Ancient underground city in Anatolia

The ancient underground city discovered beneath a house in Anatolia

(Read the article on one page)

In 2014, a home owner living in the Melikgazi district of Kayseri province in Anatolia made a surprising discovery while clearing out an area under his house – a subterranean city, of which 4,000 square metres have been excavated so far, according to a report in Hurriyet Daily News . The region of Anatolia in Turkey is famous for its underground cities, particularly in the region of Cappadocia where more than 40 complete underground cities and 200 underground villages and tunnel towns complete with hidden passages, secret rooms, and ancient temples have been found.

Mustafa Bozdemir, 50, was bequeathed a house in Melikgazi five years ago and decided to carry out restoration work. He explained that what he thought was a single-storey house, turned out to have multiple levels of ancient rooms beneath it. “We also found some remains during the cleaning works such as human bones. They were examined by a team from Erciyes University,” said Bozdemir. 

Nuvit Bayar, the Project Director of Guntas, the company responsible for the restoration, described the discovery to Zaman Online :

"We thought that there might be storage space for food or a stable beneath the house. But had no idea that it was part of an underground city. The underground city that we found by accident during restoration begins a few meters under the ground and has two levels. There are parts resembling underground remains of settlements in Cappadocia. Wonderful structures emerged everywhere, like an iron workshop and a loft.

The newly-discovered underground structure in Melikgazi

The newly-discovered underground structure in Melikgazi has been compared to Cappadocia (pictured) where hundreds of subterranean structures have been found. Photo credit: Wikimedia.

Bozdemir immediately notified the Kayseri Governor’s Office and the Culture and Tourism Directorate, who examined the site and gave permission to continue excavations to completely unearth the underground city. They have also contributed the equivalent of $420,000 towards the restoration.

“We think that the underground city was active in the Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk eras and other stone buildings there were built in the Ottoman and Republican periods," the local mayor Mehmet Osmanbasoglu told Zaman Online .

More than a hundred truck-loads of soil were removed from the underground structure, revealing multiple rooms across several levels. It is believed that around eighty percent of the subterranean city has been uncovered so far. Osmanbasoglu said he hopes excavations will find the underground city is linked with the neighbouring towns of Turan, Gesi and Zincidere.

The region of Anatolia in Turkey is known to have the most spectacular underground networks in the world. One of the most magnificent subterranean cities is Derinkuyu, which is eleven levels deep, has 600 entrances, consists of many miles of tunnels connecting it to other underground cities, and can accommodate thousands of people. It is truly an underground city, with areas for sleeping, stables for livestock, wells, water tanks, pits for cooking, ventilation shafts, communal rooms, bathrooms, and tombs.

A visual depiction of Derinkuyu in Anatolia

A visual depiction of Derinkuyu in Anatolia, Turkey. Photo credit: Wikimedia

While the latest discovery in Melikgazi is unlikely to be as spectacular as Derinkuyu, it is nevertheless an extremely significant finding, demonstrating that the underground world of Anatolia has not yet given up all its secrets.

Featured image: A section of the underground city found under a home in Melikgazi district, Anatolia. Credit: DHA photo

By April Holloway


johnblack's picture

Impressive! Lucky man ...

What was the problem above ground that inspired this under ground dwelling?

Looking at all of the empires which have controlled that piece of ground, the population's motive for moving underground may have been defense from invaders.

Looking at all of the empires which have controlled that piece of ground, the population's motive for moving underground may have been defense from invaders.

avoiding mass extinction


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.

Myths & Legends

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