I guess when you’re renovating your home, you expect to run into a few issues here and there, but never an underground city. Yup — that’s exactly what happened to one man in Turkey.
He was knocking down a basement wall and found tunnel entrances into Derinkuyu, an underground city carved into stone below Cappadocia.
The city at Derinkuyu was fully formed during the Byzantine era, when it was heavily used as protection from Muslim Arabs during the Arab–Byzantine wars from 780-1180. The city was connected with other underground cities through miles of tunnels.
It features vents to the surface and several discreet entrances like the tunnel found behind the wall
These hidden entrances suggest that the city was built as a precaution in order to shelter the population in times of war or natural disaster. It was designed to support people for a long time, hence the Derinkuyu winery.
The tunnels were rediscovered in 1963, after a resident of the area found a room behind a wall in his basement. After heavy digging, it revealed access to this incredible tunnel network of Derinkuyu, an ancient city nearly 200 feet beneath the ground.
It had 18 levels, and included residences, churches, food storage, wineries, and even a school. It was designed to house some 20,000 people as well as a number of livestock. This is an illustration of an underground city like Derinkuyu. You’ll notice the churches at the bottom levels. These levels were used to protect Christians in times of persecution.
One of several massive stone doors that blocked off entrances and each floor could be closed off separately
The city would have been completely forgotten had it not been for one man’s home renovation. It was reopened in 1969 for tourists
Just recently there has been another discovery in the exact same area with even more undiscovered tunnels… amazingly it was also found by accident, when workers were removing rubble from a torn down structure and found a labyrinth of tunnels.
What a terrifying thought to have to hide in such tunnels. Either way, it is fascinating to know that these places actually exist. You may also want to check out what happens when Researchers Poured 10 Tons Of Cement Into This Ant Metropolis.