadocia is the Gozyasi underground city which also dates back to the Byzantine period. The depth of this city has been placed at 20 meters with an entrance tunnel of 20 meters. Unfortunately discoveries within the city have been hampered by safety issues however all the time, experts are trying to advance further within the city to discover more about what life was like when people were forced by invaders to retreat underground and live there for up to months at a time.
Acigol Underground City is located in the centre of the province and although not well known, it is still worth a visit. There are three entrances however experts suspect that only two of them are original. The third entrance is suggested at only being about 100 years old due to the architecture and stones. As with all underground cities, the tunnels are all connected and can be reached via a short corridor that showcases another marvelous discovery in the region of Cappadocia. A visit to Acigol underground city will be short as there is only one floor open to the public however you could combine it with other underground cities in Cappadocia to make a wonderful day out.
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"A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles" - Tim Cahill