Everybody has seen the viral images of hot air balloons in the mythical skies of Cappadocia. We have always been so focused up above, we never thought to reach down below. This is one region that never stops giving. First it was the fairy chimneys, then the beauty of Monks Valley and now human beings have unearthed the largest underground cities! In 2013, a housing project inadvertently stumbled into a centuries old hiding place beneath the ground. Things are never what they appear to be!
What is it
Construction workers discovered the entry to a network of rooms and tunnels and there was no going back. The city halted the construction project and began uncovering history. Archeologists took over the site and started tracing a 300-year-old paper trail between the local government and Ottoman officials. A Byzantine-era hilltop castle in Nevşehir had been sitting atop unexplored areas that could be bigger than Derinkuyu. This is the largest excavated underground city in Cappadocia with the capacity for 20,000 people. The world’s largest underground city is 460,000 square meters.
When the people of Cappadocia saw a threat, they knew how to hide. Several underground cities thrive beneath the modern-day Cappadocia. The ones in Nevşehir are the most dramatic. Close to 30 major water tunnels were discovered here which led scientists to discover a breathtaking feet of evidence. Living spaces, kitchens, wineries, chapels, staircases, a whole multilevel settlement was discovered. The underground city appeared to be self-sustaining with air shafts, water tunnels and even ways to produce lamp oil.
These underground cities are a reservoir of all things aesthetic. Artefacts made of grindstones, stone crosses and ceramics nudge us to believe this was the genius of the Byzantine era. There are over 250 safe places under the ground in Cappadocia carved from soft volcanic rock. Tourists are now welcome to take a look down under. It takes 15-20 minute to soak in these subterranean towns going eight levels into the earth, unless you want to take your time with it.
The underground cities of Cappadocia have bumped it up on our travel list 2020. We must cover Turkey as soon as possible because every day we spend without having seen this place is just another day we spent without satiating our wanderlust! Here’s The Ultimate List Of Cheapest International Destinations To Travel To Every Month!