Derinkuyu underground city
Derinkuyu is an ancient underground city, located 29 km south of Nevşehir Province, Turkey. It is located in the middle of the plateau at an altitude of 1355 meters above sea level. It is the largest underground structure in Cappadocia and the largest underground city in Turkey. The name can be translated from Turkish as “deep well”.
The city was opened in 1963, only partly explored and opened for access of tourists in 1965. The city was discovered by a local inhabitant, who decided to make repairs at home. Having broken the wall, he saw a room behind it and a passage leading to an underground labyrinth.
The scale of the city-maze, fully hidden underground, is truly amazing! It is known that Derinkuyu has over 12 floors, going underground to 85 meters; city area is 2,5 thousand square meters. Some researchers argue that the figures are reduced, and in fact the city area is much larger, as well as the number of floors.
Derinkuyu is connected by tunnels with other underground cities of Cappadocia. Presumably, it was built about three thousand years ago. Although, scientists still argue when the city was built, who did it and why. A little later, the mazes were extended by the other nations. Here you can find everything you need for life: ventilation shafts, residential quarters, stalls for animals, kitchens with stoves, dining rooms, wine cellars, barns, oil and wine presses, chapels, warehouses, schools, shops, churches and cemeteries. A tunnel with height of 160-170 cm leads down. At the sides of the tunnel there are empty chambers. Here are about 50 vertical ventilation shafts. They reach the groundwater, and in addition, they previously served as wells. This underground city could serve as a home to more than 20 thousand people. Here lived the representatives of different cultures and nationalities. The Christians were the last ones.
Derinkuyu had round stone doors. Their design is also very interesting. You could open a 450-pound door only from inside, using a special lever. One person could do it easily. Each floor had its own door. So people defended themselves against enemies. Even if the enemy had come inside, he would have never got back to the surface without the knowledge of secret passages and labyrinths plan.
Tourists are allowed to visit only a small part of the city – the upper floors, where the maze of fenced so that nobody gets lost. You will find signs everywhere for this purpose. The “wrong” passages are blocked. The corridors are quite narrow and low in some places, so it’s a bit difficult to move. The further you go down, the lower the ceilings. Do not panic. You can also use the services of a guide.
On the surface you will also find many attractions: the Greek Orthodox monastery, wells and chapels.