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15 things you should know about the underground city of Derinkuyu

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The underground city of Derinkuyu is an ancient city located beneath the surface of the Derinkuyu district in the Nevşehir Province, Turkey. It is one of the most amazing underground cities to have been discovered, and no one knows its exact age, making this already awesome underground city even cooler.

 

Here, we bring you 15 things you need to know about Derinkuyu.

Derinkuyu extends to a depth of about 60 meters underground, it was a highly sophisticated underground shelter. No one knows exactly from what were the people of the underground city hiding, some say war, others climate change, but the exact reason remains a mystery.

Who the exact builders of Derinkuyu where is a mystery, according to the Turkish Department of Culture, Derinkuyu was built by the Phrygians in the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. This ancient underground city was enlarged in the Byzantine era.

Evidence found in Derinkuyu connect the settlement to the Hittites’, several artifacts of Hittite-style have been found during excavations performed in the past.

Archaeologists speculate about the exact age of Derinkuyu, but writings of Xenophon (ca. 431 – 355 BC) mention the underground city and are believed to be the earliest examples of written evidence referring to Derinkuyu.

Even though there are really large underground cities across Europe and Asia, Derinkuyu is the largest underground city discovered to date in Turkey.

The underground city of Derinkuyu had extremely well-designed air shafts, some of them as deep as forty meters below the surface. Together with the air shafts, storage rooms and wells that were incorporated into the design, people could live without problems underground for long periods of time.

Underground Derinkuyu is really big, it has a total area of around 7,000 square feet, the entire underground city has not been excavated. The fact that Derinkuyu has around eleven floors adds to the mystery of how ancient man was able to achieve such incredible construction.

The security system that was used in Derinkuyu is both very effective and relatively easy to manage. Each floor of Derinkuyu could have been closed off separately; huge circular stones were used to isolate the entrances, these “doors” could only be worked with on the inside.

The underground city of Derinkuyu, even though located under the surface, was connected with the world. This ancient city was connected to other underground settlements through a series of tunnels.

Underground Derinkuyu was a fully working community; having specific sections underground such as shops, communal rooms, wells, tombs, arsenals, apartments, religious buildings and escape routes. People living in underground Derinkuyu had everything they needed to live life properly.

So far, archaeologists have discovered approximately fifty air shafts, they expect this number to increase as excavations advance.

According to archaeologists, there is a tunnel on the third level of Derinkuyu that leads to a neighboring city, 5 kilometers away called Kaymakli.

Underground Derinkuyu is believed to have been capable of offering proper living conditions to around 50,000 people.

This underground city had several wells, some of them were connected to the surface while other wells were not in order to protect the underground population from potential poisoning during times of war.

If you decide to visit the ancient underground city of Derinkuyu, you should know that you can only visit about 10% of this ancient city. The city itself is gigantic, and to even enter it you will have to go through really small passages. These passages were built on purpose to repel enemy troops or at least make it difficult to enter the city itself.

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Map of Derinkuyu. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons