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Underground Cities Cappadocia-Turkey Travel Guide

Underground Cities Cappadocia-Turkey Travel Guide

Discover The Mystical Underground Cities of Cappadocia, Turkey

Discover the secrets of Cappadocia with our in-depth guide to its fascinating underground cities. Cappadocia is home to some of the world's most extraordinary subterranean settlements, including the vast Derinkuyu Underground City, the intricate Kaymakli Underground City, and the lesser-known gems like Gaziemir and Mazi. From the ancient dwellings of Ozluce and the historical tunnels of Agırnas to the expansive labyrinths of Tatlarin and Gokcetoprak, each city offers a unique glimpse into the ingenious survival strategies of early civilizations. Whether you're a history enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a culture lover, our guide unveils the mysteries of these ancient marvels. Dive into the depths of Cappadocia's history, explore the architectural wonders carved out of rock, and discover the stories of resilience and innovation that lie beneath the surface. Join us on a journey through time and rock, where history and adventure intertwine beneath the landscapes of Cappadocia.

Before embarking on your journey to Cappadocia, take a moment to explore the rich history encapsulated within its ancient underground cities. To optimize your excursion, consider hiring a private car with a driver, directly from Istanbul. This approach not only provides seamless transit but also guarantees a tailored experience, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the magnetic allure of Cappadocia's sublime subterranean metropolises

Cappadocia Attractions

Cappadocia’s Must-Visit Underground Cities

With approximately 200 underground cities punctuating the landscape of Cappadocia,, evidence abounds of the extraordinary lives and histories once played out beneath these storied skies. However, only a select few of these ancient subterranean marvels are open to the public, with Kaymakli, Derinkuyu, Ozkonak, Tatlarin, and Mazi Underground Cities being the most frequented. Above ground, the region’s distinct rock formations are mirrored in the architecture of carved rock hotels, caves, and dovecotes.

Derinkuyu Underground City: Delving Deeper

Situated a mere 30 kilometers from Nevsehir en route to Nigde City, Derinkuyu Underground City is the largest of its kind in Cappadocia, with its name deriving from the deep wells characteristic of the region. This colossal subterranean settlement spans eight floors and could easily accommodate a population as large as the one residing above ground. Visitors to Derinkuyu are often left pondering the logistics of life in such an environment and the mystery of how this underground city was constructed in an era devoid of modern technology. For ease of access, consider availing of a private transfer facility from Istanbul to Cappadocia-Derinkuyu.

Gaziemir Underground City

Gaziemir Underground City, situated near Nevşehir, offers a captivating blend of Byzantine and Seljuk influences, serving as a historical crossroads for caravan camels during the Seljuk era. Its spacious entryways and towering watchtower welcome visitors with a unique charm. Adorned with Hittite-inspired stone patterns, the city's corridors lead to remarkable discoveries, including churches, a winery, storage chambers, kitchens, and sleeping quarters. Safety features such as interconnected hiding spots and narrow church entrances reflect thoughtful planning for defense. Despite its rich history, Gaziemir remains accessible with affordable entry fees, inviting travelers to delve into its secrets and uncover its fascinating past.

Mazi Underground City: A Breath of Ancient Air

A short 18-kilometer drive from Urgup will bring you to Mazi Underground City, a site that echoes the endurance and spirit of its ancient inhabitants. Like its counterparts, Mazi offered shelter to those seeking refuge, providing a safe haven where life could unfold undisturbed for extended periods. Here, you can almost hear the whispers of the past as you explore the city and breathe in the ancient air filtering through the ventilation holes, making it an unmissable destination on your Cappadocian adventure.

Kaymaklı Underground City

Kaymaklı Underground City ia among the grandeur of Turkey's underground metropolis. Situated in the quaint town of Kaymaklı, just 20 kilometers from Nevşehir, this underground marvel has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. Its historical roots date back to the 8th century BC during the Hittite and Arab invasions.

Though it extends to a depth of 8 levels, only 4 levels of the Kaymaklı Underground City are currently open to visitors. The first level, designed for easy access for livestock, features stables and corridors leading to churches and living quarters. Access to the church on the second level, with its two apses and single nave, was controlled by sliding stones. Inside, visitors will find baptismal fonts and carved seating platforms, alongside tombs believed to belong to church officials. Living areas, including seating, accommodations, wine cellars, and storage rooms, are spread across the third and fourth levels.

One of the most intriguing features of Kaymaklı Underground City is its copper processing workshops, where pits for forging iron are evident on the floor. Ventilation shafts, serving as the lifelines of all spaces, converge throughout the city, which opened to the public in 1964. While it is speculated to be connected to the Derinkuyu Underground City, located 10 kilometers away, the secret tunnels linking them remain undiscovered. It's believed that this underground settlement once housed up to 5,000 people, making it one of the most populous underground communities of its time.

