Posted in History, Travel

Back in Time: Turkey’s Underground City

Picture of an opening to the underground city in Nevsehir
A above-ground view of the network of safe rooms and tunnels. Photo by Murat Kaya, Anadolu Agency/Getty via National Geographic.

So we learned a little about Turkey above ground, but a recent discovery has shown that the country may have just as much to share about its underground goings-on. Archaeologists have begun investigation of an underground hideout in the city of Nevşehir, Turkey in the region of Cappadocia. Undiscovered for centuries, a housing project in the area accidentally unearthed the findings when workers discovered a network of rooms and tunnels.

The 250 subterranean “rooms” are estimated to have the holding capacity for at least 20,000 people. The size is estimated to be at five million square feet. During times of war or other external threats, people would retreat to these safe houses with their livestock and necessary supplies, and seal the doors until the threat had subsided.

Picture of the underground city in Nevsehir Turkey
The underground safe houses are in central Turkey. Photo by Murat Kaya, Anadolu Agency/Getty via National Geographic.

The area was constructed such that air shafts and water channels were included, so staying underground for long periods would not be an issue. It was used during the Byzantine era up until the Ottoman period, signifying both impressive sustainability and durability aspects to the construction.

Archaeologists have reported finding over 30 water tunnels in the region, which in turn led to the discovery of underground complexes consisting of kitchens, living spaces, staircases and more, all lit by lamp oil which was also produced underground. The areas were carved of tuff, a light, porous rock composed of volcanic ash.

I should note that other underground cities also exist in Cappadocia, but this one in particular ranks as one of the largest. For a video tour inside the site, click here.

Needless to say, the housing project that was planned for the area has been moved elsewhere.

We have learned so much about Earth, history, geography, and our predecessors through science and technology, but it’s astounding that there is so much to learn and discover. Kinda makes you wanna just go out there and explore.

It does, doesn’t it?

Stay inspired,

C x N

Source: National Geographic


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