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Cappadocia Turkey
7 Jun

Intriguing Derinkuyu, Ancient Underground City of Cappadocia Turkey

There are many interesting and strange places around the globe that should be seen at least once and Derinkuya Cappadocia should on that list.  While most of us are familiar with Turkey with the allure of its vibrant cities and beautiful seaside locations, there is so much more to intrigue visitors. A group of underground cities present in Central Anatolia (Turkey) date all the way back to the times of the Hittites in the 18-14th centuries BC.  Visiting these fascinating underground cities is a wonderful opportunity to explore an ancient culture. There are a total of 36 of these amazing constructions found throughout Cappadocia, but Derinkuyu is the deepest one.

Cappadocia Turkey

The underground city of Derinkuyu is located right beneath a town bearing the same name, only a 30-minute drive away from Goreme. Amazingly, there are nearly 600 doors to the massive underground hidden chambers which are located around the city in houses and courtyards. The city’s deepest point has been estimated at about 85 meters below the surface. You’d be surprised to find that there was pretty much anything needed for human life in there, such as cellars, storage rooms, stables, wineries, shrines and more. A massive room with a vaulted ceiling on the second level of the city was theorized to be a missionary school of times past, having side rooms where studies were conducted. Vertical staircases lead to different levels throughout the tunnels, and there is even a place of worship on the lower level of the complex.

Cappadocia Village

There is a deep (55m) ventilation shaft providing air to the lower levels, which is also used as a well. This would provide inhabitants with a greater degree of protection from water poisoning during enemy raids. This shaft however is only one of many, and it is theorized there are more than 15,000 ventilation holes riddling the entire area of the complex..In modern times, Derinkuyu opened its doors to visitors in 1965, but so far not even half of it’s chambers have been opened to visitors due to its age and possible dangers of certain passages.

Cappadocia Underground Tunnels

According to historians and scientists, cities such as Derinkuyu were not meant for permanent dwelling, but rather a location where the population would fall back to during enemy raids and invasions, supporting and safeguarding their domestic animals, families and civilians. It is an extremely complex dwelling carved with not much more than primitive tools.  Its scope and complexity bear testimony to the resolve of the people who built it. Considering the organization of the underground rooms, this was a constant work in progress, expanding the network of tunnels and rooms throughout the ages until the culture’s eventual decline.

There is truly a vast and extensive network of tunnels, passages, corridors, pits, family rooms, and communal rooms. There are wells, chimneys, niches where they kept oil lamps, water tanks, mortuaries where the people would keep their dead until they could return to the surface. The most amazing thing however are the massive stone doors as large as mill stones that protect the most obvious entrances to the underground city. They are carefully balanced and almost impossible to move from the outside, but easy to open from the inside, making the place a formidable fortress in times of conflict.

About The Author:   This article has been written by Angela who writes on behalf of
Photo Credits:  Wikimedia Commons