Derinkuyu underground city in Cappadocia, Turkey.

First Known Ancient Underground City in Turkey used for Permanent Living Will Rewrite History

(Read the article on one page)

In December last year, an ancient subterranean city was discovered in Cappadocia, Turkey, consisting of at least 7 kilometers (3.5 miles) of tunnels, hidden churches, and escape galleries dating back around 5,000 years. Archaeologists hailed it as the “biggest archaeological finding in 2014” in Turkey. Now, following extensive excavations, the mayor in the Central Anatolian Nevşehir province has announced that it is the first known underground city in which people lived permanently.

Through the ages, the Hittites, Persians, Alexander the Great, Rome, The Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Turkey have all governed the spectacular region of Cappadocia in Central Anatolia. One hundred square miles with more than 200 underground villages and tunnel towns complete with hidden passages, secret rooms and ancient temples and a remarkably storied history of each new civilization building on the work of the last, make Cappadocia one of the world's most striking and largest cave-dwelling regions of the world. Cities, empires and religions have risen and fallen around these unique underground havens, and yet it seems they still hold a few more secrets. The mayor of the region has announced that the recently discovered ancient subterranean world may “rewrite the history of the city.”

The incredible cave houses of Cappadocia, Turkey.

The incredible cave houses of Cappadocia, Turkey. Source: BigStockPhoto

The ancient city was found beneath Nevşehir fortress and the surrounding area, during an urban transformation project carried out by Turkey’s Housing Development Administration (TOKİ).

Nevşehir province is already famous for its incredible subterranean city at Derinkuyu (pictured in featured image), which was once home to as many as 20,000 residents. It is eleven levels deep and has 600 entrances and many miles of tunnels connecting it to other underground cities.  It incorporates areas for sleeping, stables for livestock, wells, water tanks, pits for cooking, ventilation shafts, communal rooms, bathrooms, and tombs.

Nevşehir province in Cappadocia, Turkey

Nevşehir province in Cappadocia, Turkey ( Wikimedia Commons )

Unlike other underground cities found throughout the region of Cappadocia, which were mostly used for temporary protection, Hurriyet Daily News reports that evidence has been found that ancient peoples were living there on a permanent basis, and that the subterranean passages and spaces are different to any other underground city found in the world.

“We have reached significant discoveries; new long tunnels and spaces where people lived all together. Places where linseed oil was produced, chapels and tunnels combining various living spaces in the underground city were found,” said Hasan Ünver, the mayor of Nevşehir. “This is a real underground city where they resided permanently and not like other underground cities where they had lived temporarily. We are definite that we will also reach very important information and discoveries regarding world history,” Ünver added [via Hurriyet Daily News].

An excavated section of the recently discovered underground city in Turkey, showing evidence of permanent habitation.

An excavated section of the recently discovered underground city in Turkey, showing evidence of permanent habitation. Credit: Anadolu Agency.

It is hard to imagine anything surpassing the Derinkuyu underground city in both size and scope, but archaeologists are saying they have reason to believe the newly discovered subterranean city will be the largest out of all the other underground cities in Nevşehir and may even be the largest underground city in the world.

The mayor has said that they are planning to open the first part of the excavated underground city in 2017.

Featured image: Derinkuyu underground city in Cappadocia, Turkey. Source: BigStockPhoto

By: April Holloway

Comments

SJDF's picture

I find these fasanating, but the question of “how” and more importenly “why” were thay made? 

And maybe think about living in those caves, Turks!

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Ancient Technology

The four-handled tureen adorned with dragons, birds and spikes
Chinese archaeologists have discovered ritual tureen and “soup bowls” next to a badly decomposed body in a Zhou dynasty-era tomb. Among the remains there were also uncovered two wine vessels, which experts suggest were probably used as part of the funerary rituals.

Ancient Places

Illustration of the "Emmons mask", a Mississippian culture carved cedarwood human face shaped object once covered in copper and painted with galena and used as part of a headdress
The City of Moundsville is located along the Ohio River in Marshall County, West Virginia. From the time of European settlement in the 1770s, Moundsville was regarded by antiquarians as one of the most significant ancient sites in North America. For it was here that the Adena mound builders and their descendants constructed the largest ceremonial center in the Upper Ohio Valley

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article