Derinkuyu Underground City
Derinkuyu Underground City
An amazing historical achievement in Cappadocia
The landscape of Cappadocia is certainly impressive. Fairy chimneys and cave churches make it an exciting place to be. However there are more impressive scenes that lay under the ground of Cappadocia and one of these is the Derinkuyu underground city.
Located in the Nevsehir province of Cappadocia, it is a sprawling mass of tunnels and rooms’ that form a complex underground city designed to accommodate up to 50,000 people to protect them in times of invasion. This is one of the top attractions in Cappadocia.
Tracing its origins back to the 7th century, Derinkuyu Underground city is an outstanding example of what man can achieve in order to protect the lives of him, friends and family. When communities were invaded and unable to fight off the enemy, they would retreat into the underground city and seal the doors from the inside, locking themselves in a confined space for many months at a time.
Every need of a human-being was catered for in Derinkuyu. Eleven large floors reaching 85 meters under the ground consisted of rooms for housing livestock, making wine, cooking, sleeping and even a chapel and burial room for the dead. Fresh water was obtained from a well that reached 55 meters into the ground and a sophisticated air system ensured a fresh supply of oxygen.
The communities of the Derinkuyu underground city thought of every possible event that may occur and one of these was if a person went mad from the lack of daily sunshine and natural daylight. This was a threat as they could run outside and reveal the location of the underground city to the invaders. The only solution was to tie them up via rope threaded through gorged holes in the volcanic stone that forms the structure of the city.
A walk into Derinkuyu underground city will reveal to you an exciting insight into life during the Byzantine period. Open since 1969, only 10% of Derinkuyu underground city is open to the public however this is enough to fully grasp the concept of what was achieved at a time when there were no automatic building machines to build a mass of rooms and tunnels like this.
The added surprise is that within the region of Cappadocia, there are 40 other underground cities that have been discovered. The biggest and the deepest is the Derinkuyu Underground city however all of them are worth a visit.
Kaymakli Underground city can be explored if you visit the nearby area of Ihlara valley while Ozkonak is an underground city located close to the town of Avanos. A visit to Cappadocia without seeing the underground cities is a missed opportunity to discover an exciting and amazing part of history.
There are rooms for housing livestock, making wine, cooking, sleeping and even a chapel
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