A Cappadocian resident decided to renovate his house. On that occasion, he demolished the wall of his cellar and discovered a passage that led to a huge underground city called Derinkuyu named after the district in the Nevşehir Province, Turkey. Each year, since the discovery of the underground city in 1963, new fascinating facts and new, unknown passages have been discovered. It is believed that building of this miraculous city of Derinkuyu started sometime between 8th and 7th century BC. The people who are said to be the builder of this city are Phrygians, an Indo-European nation. During the reign of the Persian Empire, the city was used for refugees, and later as shelter from war and heat, as well as from cold winter weather.
After the Phrygians, the city was used by the Cappadocian Greeks. With the spread of Christianity, Derinkuyu got chapels and inscriptions written in Greek and, throughout its long history, it was constantly expanding. Its full glow was during the Byzantine period when it often served as a protection against the attack of the Muslim Arabs until the 12th century. During the Mongols’ invasion in the 14th led by Mongolian khan Timur, the underground city once again saved the inhabitants of Cappadocia. When Cappadocia came under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, the Cappadocian Greeks occasionally used the underground city as a refuge from Turkish persecutions. The secrets of the underground passages were known to the Cappadocian Greeks and even in the 20th century, they sheltered there after the Turks executed the massacre at Adana in 1909. When the Christians were expelled from Cappadocia in 1923, there was an exchange of population between Greece and Turkey, tunnels and secrets passages are abandoned and during 40 years completely fell into oblivion.
The city of Derinkuyu represents the images of an extraordinary architecture. It is constructed in the way that through it flows drinking water, has a series of ventilation systems, individual living spaces, shops, wells, armory, and even cemeteries. The city also had a school and parts for animals. It is important to note that all the ventilation tunnels were not connected to the water source because they wanted to prevent poisoning the water if any conqueror would try. Derinkuyu consists of 18 floors, reaches a depth of 85 meters below the surface and thousands of residents lived there at the same time. Thanks to the excellent planning and construction of the underground city, its inhabitants could spend a long time there without having any problems. The underground city provided immense security to its inhabitants. Narrow tunnels of Derinkuyu were designed to weaken the attacker, as the very small number of people was required to defend it. At the entrance to the city, there was a huge round door that was sealed from inside and each floor had its own special door. In the surrounding of this city, a large number of underground cities have been discovered, and Derinkuyu is probably the largest. Underground tunnels are connected to four underground cities and these tunnels have been miles long.
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