An Ancient Hidden City Found Accidentally – Derinkuyu Underground City

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Derinkuyu_Underground_City
Source – Wikimedia

There are a few things in the world that are far from the understanding of human intelligence. Who created them and why and how they created? Nobody knows or we don’t have precise information.

Like who and why these bronze age hats were created? or Bronze Age Rare Ceremonial Dirks. Why Crafted Only Five? No One Knows.

A few scholars claim a human presence in the arctic region in ancient times. One scholar’s name Balgangadhar Tilak precisely explained this phenomenon in his book “Arctic Home of the Vaeds”.

In the ancient Indian book Rigveda, there were north and south poles six month day, and six month night phenomenon is explained in detail, and the content of this book is at least 3000 years old. However, poles were discovered in the 18th century. So the biggest question is how that much old scripture could contain such information.

In fact, there is an ancient map called the Piri Reis map which shows arctic territory connected to south America. The ice-free coast of Queen Maud Land shown in the map is a colossal puzzle because the geological evidence confirms that the latest date it could have been surveyed and charted in an ice-free condition is 4000 BC.

In the same line, there is one city “Derinkuyu underground city” which is completely underground and was the home of 20000+ residents when active. There are various theories about the creation but the mystery is still unresolved.

Derinkuyu Underground City

Derinkuyu Underground City is an ancient multilevel underground city in the Derinkuyu district in Nevsehir Province, Turkey. The biggest and deepest underground city in the Cappadocia region carved from pliable volcanic ash rock called tuff.

MIT researchers worked with volcanic ash as a concrete additive and substantially reduced building costs.

In addition to hundreds of fairy chimneys steeped in centuries-old journeys in Cappadocia, there are also 36 underground cities, the root of which has descended like a tree. Derinkuyu Underground City is the largest of these cities.

It has all the usual amenities found in other underground complexes across Cappadocia, such as wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, and chapels.

Entrance at Derinkuyu
One of the entrance at Derinkuyu

Discovery

In 1963, the tunnels were rediscovered after a resident of the area found a mysterious room behind a wall in his home. Further digging revealed access to the tunnel network.

A coincidence, Derinkuyu Underground City, which was found in 1963 and opened to visitors in 1967, took its name from 52 drinking water wells at a depth of 60-70 meters.

Since then, only 2.5 square kilometers of 8 floors of the total area of ​​4 square kilometers have been cleaned and opened to visitors. While the depth of 8 floors opened to the visit is 50 meters, it is estimated that if all floors are cleaned, the depth will reach 85 meters and the number of floors will reach 12-13.

Cappadocia Region

Cappadocia Chimney’s – Source wikipedia

The Cappadocia region of Anatolia is rich in volcanic history and sits on a plateau around 3,300 feet (1,000m) tall.

Sedimentary rocks formed in lakes and streams and ignimbrite deposits that erupted from ancient volcanoes approximately 9 to 3 million years ago, underlie the Cappadocia region.

The rocks of Cappadocia eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars and minaret-like forms. People of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia Region carved out houses, churches, and monasteries from the soft rocks of volcanic deposits.

Other Cities Like Derinkuyu in Cappadocia

Nevşehir Province has several other historical underground cities including Kaymaklı Underground City. The locations are now archaeological tourist attractions.

More than 200 underground cities of at least two levels have been discovered in the area between Kayseri and Nevsehir. Some 40 of those include three or more levels.

Features of Derinkuyu Underground City

In the underground city, there is a huge amount of different objects. According to both their size and depending on the purpose. In terms of size, there are quite tiny caverns in which they have placed the tomb.

While there is a huge cavern where it was school or a religious place of social gathering rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, stables for animals, water tanks, caverns collecting for water wells, food storage, wine, separate tombs and burial place, a weapons depot.

Specific Rooms

Unique to the Derinkuyu underground city complex and located on the second floor is a spacious room with a barrel-vaulted ceiling.

It has been reported that this room was used as a religious school and the rooms to the left were studies. Between the third and fourth levels is a vertical staircase. This passageway leads to a cruciform church on the lowest level.

From the 3rd and 4th floors onwards, the descent is by way of vertical staircases which lead to a cruciform plan church on the lowest floor.

The doors are cut in a track. You roll it closed over the entrance then jam it shut with rocks. The door is the size and shape of a millstone. It looks like putting a stick in a sliding door to lock it.

These heavy rocks that closed the corridor prevented the entrance of the enemies. They were 1 to 1.5 meters in height, about 50 centimeters in width, and a weight of up to 500 Kilos.

The understanding is people did not live in the city full time. It was just for refuge from the Romans army when they came through the area.

There were made holes in the tunnels in many places. These were used to tie people up who had gone crazy. After all, anyone with claustrophobia could quickly get out and place the whole community at vast risks.

There was also a morgue to store dead people to prevent disease, and a chapel as well.

Ventilation System

Derinkuyu Underground City Ventilation shaft

In between floors, there are ventilation holes with diameters of approximately 5–10 centimeters, carved into the floor and ceiling of rooms to allow for ventilation and communication.

