The fascinating story behind the ancient underground city Derinkuyu

Some people store wine bottles in their basement or even heirlooms from their grandma and grandpa. But in Turkey, a man discovered an entire city without even realizing it. It was discovered in 1963 in Derinkuyu in the Nevşehir province, also known as Cappadocia. As the old house was being renovated, the construction workers ripped down a wall in the basement. They unearthed a room that no one in the house knew of. When the workers climbed inside, they discovered not just a room, but an entire city!

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The underground city Derinkuyu was discovered for the first time underneath this house. Since then, 8 levels of the entire complex have been unearthed. The upper most levels are mostly living areas, but every city offers more than just that: a wine press, a monastery, and a church were also found.


Even pets were held underground. So that man and his animals did not die from a lack of oxygen, a complex ventilation system was constructed. Archaeologists assume that as many as 20,000 people could have lived in the space. They believe they have only discovered a fourth of the original complex.

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Experts suppose that over 50 such cities exist in Cappadocia. Derinkuyu is even connected with one of them: the neighboring subterranean city of Kaymakli is connected by a 5 mile long  tunnel.


One of the many theories for Derinkuyu’s existence is that the underground city served as a sanctuary during the persecution of Christians under the Ottomans. Heavy stone doors that can be rolled down causeways appear to confirm this assumption.

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Other archaeologists argue, however, that Derinkuyu is much older and was built almost 4,000 years ago by the Hittites.

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In the meantime, Derinkuyu has become a popular tourist attraction.

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The origin of this subterranean city will most likely never be completely settled. Nevertheless, it is a pure feat of human ingenuity and craftsmanship. If this unbelievable and seemingly mythological secret city that laid buried for centuries has also astonished you then share this discovery with everyone that you know.


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