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Massive 5,000-year-old underground city uncovered in Cappadocia, Turkey

Massive 5,000-year-old underground city uncovered in Cappadocia, Turkey

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The region of Cappadocia in central Turkey is home to one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world – deep valleys and soaring rock formations dotted with homes, chapels, tombs, temples and entire subterranean cities harmoniously carved into the natural landforms. Cities, empires and religions have risen and fallen around these unique underground havens, and yet it seems they still hold a few more secrets. Archaeologists in Turkey have uncovered another massive underground city in Cappadocia, consisting of at least 7 kilometers (3.5 miles) of tunnels, hidden churches, and escape galleries dating back around 5,000 years.

Calling it the “biggest archeological finding of 2014”, Hurriyet Daily News announced that 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). 

“Some 1,500 buildings were destructed located in and around the Nevşehir fortress, and the underground city was discovered when the earthmoving to construct new buildings had started,” writes Hurriyet Daily News.

Nevşehir province in Cappadocia, Turkey

Nevşehir province in Cappadocia, Turkey (Wikimedia Commons)

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 living together underground. 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.

A reconstruction of what the Derinkuyu underground city is believed to have looked like

A reconstruction of what the Derinkuyu underground city is believed to have looked like (Wikipedia)

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.

Details regarding the dating of the site and how this was carried out, have not yet been released by those involved. However, researchers have reported retrieving more than forty artifacts from the tunnels so far, so archaeologists may have reached the estimated date of 5,000 years based on those. Numerous other known underground sites in Cappadocia have also been dated to this era.

Despite pouring 90 million Turkish Liras into the urban transformation project so far, the TOKİ has said it will move now move their project to the outskirts of the city so that the newly found city, which is now officially registered with the Cultural and National Heritage Preservation Board, can be investigated and preserved. TOKİ Head Mehmet Ergün Turan told Hurriyet Daily News that they do not view this as a loss considering the importance of the discovery.

“Hasan Ünver, mayor of Nevşehir, said other underground cities in Nevşehir’s various districts do not even amount to the “kitchen” of this new underground city,” reports Hurriyet Daily News.

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. Now a discovery has been made that may overshadow them all.

The incredible cave houses of Cappadocia, Turkey

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

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

By April Holloway



Regarding the city. i have looked at many cities from around the world as well as ancient buildings, and what i see is in common, is that the top of the buildings are all the same. in my mind, what i see from these pictures is just top top section of a giant building structure and that most of this superstructure is underground. from my experience in watching pictures of ancient ruins,i have discovered a repeating pattern of ruins, and that is that their all ruins that have been undergoing flooding. whats underground does not seem to have ever been builth underground as the surrounding terrein suggest that this structure have been under water for some time. its likely that all of this was once above ground and that this city was gigantic in size. it seem to be the same kind of mudrock on these buildings as it is on many other such structures around the world. from my perspective, we are only looking at the top of the superstructure and that most of the giant city is burried underground. it will take a massive effort to excavate the city and get down to the bottom of this structure. based on how the wall in these buildings are made, i think its likely that the above and underground structure is not carved structures but that this superstructure is all made from bottom up and that the ground floor or rock bottom, may be hundreds of meter deep. much of what have been believed to be natural rock, under a process of flooding can transform mud into solid rock. most types of rock can be formed as a result of different compositions of mud hardening into rock, and it all depends on the content of the mud to what type and strenght the rock will form from. i think that rock formation need a reinvestigation since the types of rock found in ruins like these are much of the same quality as rock found elsewhere and perhaps the theory of rock formation need an uppgrade.

There had been ancient nuclear wars. eg: the radioactive cities of India. This underground city was probably built in preparation for a nuclear war in the ancient past.

Maybe they just liked to live that way.

It’s okay that you’re ignorant about the ancient world.  There were no slaves at this time, not for thousands and thousands of years until the bronze age when men took over the world.  It’s fine that you don’t know anything, but please, just preface your ignorant comments with “Maybe”.  Instead of pretending you know when you’re just making shit up.

It was housing for massive slave populations, people who were controlled like farm animals.
Slaves were kept like ants, or bees, they were labor stock, and weren't allowed to experience the world.


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April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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