The main ventilation of the city was also located on the lowest floor. Most of the city was air-conditioned throughout 4 main airshafts and at least 15,000 ventilation ducts provide fresh air into each room of the underground city.

Communication System

These ventilation holes were also acted as communication holes as well. The inhabitants of the underground city were able to communicate without having to walk through long and tiring tunnels and to act quickly and easily in emergency situations.

These thousands of small ventilation shafts which are connected to the 4 big main shafts can easily spread the sound. People in Derinkuyu could easily understand where the sound coming from and which way to reach its source.

Individual Space

The individual living spaces are separated by arches, columns, or walls; however, it was still impossible to have a private space; since there is no private space with airtight boundaries.

Water System

The 55m deep ventilation shaft was also used as a well. Not every floor was provided with water wells up to the surface in order to protect the dwellers from poisoning during raids.

Water well in Derimkuyu

History

Although there is no precise information about its history, it is thought that the underground cities of Cappadocia, which were settled in the Proto Hittite periods in 3000 years ago were used extensively during the Byzantine period.

Built By Hittites?

The Hittites were believed to have used the tunnels to hide from Phrygian draids. There is a historical record that explains the Phrygian overcome of Hittites.

Between the 15th and 13th centuries BCE, the Empire of Hattusa, conventionally called the Hittite Empire, came into conflict with the New Kingdom of Egypt, the Middle Assyrian Empire, and the empire of Mitanni for control of the Near East. The Middle Assyrian Empire eventually emerged as the dominant power and annexed much of the Hittite Empire, while the remainder was sacked by Phrygian newcomers to the region

Wikipedia

Read about the Library of Hattusa – The capital of the Hittite Empire

Build by Phrygian?

An alternative theory explains that the Phrygians first building the tunnels later, between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE. They explain the discovered Hittite artifacts as being remnants from the spoils of war.

Phrygian architects are the finest of the Iron Age and known to have engaged in complex construction projects and inhabited the region for a long time, they are often credited with first creating the underground city at Derinkuyu.

Middle Ages

One of the marble eagle statue, which is located in one of the areas in the city that is not open to visit and dated to the Roman period, also confirms this idea. The arrival of the Turks in the region dates back to the 1071 Battle of Manzikert.

This secret world, which is not easy to enter does not suggest the mysterious architecture “made aliens” to its travelers at the time while protecting the first Christians from Roman soldiers and Arab raiders!

Until the 1830s, there were no settlements above the ground in the Cappadocia Derinkuyu region.

In 1923, Christian residents of the area were expelled from Turkey and taken to Greece in a population exchange between Greece and Turkey. After that these tunnels became abandoned.

Why This City was Built?

It may seem strange that why people would build an entire city underground? After all, we all like to live with fresh air, blue skies, and Mother Nature. This type of construction happened due to the need of the hour, created for survival which is the fundamental instinct of humanity.

Invaders Attacks

The theory of invaders attacks started from Hittites. The Hittites were believed to have used the tunnels to hide from Phrygian raids. There is a historical record that explains the Phrygian overcome of Hittites.

During the Byzantine era, invasions by the Arabs were common. The only way to offer complete protection was to go underground and shut themselves off completely. This could be as long as for six months at a time.

It is believed that while the city may have been started in the 8th to 7th centuries BCE it may have been expanded and enlarged during the Byzantine era.

There is some evidence that suggests this work may have been performed during the 5th and 10th centuries CE. This was a time when the city was used more frequently as a means of taking refuge and for religious purposes.

The presence of churches and other religious buildings also suggested that the complex may have been used for religious purposes.

Only about ten percent of the stronghold has been excavated and so scientists are still learning more about the structure as they go along.

How they Build Such City?

Some of these underground locations were modified or expanded underground caverns and natural geographic features.

Others were made in relatively soft sandstone or other easily fractured rock formations. Yet there were those where the rock was like granite or similar hardness where some mystery of construction still remains.

A few ancient civilizations actually used water to carve out such kind of places. It sounds ludicrous maybe, but it is one powerful “device” or tool if you consider it. The effectiveness of their technique is still under investigation.

Conclusion

It is unlikely that the underground cities were ever intended for permanent dwelling, or even long stays, but they were clearly built to withstand attack and could support large numbers of people and their domestic animals, for extended periods of time. The urban organization was very complex, and there was probably always work in progress.

References

https://web.archive.org/web/20070109200133/http://www.nevsehir.gov.tr/ing_nevsehir_detay.php?id=113

derinkuyu-the-underground-cities-of-cappadocia

Invisible Places 2017: Auditory Exploration of Derinkuyu Underground City Cappadocia Turkey

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/galleries/derinkuyu-turkey-underground-city-in-pictures/well-system/

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DHEERAJ JAIN

Hello, My name is Dheeraj Jain. I am a software engineer by profession and hobbyist historian. I am trying yo write content that has not been explored in the past. More info about me @ https://tathastuu.com/about-me

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