Derinkuyu, an Ancient Multi-Level Underground City

Derinkuyu, An Ancient Multi-Level Underground City

Derinkuyu is a captivating ancient underground city in Cappadocia, Turkey, renowned for its unique fairy chimneys and cave dwellings.

Although its exact origins remain mysterious, it is believed that Derinkuyu was carved out of the soft volcanic rock, tuff, during the Byzantine period, spanning from the 5th to the 15th century.

This subterranean wonder, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reveals a captivating chapter in human history.

Read also: Maymand, the Ancient Village with Rock-Carved Homes


Area with Underground Architecture in Derinkuyu

Derinkuyu spans approximately 1.5 square miles, accommodating up to 20,000 people.

Extending several stories below the earth’s surface, it ranks among Cappadocia’s largest underground cities.

The remarkable aspect lies in its complex underground architecture, with about 18 stories reaching depths of up to 280 feet.

It’s designed with narrow corridors, chambers, wells, and ventilation shafts.

The Ventilation System with Constant Fresh Air Flow

Derinkuyu’s ventilation system is a standout feature. It includes a network of air shafts and vents for fresh air supply and expelling stale air.

These systems ingeniously prevent the accumulation of harmful gases, ensuring a safe environment for prolonged habitation.

The Function and Layout of Derinkuyu

The intricate layout suggests it served multiple functions, such as living quarters, storage rooms, kitchens, wineries, and places of worship.

Additionally, the city also featured an extensive network of tunnels and passages for escape routes and access to fresh water sources.

Consequently, Derinkuyu’s design ensured residents’ survival and well-being over time.

Read also: Vorkuta, the Almost Abandoned Coal Mining Town

The History, Mystery, and Discovery

Derinkuyu’s existence remained a secret since the Hittite period (around 1200 BC).

Subsequent civilizations, including the Phrygians, Persians, Byzantines, and early Christians, expanded and enriched its history.

Furthermore, another discovery was found in the 1960, where a local resident stumbled upon a hidden entrance while renovating his home.

The Turkish government then conducted extensive excavation and restoration efforts to reveal this subterranean treasure to the world.


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