Derinkuyu : Ancient Underground City

Written By Tripzibit on Dec 7, 2009 | 08:34

In 1963 in Cappadocia, Turkey, a man working on a wall in his basement made an astonishing discovery. Behind the wall was a mysterious room he had never seen. This strange room led to another one … then that one led to another musty room … then another one. By chance, he had stumbled upon the ancient underground city of Derinkuyu. As archaeologists studied this fascinating labyrinth, they realized it was only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, they discovered the complex had a total of 11 floors, reaching over 300’ below the surface! It was opened for visitors as of 1969 and to date, only ten percent of the underground city is accessible for tourists. Its eight floors extend at a depth of approximately 85 m. Derinkuyu is notable for its large multi-level underground city, which is a major tourist attraction.
The historical region of Cappadocia, where Derinkuyu is situated, contains several historical underground cities, carved out of a unique geological formation, and were largely used by early Christians as hiding places. Derinkuyu is a town and district of Nevşehir Province in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. According to 2000 census, population of the district is 24,631 of which 11,092 live in the town of Derinkuyu. The district covers an area of 445 km2 (172 sq mi), and the average elevation is 1,300 m (4,265 ft), with the highest point being Mt. Ertaş at 1,988 m (6,522 ft).

An Underground Tunnel in Derinkuyu

First built in the soft volcanic rock of the Cappadocia region by the Phrygians in the 8th–7th centuries B.C according to the Turkish Department of Culture, the underground city at Derinkuyu was enlarged in the Byzantine era. The underground city of Derinkuyu was the hiding place for the first Christians who were escaping from the persecution of the Roman empire. Everything discovered in these underground settlements belongs to the Middle Byzantine Period, between the 5th and the 10th centuries A.D. The number of underground settlements, generally used for taking refuge and for religious purposes, increased during this era. It was a kind of underground tenement, with several levels and corridors 10 feet wide and 6.5 feet high. Three strategically important doorways could be sealed by rolling huge 1,000-pound stones into position. Doorways could be 'locked' from the inside, preventing the entrance of their enemies.

Heavy Stone Door

It seemed that the builders of these high-ceilinged rooms were, for that time, exceptionally tall, and it was completely invisible from the ground above. Derinkuyu’s underground complex had all the conveniences of a town — presses for wine and oil, stables for animals, storage rooms, a school with a vaulted ceiling, chapels, and kitchens that are still blackened by the soot of cooking fires. The city was irrigated by an underground river, which supplied numerous water wells. The metropolis was dimly lit by oil lamps resting on hundreds of shelves chiseled into the walls. Fresh air was provided by 1,500 ventilation shafts and a magnificent exhaust fan that still astonishes present-day engineers. It is believed the massive honeycomb of rooms was big enough to hold a population of up to 30,000 people!

A Chapel in Derinkuyu

Collins Wilson, the author of The Atlantis Blueprint, says "there is geological evidence that Turkey was plunged into a mini-ice age for about 500 years in the middle of the ninth millennium B.C. This made more sense. If the landscape was covered with snow and ice and scoured by freezing winds, an underground city would be as comfortable as a Hobbit hole." Of course, food & supplies are still an issue. The local archaeologist, Omer Demir, told Collins that he believed that the oldest parts of the 'city' dated to the late Palaeolithic Era, perhaps 8,500 B.C. Older parts were hewn out with stone tools, not metal. Moreover, it had been made by two types of human being, and those who carved the oldest part were much taller the the others - again, they had made their ceilings higher.

It is believed the first levels of the city were dug into the soft stone by the Hittites around 1400 BC. The individual chambers are connected by hundreds of corridors. Amazingly, this subterranean city was connected with other underground cities in Cappadocia through miles of long tunnels. Between the third and fourth levels is a vertical staircase. This passage way leads to a cruciform church on the lowest level. The large 55 m ventilation shaft appears to have been used as a well. The shaft also provided water to both the villagers above and, if the outside world was not accessible, to those in hiding.

(Sources : http://www.amazingfacts.org; http://www.xpeditionsmagazine.com/magazine/articles/turkey/turkey.html; Wikipedia)

(Pics sources : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Derinkuyu_Underground_City.JPG;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Puerta_derinkuyu.jpg;
http://chopsueyblog.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/derinkuyu.jpg;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HalukOzozluWwwSihirliturComDerinkuyu1.jp)


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7 komentar:

the international times said...

wow, really an interesting finding. seen from this diagram image was an architect of the complex, we did not think that at times it has developed a highly technical architect. what about the architects today?. Was able to match the earlier times?.

tripzibit said...

(@the international times) Yup, this is really interesting. I mean, how people in ancient times have such a magnificent skill of architecture. And this hidden city still in good shape, eventhough some level still restricted from tourists.

Well, i think it can't be compare with architecture these day

Rob said...

That is very amazing: not just the time put into this, but that something like this was forgotten in time for so long.

Opung said...

It's so amazing and nice article. Keep it up.

Magpie said...

I would love to visit this place.

Jon said...

I know how this is going to sound.... but could this so-called mini-ice age have been caused by nuclear fallout? There are an awful lot of stories from myriad ancient cultures around the world which speak of a war between the gods, and the descriptions of these battles (particularly in hindu and sumerian texts) seem to me to be indicating atomic weapons. The timetable adds up too, and the hittites are decended (culturally) from the sumerians, some of these caves even bear engravings of Enki in his winged chariot. Any more info would be much appreciated

Jeffrey Herbert said...

Ancient aliens helped them build it to hide them from being seen.