Ever think while you’re renovating “how funny it would be if I came across a secret door hidden the foundation of my house.” But no, that never actually happens!
It did for this person!
In 1963, a man was renovating his home when he suddenly knocked down a wall in his basement. What he discovered behind the wall left everyone open-mouthed. There was a secret room behind the wall! Further digging of the wall led to the great discovery of an intricate system of tunnels with additional cave-like rooms, several 100 feet below the earth. It was the ancient underground city of Derinkuyu!
Where is this underground city located?
The 18-storeyed underground city is located in the Derinkuyu district in Nevşehir Province, Turkey. It is the part of the Cappadocia region in Central Anatolia. It connects to other subterranean cities by tunnels stretching several miles. Only 2000 square feet of Derinkuyu have been discovered so far, however it might extend to as much as 7000 square feet.
Who built it and when?
As this city is carved out of naturally-form stones, it is difficult to discern its origin. No queries are left to examine it. Furthermore, there are no records left which could help in its documenting. People who used to live there seemed to have moved on or vanished.
However, there are many theories regarding its creation, like, some archaeologists say that this city was created during the Byzantine Era in 780- 1180 AD. There were built churches, stables, kitchen, tombs, stones wells, communal rooms, and schools. It was used as bunkers to protect inhabitants from the Arab- Byzantine war.
What are its extraordinary features?
Derinkuyu is the deepest of the discovered underground cities with eight floors – reaching depths of 280 feet (85m) – currently open to the public. Excavation is incomplete but archaeologists estimate Derinkuyu could contain up to 18 subterranean levels.
The city was built keeping all the requirements and needs in mind. There were churches, food storage, livestock, walls cellars, schools, several rooms, etc. There were temporary graveyards, also. About 100 entrances were found hidden behind bushes, walls, and courtyards of the surface dwelling. Most of the entrances were blocked by large circular stones go up to 5 feet in diameter. The stone doors were meant to protect the inhabitants from the surface threat.
There were underground wells used for the rudimentary irrigation system. They transported drinking water, too. Isn’t it quite creative?
The dwellers of the underground city were dedicated to their religion as many religious schools are found in the city. The staircases between 3rd and 4th level lead to a cruciform church.
Cave-like chapels and Greek inscriptions still exist here. The city is said to have accommodated 20000 people as well as livestock and food.
An interesting fact is that this is not the only underground city found in Turkey. Many more cities were also found. On the third level, 5 km- long tunnel connected to a nearby underground City Kaymakli. However, this channel has collapsed now. This underground city is unique in itself as it speaks of the past glory of ancient civilization. With perfect artisanal skill it is a perfect specimen of the ancient art and architecture and quite enough to take the world into a swirl.