Derinkuyu, an Ancient and Unique Underground City in Turkey


With a depth of up to 54 meters or 177 feet below ground level, the city can accommodate up to about 20,000 people along with their livestock and food items.

IPHEDIA.com - In this world there is one unique city, built in the ground called Derinkuyu. The underground city Derinkuyu (Turkish) meaning "deep well", an ancient multi-storey underground city, is located in Derinkuyu Sub-province, Nevsehir Province, Turkey, 29 km south of the city of Nevsehir via the Nigde Highway.

With a depth of up to 54 meters or 177 feet below ground level, the city can accommodate up to about 20,000 people along with their livestock and food items. It is the largest underground city that has been excavated, apart from several other underground complexes scattered throughout the Cappadocia region of Turkey.

The area of ??the excavated underground city of Derinkuyu is 4 km2 or 1.5 miles2. This underground city complex is well organized and has various public functions, such as galleries, living rooms, latrines, meeting rooms and public kitchens.

Then, there are also chapels, prisons, armory, access passages, wells, and special air chimneys which are useful when the community is doing excavation for a long time.

Here, it is thought that there is also a school room, which is in the form of an elongated mound of earth surrounded by ditches; while the cattle sheds are always located at the top levels of the complex.

Derinkuyu Starts To Be Built

There is controversy over who built the complex first. Some Turkish scholars argue that the Hittites built the first tier as a storehouse.

This is due to the Hittit stamp that the local people found when building the foundation of their house, and the ancient Hittit city of Göllü Dagi which is 20 km southwest of Derinkuyu.

According to research by the Turkish Ministry of Culture, the first caves were likely deepened in soft volcanic rock in the Cappadocia region by the Phrygians (Phrygians), who were part of the ancient Indo-European peoples, in the 7th to 8th centuries BC.

When the Phrygian language became extinct in ancient Rome and was replaced by its close relative, Greek, the later Christian residents added their underground caves with chapel buildings and Greek inscriptions.

The city of Derinkuyu was fully formed during the Byzantine era, when it was often used as a protection against Arab Muslims during the Byzantine-Arab wars (780-1180). Derinkuyu was connected to the other underground cities through tunnels that were miles long.

Some of the artifacts found in the underground settlement date from the Middle Byzantine Period, which was in the 5th to 10th centuries. These cities continued to be used by Christian natives as a refuge against attacks by the Mongols under the leadership of Timur Lenk in the 14th century.

After the region fell under Ottoman rule, the cities were used as foxholes against Turkish Muslim rulers. Until the end of the 20th century, the inhabitants of Cappadocia Greece from time to time still used the underground city to escape oppression by the Ottomans, until the underground city was no longer occupied.

The complex was rediscovered in 1963, after local residents discovered a mysterious room behind a wall in his house. Subsequent excavations have opened the discovery of a network of tunnels in the underground city.

Open to the Public

The Derinkuyu underground city site opened to the public in 1969, and 10% -15% of the entire site is currently accessible to tourists.

There are eight levels that are open to the public, with 204 total steps that can be descended from the top to the deepest level of the complex. There are 18-20 deeper levels which are not open to the public. However, it is estimated that there are still many hidden parts of the city that have yet to be explored.

Apart from Derinkuyu, other underground cities that are also open to the public are Kaymakli, Özkonak, Özlüce, and Gaziemir. Throughout the province of Nevsehir, Turkey, it is estimated that there are about 30 underground cities. (as/ip)

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