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Massive underground cities in Turkey

The amazing underground cities in Turkey’s Cappadocia have become famous all over the world

One of Cappadocia’s most famous underground cities is Derinkuyu, which was built during the Byzantine era when its inhabitants used it to protect themselves from Muslim Arabs during the Arab-Byzantine Wars between 780 and 1180. The multi level city was composed of many passages and caves used for various purposes, the city lies around 60 meters under the ground and was able to shelter around 20,000 people including their livestock and food.


Derinkuyu was opened to visitors in 1969 with only half of the city available for viewing

One of Derinkuyu’s most striking spaces is a large room with vaulted ceilings, which is believed to have been a religious school with separate study rooms.

Source: Flickr Gary R. Caldwell

It is believed that the underground cities were initially built by the Phrygians during the 8th through 7th centuries BCE, who carved their living spaces into the region’s soft volcanic rock.

Even during the 20th century, the caves allowed for people to save themselves from persecution administered during the Ottoman Empire. It was not until 1923, after the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, that the underground cities were completely abandoned and then not rediscovered until 1963. The story goes that a resident found a strange room behind a wall inside his house.


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