|TAKE the TURKEY (TURKIYE) TOUR:
|Derinkuyu, an underground city, about 20 stories deep
Underground cities are still being found in Cappadocia. The ancient Hittites, who came to area from east
of the Black Sea around 2,000 B.C., are believed to have begun the excavation here. It is believed that
these underground cities were enlarged during early Christians times to provide refuge from invaders and
One of the largest of about forty such cities, called Derinkuyu, was found accidentally in 1963.
Coincidentally, this is the same year that I left Turkey after my Air Force tour of duty there.
Derinkuyu is believed to have held up to twenty thousand people and could be as many as eighteen to
twenty stories deep. Much of this underground city has not been explored due to cave-ins.
Large stones (similar to millstones) were rolled across the entrance from the inside to protect the
inhabitants. A wooden shaft was inserted in the center hole of the stone to roll it into place.
|Large stone that covered the entrance to the underground city
Derinkuyu contains at least 15,000 ventilation ducts that provide fresh air deep within the underground city.
For over 4,000 years, outsiders have invaded the area of Cappadocia. During the last of the second
millenium B.C., Assyrian trade colonies were in control. About 1,950 B.C., the Hittites came from the
eastern Black Sea area to conquer Cappadocia. The Hittites were totally destroyed by the "Sea People."
The Assyrians again controlled the area about 680 B.C., the Medes (610 B.C.), and the Persians (550
B.C.). Cappadocian kings ruled from 332 B.C. to 17 A.D. The Romans and Byzantines ruled for about a
After the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 A.D., the Seljukids captured Cappadocia. Although the area was
under Muslim control, Christianity was allowed. In 1924, under a Greek-Turkish immigration exchange, all
the Greek Christians left the area. The Christian presence here since about the first century A.D. came to
an end. Only the fine works of Christian art were left.