What looked like any regular weekend “Do it yourself project” soon turned into an adventure of a lifetime. This Turkish man had never even dreamt in life the great discovery he was about to make, that to right in his backyard. Life really is full of surprises and this story is the proof.
Just a Small Town Man
In a very remote part of Turkey, this man lived a happy life in a tiny village. Though there weren’t many challenges to living in this part of the world, This particular family was dealing with the problem of cramped living conditions. Since he couldn’t afford to employ skilled labors to expand his house, he was forced to take the matters into his own hands.
It All Started With A Tunnel
He started the working on the house by first chipping away the outer layers, but as he was digging in, he noticed something bizarre. The hole he was working on kept getting bigger and bigger, to the point that an opening started to peak through the hole. He thought to himself that it was rather strange since there wasn’t supposed to be anything here. But upon further investigation, he uncovered something so big that no one in the whole town could have fathomed.
Into The Darkness He Went
Once this mysterious chamber had been stretched by the pickaxe to accommodate a person, equipped with a mere flashlight, he decided to journey inside. Upon stepping into this chasm he noticed that he was inside a structure which very closely resembled a cave, with the slope leading him to the direction of gravity. There he found a doorway, beyond which the answer to this mystery awaited him.
Fear of the Unknown
Turkey is known to be the home of a huge variety venomous serpents and other creepy crawlies. One needs to look out for scorpions and spiders as much as they need to be wary of snakes in this region. So understandably this man was quite concerned as he ventured deeper into this cave. There was no telling when something would jump him and so his every step was placed with caution and slowly. The all-encompassing darkness added to his difficulties as well.
As this Turkish native walked deeper and deeper inside of this cave. He started to notice that there were outlines of something that looked to be made by man, some of which even resembled stairs. Had this man uncovered a tomb? Was a mummy waiting for him inside? At first, he was completely confused and couldn’t understand what it was, but soon all his questions were answered.
Definitely Not Natural
Now it was quite obvious to this man that he was inside no ordinary cave. He discovered what looked like a room that someone had carved out of the soil and noticed that they were spread around the entire cave network. He had clearly stumbled across something big and it looked like this place hasn’t had any visitors since a few decades now, maybe centuries. He was sure that this was a precious archeological discovery. But little did he know he was right in more way than he could have imagined.
What Had He Discovered?
There lied a doorway at the opposite end of this etched out room, and that door led him to another, an even larger section of this cave system where it was branching off into several other corridors and stairs. But the origins and purpose of this place was still a mystery. It was as if this man had discovered Narnia in his closet. But he was determined to find answers to his questions.
Seeking the Professionals
His confusion was eating away at him. He had no clue how to process this information and what to make of this bizarre discovery that he had come across in his backyard. Soon he realized that this underground world was more than just a labyrinth of underground caves. And so he called up the Turkish Antiques Authority and asked them for help.
The Lost City
Even the officials from the TAA, who entered this cavern were bewildered by the sheer magnitude of this discovery. It was like they had entered a magical labyrinth. But with them, they brought some serious technical equipment capable of extensive research. From what they had seen so far, they felt confident that this was the ancient city of Derinkuyu. A city which posses a rich culture and past.
Amongst numerous other uses for a city like this, one of the most use that stood out of all the others was that a place like this provided its residents’ unparalleled protection from the wrath of both nature and their mortal enemies. Since the corridors of this place were very narrow, it allowed only one person to enter at a time, which made it almost impenetrable by any invading forces. But there was more to it.
They Could Seal Off Entryways
The engineers who had designed these caves had strategically placed humongous boulders on the side of every passageway. The purpose of these boulders was to block off an entire area in the event of an invasion. Also, they were clever enough to plan for an event of a fire as the entire lower levels were available to flee to in case a fire broke out in this underground city.
Stop Who Goes There?
These hulking stones could easily be used to close off the entrance of Derinkuyu in the event of an invasion, not only the main entrance but individual entrances as well could be easily shut off with the help of these rocks. It is truly remarkable how they have used the stones to carve them into utensils and other tools.
Another impressive feat of engineering the maker of the city of Darinkuyu managed to achieve was to have a self-sufficient water system. They had built vast wells that ran deep inside these caves and provided the city with fresh water. On top of having such remarkable system, they made sure that it wasn’t easily accessible to the people present on the land. There was still a ton of amazing stuffing hiding in this forgotten city.
The people responsible for engineering and planning this city appeared to be extremely forward thinking. From the surface, one would have to look very carefully and thoroughly in order to locate the vents that were responsible for air ventilation in this place. On top of being very well hidden they were also made small enough that no human could crawl through them.
