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Underground Cities

There are about 36 underground cities in Cappadocia. Is the deepest underground city of Derinkuyu and the widest is Kaymakli. These multilevel complexes were found back in Hittite times and over the centuries expanded and deepened, especially at a time when various marauding armies crossed Central Anatolia in search of prisoners and plunder of the local population.


The underground city of Derinkuyu is just 40 km from Goreme. Found about 600 entrances to this historic place, but almost all of them are hidden in the courtyards of land dwellings and find them not so easy. The depth of this city is about 85 meters. It has everything: living rooms, basements, storage rooms, refectories, churches and even stables and wineries. A large room with a vaulted ceiling on the second floor was a missionary school, to the left of which were the study rooms. Starting from the 3rd and 4th floors, the descent was carried out not only through tunnels, but also through vertical stairs, some of which lead to the cross-shaped Church plan on the ground floor. Ventilation shafts were used to ensure air circulation. Thus, the depth of one of the mines reaches 55 m. in Total, there are at least 15,000 ventilation ducts that provide fresh air to the whole underground city.

Such amazing underground cities had almost everything that could provide more or less comfortable living underground: shops, extensive networks of passages and tunnels that connected living rooms with public spaces (here people could meet, work and worship); wells, water tanks (many of which were not connected with the outside world, in order to avoid poisoning water pursuers); numerous niches for oil lamps, providing lighting; even specially designated places where the dead were placed until the conditions allowed to come to the surface and put them to the ground properly.

Most likely, all these underground cities were not intended for permanent residence and were used as a temporary shelter to withstand prolonged attacks and allow a large number of people and Pets to wait out the danger. An important role in such shelters was played by carefully balanced movable stone doors, resembling millstones, designed to quickly block the corridors in the event of an attack. Of course, these doors only worked from the inside. It saved the city from getting in from the outside.

The underground city of Derinkuyu was opened to the public in 1965. Today you can visit more than half of it. Do not miss this amazing, a kind of unique place, the likes of which you will not find anywhere in the world.

                      Underground city of Kaymakly
Just 30 km from Goreme is another unique underground city of Kaymakli, it is the widest of all known (the deepest is the underground city of Derinkuyu). Now, it is no secret that about 100 tunnels connect the houses of the residents of the village of Kaymakli with this historic place; to this day, the most convenient places in the tunnels are used as basements, warehouses and even stables. The underground city itself consists of 8 floors, but only 4 of them are open to the public today.

The first floor is a stable. The passage on the left, from the stables, has a door-millstones and leads to the Church. There is an altar, and on the sides - places for visitors. But the most interesting and important rooms of the underground city are on the 3rd floor: kitchens, storerooms, shops, common rooms, refectory, water tanks. On the floor below there are wineries. A huge number of warehouses confirms the idea that there lived a large number of people. Archaeologists call the figure 3500 people or more.

Almost all the passages of the underground city are very narrow and low, they are easy to get confused. Being in the underground city, after 10-15 minutes of the tour, it is difficult to understand which floor You are on and which side is the exit, if not for tourist signs. Such an intricate scheme of passages created advantages for the underground inhabitants before the enemies.

As in all underground cities, there is a huge number of ventilation shafts. The depth of one of them is about 80 meters. Due to the unique ventilation system in the underground city is always maintained a comfortable temperature.
Of all the findings Kaymakly of particular interest is a block of andesite with a relief texture. Recent studies have shown that this stone was used as a melting pot for copper and was part of the andesite layer. On its surface - 57 holes. Copper ore was placed in these holes and closed with a solid piece of rock. Copper was most likely brought to Kaymakly from the quarry between Aksaray and Nevsehir.
Not only Kaymakli, but many of the underground cities of Cappadocia were excavated in Hittite times and over the centuries expanded and deepened, especially at a time when various marauding armies crossed Central Anatolia in search of prisoners and plunder of the local population. The underground city of Kaymakli was built under the mountain known as the Citadel of Kaymakli and was opened to visitors in 1964.