Ozkonak Özkonak Underground City Tour

Özkonak Underground City: Unlocking the Mysteries

Özkonak Underground City, believed to be constructed around 400 BC, stands testament to the region's unique tuffaceous geological profile. This environment, conducive to carving and shaping, has offered inhabitants not only practical living spaces but also ideal conditions for food storage. The transformative property of the local tuff, which hardens upon exposure to air, maintains ambient temperatures and repels moisture, creating a safe and hospitable refuge for its ancient residents.

Historically, Özkonak has played a significant role as a center for local principalities during the late Hittite period, later transitioning under the control of the Persians and the Hellenistic Roman Empire. It's home to the temple of Zeus, rumored to host 3,000 members during the Hellenistic period, serving as a crucial spiritual hub. With the onset of the Roman era, Christians fleeing persecution from the Byzantines and enduring relentless Arab raids sought sanctuary in the region, constructing the initial frameworks of the underground cities that characterize Özkonak today.

Tatlarin Underground City

Tatlarin Underground City is first unearthed in 1975 and opened to the public in 1991, The city is situated 10 kilometers from the town of Acıgöl in Nevşehir. It is perched north of Tatlarin town, atop a hill known locally as "The Castle". Though not as ancient as some of its counterparts, Tatlarin boasts characteristics akin to the Özlüce and Mazi Underground Cities, featuring spacious halls connected by a network of tunnels and passageways. Its unique architecture includes arched spaces crafted from basalt stone and carved rock chambers. While no church can be found within its confines, its entrances are noteworthy, with one entrance featuring a gateway flanked by tall stones and topped with a horizontal stone, presenting a remarkable example of ancient engineering and preservation.

Ozluce's Underground City-Discover the Enigmatic Charm of Turkey

Ozluce Underground City nestled along the Nevşehir-Derinkuyu Highway, just 6 kilometers from the picturesque town of Kaymaklı, awaits a hidden gem. Once known as Zeile in the Middle Ages and later as Zile, this quaint village boasts a rich history and an intriguing secret beneath its surface. Step into the mysterious depths of Özlüce, where the entrance welcomes you with its captivating arches crafted from sturdy basalt. As you venture further, you'll find yourself immersed in a labyrinthine network of underground passages and chambers, each holding its own secrets and surprises. The heart of Özlüce's underground marvel lies in its expansive main area, a testament to the ingenuity of its ancient creators. But beware - hidden within the depths are cleverly concealed traps, adding an element of thrill to your exploration. Unlike traditional underground cities, Özlüce sprawls across a vast expanse, offering a unique and immersive experience unlike any other. However, while the city's allure is undeniable, it remains partially unearthed, adding an air of mystery and intrigue. Though currently off-limits to visitors due to safety concerns, the promise of uncovering Özlüce's hidden treasures awaits, ready to captivate and inspire adventurers from near and far. Dare to delve into the enigmatic world of Özlüce's Underground City and unlock its secrets for yourself.

Agırnas Underground City-(Akhrnas)

Agırnas Underground City nestled in the heart of Ağırnas District, within the Melikgazi province of Kayseri. Steeped in history dating back over 3,000 years, this subterranean marvel holds a special place in the annals of time, known as the birthplace of the renowned architect, Mimar Sinan. Located in the Lower Pınar District, the exact construction date and purpose of this underground city remain shrouded in mystery. However, it is believed to have been crafted during the early days of Christianity, much like its counterparts in Cappadocia, serving as a clandestine sanctuary for the region's Christian inhabitants to worship in secrecy. Situated just 27 kilometers from Kayseri, Ağırnas is easily accessible via the Kayseri-Sivas Boulevard, with municipal buses departing hourly, offering visitors a convenient journey into the depths of history.

Sivas's Gokcetoprak Underground City

Sivas's Gokcetoprak Underground City located 35 kilometers west of Gülşehir district in Nevşehir. Discovered by French researchers in 1989, and subsequently explored by Italians in 1991, this underground marvel has captivated explorers with its unique geological makeup.

What sets Sivas's Gökçetoprak Underground City apart from other subterranean cities of Cappadocia is its geological composition. Carved into layers of mudstone at the bottom, followed by coarse-grained tuff, and capped by andesite rocks, it presents a distinct landscape. Thought to be two-storied, the underground city reveals spacious yet irregularly carved rectangular chambers across its floors, connected by long narrow corridors. Entrances to these corridors are sealed with rock-hewn doors brought from outside, tailored to fit each opening precisely. Moreover, within its depths lies a 15-meter-deep well, still holding water, adding to its enigmatic charm. Though partially excavated, the Gökçetoprak Underground City retains an aura of mystery, inviting adventurers to delve into its depths and uncover its hidden secrets.

Derinkuyu Underground City-Cappadocia Tour


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