An ancient underground city in Cappadocia, capable of housing thousands, with multiple levels and elaborate subterranean passageways.

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Derinkuyu is an underground super cave city located in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. And when I say super city, I mean super city. It’s believed that the beginnings of Derinkuyu were carved out in the 7th and 8th century BC, but fringe archeologists will tell you it predates the last ice age and was used to protect humans from massive solar flares. You’ll have to see it for yourself to decide what you think! The structure extends approximately 200 feet below ground. Tourists can only visit the first eight levels, but there’s enough there to make for a wild and potentially endless game of hide and seek. You’ll spend nearly ten minutes just descending down a narrow staircase intersected by doorways that were once covered by massive circular stone doors before it opens up into a huge pillared cavern. That’s when the real fun begins. The sheer scale of Derinkuyu is almost unbelievable. It was designed to hold up to 20,000 people and their livestock. You can see where wine was made, where animals were kept, and where refectories stood with long carved out tables and benches. There isn’t a lot of signage here to guide you, but the tour groups tend to move through it pretty quickly. I recommend going on your own and really exploring. You can always eavesdrop on a tour group if you see something especially interesting. Every time you think you’ve seen it all, there’s another hallway or tunnel to explore. And if it’s not blocked off or caved in, it’s fair game. You’ll feel like a real explorer as you climb around and discover Derinkuyu.

cherishbroker 5 years ago

Another one of Cappadocia’s unique features (beyond hot air balloon rides) is its underground cities. The whole region is dotted with them, but at the moment, only a few are open to tourists. These include Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, and Özkonak. These cities are massive interconnected underground superstructures that are unlike any cave structures elsewhere in the world. These caves are each hand-carved and date back approximately 6000 years. In the case of Derinkuyu, it was built to hold up to 20,000 people (plus livestock and goods in case the region’s inhabitants needed a safe place to take refuge in). While exploring, you can go up to eight levels under the ground, with the city sitting just above you. If it’s high tourist season, you’re better off visiting Kaymakli or Özkonak, which are a little bit smaller than Derinkuyu, but also less-crowded and a little more lax in terms of where you can go and what you can explore. If you’re planning on going with a tour, and it’s not a bad idea because there is a lot to be learned with an experienced guide that you can’t glean yourself from looking really closely at the rock, definitely do Derinkuyu. You’ll never forget it and you’ll never see anything like it again.

cherishbroker 5 years ago

Derinkuyu Articles

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