Ancient cities around the Globe, even when being almost completely ruined, remind us of the rich history of civilizations. When we visit a bygone place, we feel the spirit of the ancient cultures, their history and way of life, their knowledge and values.
No matter how many spectacular things we have created over the thousands of years of human history, these ancient, historical cites never fail to amaze us.
A giant underground city, believed to be one of the largest in the world, has been found in the Cappadocia region. Dating back as far as 5,000 years, this city is located near the Nevşehir fortress.
Nevşehir and the surrounding Cappadocia region are renowned as the home of a magnificent collection of underground cities and villages.
This city was discovered by chance, as construction workers demolished 1,500 buildings on top of it, as part of an urban renewal project. Yet, the discovery put a stop on their work, and excavation works began.
Being massive, the city had amenities like wineries, kitchens, staircases, cellars, stables, chapels, and bezirhane, or linseed presses used for the production of lamp oil to light the underground city.
The giant underground city is thought to have been a big, self-sustaining complex with many air shafts and water channels. Many scholars maintain these underground cities have been built to represent safe-spots in times of danger.
The Cappadocians would retreat underground, as the large stone doors could be closed from the inside, and each floor could be closed off separately.
Özcan Çakır, a professor in the Geophysics Engineering department at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University near Gallipoli, and one of the experts involved in excavating the site, believes that it was used as a storage and transportation space for food and produce:
“We believe that people who were engaged in agriculture were using the tunnels to carry agricultural products to the city. We also estimate that one of the tunnels passes under Nevşehir and reaches a faraway water source.”
The city is believed to have been built in the 8th-7th centuries B.C. and might have been enlarged in the Byzantine era. It was used as a refugee settlement during the Persian Achaemenid empire, and some suspect that it was even built by Persians.
While the exact size of the underground city is still unknown, the results of the systematic survey of a 4-kilometer area conducted by a team of Nevşehir University geophysicists indicate that it is nearly five million square feet (460,000 square meters), and 113 meters deep, which would make this discovery extremely important, as the city might be the largest of its kind in the world.
One of the greatest mysteries related to the site is how such a vast city was built 5,000 years ago.
Nevşehir mayor Hasan Ünver stated that “this new discovery will be added as a new pearl, a new diamond, a new gold” to Cappadocia’s riches. He intends to build the world’s largest antique park there, with boutique hotels and art galleries aboveground, and walking trails and a museum underground.
“We even plan to reopen the underground churches. All of this makes us very excited.”
The following video shows the area and the underground caves: