In 1963, a man from Nevşehir Province in the region of Cappadocia was making improvements to his home when he made an incredible discovery.
Upon knocking down a wall of his home, he discovered a mysterious room behind it and soon discovered an intricate tunnel system with additional cave-like rooms.
What he had discovered was the ancient Derinkuyu, a completely hidden underground city in Turkey. Photos of the preserved city reveal how 20,000 people including livestock and entire food supplies could have lived 18 storeys beneath the earth – the deepest underground city in the world.
Thought to have been created during the Byzantine era in 780-1180AD, it had access to fresh flowing water.
The wells were not connected with the surface to prevent poisoning by crafty land dwellers.
It also has network of kitchens, stables, churches, individual quarters, shops, communal rooms, tombs, arsenals, livestock, and escape routes. There’s even a school, complete with a study room.
During this time, cave-like chapels and Greek inscriptions were added to the ancient city, and about 600 entrances allowed people to come and go.
Heavy stone doors could close Derinkuyu from the inside in order to fend off intruders, and each storey could be shut off individually.
The city was most likely used as a giant bunker to protect its inhabitants from the Arab–Byzantine wars or natural disasters.
Amazingly, Derinkuyu isn’t the only one of its kind. The hidden community is connected to other subterranean cities by tunnels stretching several miles.
Only about half of Derinkuyu is accessible, but the site has proved to be a popular tourist attraction.
The historical region in Central Anatolia also attracts visitors with its incredible geological, historic, and cultural features, including rock formations and spires known as ‘fairy chimneys’.
Based on research, the very elaborate underground city was connected via stairways and passages, and even connected to other underground cities through tunnels that stretched for miles.