01 Apr Underground City
Underground Cities (Yeraltı Kentleri)
Nobody knows for sure when the underground cities of Cappadocia were built. Maybe in Hittite times or perhaps some of them as late as the sixth century A.D. It is a fact that there were already underground cities in the V century B.C., according to the Athenian historian Xenophon, in his “Anabasis”. So far 36 underground cities have been discovered, some of them recently. It is also estimated that, in most cases, they are all connected, but archeologists has not been able yet to locate these links.
The base of the cities consisted of tuff itself. The Cappadocians created large cities that were not noted from ground level. For vent pipes, they carved up to 85 meters (300 feet) into the rock and then made side holes at different levels and in all directions. They also carved a complex system of stairways and tunnels to connect all the layers to the surface.
They dug homes, bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, warehouses, cellars, chapels, tombs and so on. In dangerous times they were allowed to block the ways with large and solid stones in the strategic tunnels and camouflaged the entries from the surface.
Today, even in some modern houses, there are artificial holes leading to underground passages, most of them used as warehouses.
Yeralti Kaymakli Kenti (Kaymaklı Underground City)
With eight floors and an area of approximately four square kilometers (1.5 square miles), this is one of the largest underground cities of Cappadocia. Visitors can watch only 10 percent of it, down to five floors. It is believed that it could accommodate about 3000 inhabitants and that it was connected with the nearby Derinkuyu. It was opened to the public in 1964.
Kenti Yeralti Derinkuyu (Derinkuyu Underground City)
Derinkuyu Underground City, which means “water well”; like Kaymakli, is one of the largest in Cappadocia. It was inaugurated in 1965. It is 70-85 meters (230-300 feet) deep and has 53 air ducts. The original ventilation system still works very well. This tour is not recommended for visitors who suffer from claustrophobia or restricted movement aversion, as there are many passages where you have to squat.
The first two floors below the surface hosted a missionary school with two long tables in the rock, a baptism place, kitchens, warehouses, rooms, wineries and stables. The third and fourth floors were for tunnels, hideouts and armories and the lower floors had water wells, hidden corridors, a church, graves and a place of confession.