It was from the surface that cool air was allowed to enter inside all of the 18 levels of this city. We have discussed things getting in but what about getting out, if you wanted to get inside this city, you don’t need to worry, there were plenty of ways you could do that…. Given you could find them. A man in an interview claimed, “I cannot believe what was sitting under my house all this time, and how clever all these details are”.
Tiny Hidden Entrances
This man was responsible for discovering that if you want to enter this labyrinthian city, you would have to know about the exact location of the secret entrance that allowed a way into this maze-like domain. And mind you finding this entryway was no easy feat. Since the day this city was discovered, over 100 of these tiny, animal sized holes have been discovered. But what was the purpose of a bizarre city like this?
Its Fascinating History
Back in the Byzantine era, it was a well-known fact that people who placed their faith in Christianity were victims of numerous raids orchestrated by Muslim Arab nations. To provide themselves a place to freely practice their faith and have a safe haven for their families. Having to rely upon and maintain a stock for everything and a changing their way of life to suit that of an underground city was indeed a huge problem.
Life Carried On As Usual
In the beginning, adjusting to a life in an underground would have been undoubtedly challenging, the residents of Derikuyu soon gained an equilibrium with their new surroundings. After all certain doom waited for them on the other side of these doors. Fortunately, they had planned for everything.
Used During Multiple Eras
The Christians of Byzantine weren’t the only people who took residence in this underground world. It also saw heavy usage during the 14th century as people re-populated these caves for the unparallel protection they provided from Mongolian invaders. All the religious objects were kept inside of the rooms safely to protect them from being looted by the invaders.
Since even the concept of electricity did not exist at that time, torches were the only source of light inside of these meandering tunnels. This hypothesis was given proven to be a fact that to all the charred and blackened ceilings which were found throughout the length of this city. But did you know this city wasn’t one if its kind?
Derinkuyu is Connected to Other Networks
Citizens of Derinkuyu weren’t the only people who looked for protection against people who sought to cause them harm. There have been plenty of other tunnels and undergrounds networks that have been discovered since that connect to Derinkuyu. These tunnels led the researchers to neighboring cities but they only had at most 3 levels. In the events of the city being overrun by invaders, there were still plenty of tunnels for the 20,000 residents of Derinkuyu to run to.
Here we have the amazing illustration of a different underground city, but this provides a good idea of how Derinkuyu would have looked like. It was during the time of Christian Persecution that cities like Derinkuyu saw the most usage. And this is the reason why all the religious items would be stored to the very lowest level of the whole structure.
School Took Place
This humongous room along with the vaulted ceiling must have been used as a religious school. It is theorized since the entire city of Derinkuyu was populated by Christians only from the beginning of the middles ages until the early 20th century. Even in those troubled times, the residents of Derinkuyu understood the importance of Education.
Who Built It?
While this question doesn’t necessarily have a definite answer. The archeologists who have been working in on this discovery have come to the conclusion that it was most likely the work of the Phrygians who walked the earth all the way back in the eight century or maybe even seventh century B.C. This is, in fact, the biggest underground city found in the country of Turkey and the man living on top of it still in disbelief that something like this lied sleeping beneath his feet or so long.
Crazy Conspiracy Theories
While there is some explanation there are people who have come up with their own explanation for the existence of such a bizarre city. There are some theorists who claim that was indeed built for protection but not from the Arabs or Mongols but from aliens!
The Man’s Identity Is Still Unknown
The man who originally discovered this marvelous underground city, till this day is unknown. All that is known of this person is that it was sheer luck with which he stumbled across this impressive archeological site and one of a lifetime discovery. All because he wanted to expand his house on his own.
Worth A Visit
In the far away regions of Cappadocia is where you will find this underground marvel. Since it’s discovery it has become a tourist hotspot. The city of Cappadocia is indeed a geological wonder, populated with countless Honeycombed hills ,cloud-kissing mountains that makes this place like it was pulled out of a fantasy story. Numerous tribes have been known to have lived in the underground shelters here.
Food For Thought
To think that the discovery of this mind-boggling underground city was possible only because a random person decided to expand his house is almost unbelievable. It truly goes to show how most amazing things happen to people who are the last ones to expect it. There is so much wisdom buried inside of these long forgotten city that begs to be known.
So What Now?
“This new discovery will be added as a new pearl, a new diamond, a new gold” to Cappadocia’s riches” stated Ünver, the mayor, who wants to build “the world’s largest antique park, with boutique hotels and art galleries aboveground, and walking trails and a museum below.” “We even plan to reopen the underground churches,” he says. “All of this makes us very excited.”
Even as we speak a team of archeologists is busy digging through this lost city and clearing rubble to explore deeper into the heart of this place. Though this is indeed a risky business as the whole terrain could collapse anytime. “When the underground city beneath Nevşehir Castle is completely revealed,” he says, “it is almost certain to change the destination of Cappadocia dramatically.”