The Derinkuyu Underground City is an ancient multi-level underground city of the Median Empire in the Derinkuyu district in Nevsehir Province, Turkey. It extends to a depth of approximately 60m and was large enough to shelter approximately 20,000 people together with their livestock and food stores. This is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey and is one of several underground complexes found across Cappadocia. Continue reading for more.
5. Each Floor Could Be Closed Off
The underground city at Derinkuyu could be closed from the inside with large stone doors. Each floor could be closed off separately. Between the third and fourth levels is a vertical staircase. This passage way leads to a cruciform church on the lowest (fifth) level.
4. Could Accommodate 20,000 People
The city could accommodate up to 20,000 people and had all the usual amenities found in other underground complexes across Cappadocia, such as wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, and chapels. Unique to the Derinkuyu complex and located on the second floor is a spacious room with a barrel vaulted ceiling. It has been reported that this room was used as a religious school and the rooms to the left were studies.
3. Built During 8th-7th Centuries B.C.
First built in the soft volcanic rock of the Cappadocia region, possibly by the Phrygians in the 8th-7th centuries B.C. according to the Turkish Department of Culture, the underground city at Derinkuyu may have been enlarged in the Byzantine era.
2. Was Just Recently Rediscovered
Derinkuyu had been lost to time until, during renovations on a modern home, an opening to a cave passage was revealed. While visitors have been allowed in the underground city since 1965, there are many passages and rooms that still remain inaccessible to this day.
1. Part of a Larger Complex
Many researchers claim that the city was part of a larger complex due to a rumor that a tunnel extends from Derinkuyu to its sister underground city, Kaymakli, located three miles away. These two cities were built for the same reason: to protect the populace during invasion. Evidence of this include a self-contained fresh water supply, as well as the previously mentioned stone, circular doors, weighing up to 1,000 pounds, that could seal off each floor, protecting them from invasion.