In the Cappadocia region of Turkey there is a town called Derinkuyu; and beneath Derinkuyu there is a city, vast and deep, of ancient design, preserved to this day. The mystery of who built it and why remains, although scholars have their theories.
The region of Cappadocia is well known around the world for its vast labyrinths of underground cities. Above ground, the region is equally impressive. The landscape is peppered with ancient volcanic stone chimneys, known as “fairy chimneys.” Over the years, as civilizations and peoples have come and gone, the varying cultures carved intricate structures into and out of these chimneys making for very unique and impressive architecture.
“Although the area has been extensively used and modified by man for centuries, the resulting landscape is one of harmony and consideration of the intrinsic values of the natural landforms,” according to the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) webpage on the “Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia.”
The underground cities of Cappadocia number about 200 and are spread across the entire region. It’s possible there could be more lying below the surface, waiting to be discovered.
Of all the underground cities discovered so far, the most awe-inspiring is perhaps the Derinkuyu underground city. It was discovered by accident in 1963, when a local family was renovating a house and a wall gave way to reveal a room and passage that led to this underground network.
Size and Structure of the Derinkuyu Underground City
It is eight levels, descending about 280 feet, with an area of a little over 4 miles squared (6.5 kilometers squared).
It includes chambers for various daily activities, including temples, tombs, shops, living quarters, and even livestock pens. It has 15,000 air shafts, and enough room to comfortably hold approximately 20,000 people.
Additionally, the underground city has extending passages that connect it to other local underground networks, as well as wineries, underground water well systems providing fresh water, and a security system consisting of gigantic rolling stone doors that could seal the city from the inside. Moreover, each level could be sealed off from the next level using the same system.
The structure is carved into the underground rock and is strong enough after countless years to safely accommodate guests, such as archaeologists and tourists. Although the stone is relatively soft, there has been no evidence of any cave-ins throughout the site, suggesting that whoever built the network had an advanced knowledge of the stone, stonework, architecture, engineering, and the local geography.
But, who exactly did built this city and why?
Was it Ancient Christians? A Prehistoric King Protecting His People From Disaster?
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