Published On: Sat, Mar 9th, 2024

The world’s biggest underground city that’s a crazy 18 storeys deep | World | News

Deep beneath a vast stretch of Turkey lies one of humankind’s most mesmerising creations: an entire city.

Known as Derinkuyu, it was once a bustling hub of life, an entire ecosystem of human activity filled with families, workers, religious leaders and most likely budding politicians.

It is ancient, and only a stone’s throw away from a town of the same name, and burrows to a depth of around 280 feet.

While some 20,000 people once lived there, today it stands mostly empty apart from a trickle of hardy travellers brave enough to take the guided tours.

Though it may seem like a hard-to-miss place, Derinkuyu went largely unnoticed for hundreds of years until the fateful swing of a man renovating his basement on the surface accidentally uncovered a tunnel leading into the pitch-black labyrinth.

It came in 1963 when the man in the above-ground town of Derinkuyu set out on a bit of home improvement and knocked down some walls only to find a tunnel staring back at him.

On further investigation, he found that it led to yet more tunnels which themselves led to several halls and chambers.

What transpired was a huge underground complex completely abandoned though clearly built with intent.

The experts came in and soon established the extent of the city, finding that it could be closed from the inside with large rolling stone doors, while each floor could also be closed off from within. 

Around 200 similar underground complexes have been found across Cappadocia but none matches Derinkuyu in size and intricacy.

Across its 445 sq km, wine presses have been found, as have oil presses and stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories and chapels.

Something unique to the city came in the form of a huge barrel-vaulted ceilinged room, located on the second floor.

Researchers believe it was used as some sort of religious school, a belief only strengthened by the presence of small breakout rooms that were likely used as classrooms.

It’s not entirely clear at what date each room was built, but it is thought that work first began way back in the 8th to 7th centuries BC.

Back then, the Phrygians, an ancient Indo-European-speaking people who lived in modern-day Turkey and were highly skilled architects, carved the city from soft volcanic rock to create an alternative habitat to the surface.

When they and their language died out during the Roman period, it was replaced by Greek, and the new inhabitants began to expand the caverns ever deeper and began adding things like chapels and Greek inscriptions to the walls.

It wouldn’t be until the Byzantine era that the city was fully formed, and its purpose took on the form of a bolthole to hide from the Arab Muslims.

For a time, Derinkuyu was connected to another nearby underground city, Kaymakli, through five miles of tunnels.

Artefacts found along this stretch of the city date from between the 5th and 10th centuries, correlating with the Middle Byzantine period.

For hundreds of years after this, Christians would use the underground city to escape invading foreign forces, such as when the Ottomans completed their conquest of Turkey.

It was used as a place of escape until at least the 20th century when Cappadocian Greeks and Armenians sought shelter from persecution. Its living story, however, came to a close in 1923 when the Cappadocian Greeks were evacuated, presumably over safety concerns.

Not all of Cappadocia’s subterranean secrets have been fully excavated, though the likes of Derinkuyu are open to the public. By 2016, around 50 percent of the city had become accessible.

Today, you can explore the ancient metropolis for yourself for the small price of £8.

Source link

Verified by MonsterInsights