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Legacy of the Depths: Underground Cities Exploration Series - Episode 1

Derinkuyu Yeraltı Şehri: Kapadokya'nın Gizemli Sığınağı

In the depths of Cappadocia lies a mystery lost in the dusty pages of history: Derinkuyu Underground City. This magnificent structure was built thousands of years ago and has gradually faded into obscurity over time, serving as a refuge. The story of Derinkuyu reflects humanity's struggle for survival against wars, invasions, and natural disasters.

In 1963, a man in the Nevşehir Province of Turkey knocked down a wall of his home. Behind it, he discovered a mysterious room. The man continued digging and soon discovered an intricate tunnel system with additional cave-like rooms. What he had discovered was the ancient Derinkuyu Underground City, part of the Cappadocia region in central Anatolia, Turkey. The elaborate subterranean network included discrete entrances, ventilation shafts, wells, and connecting passageways. It was one of dozens of underground cities carved from the rock in Cappadocia thousands of years ago. Hidden for centuries, Derinkuyu's underground city is the deepest.

The purpose of the underground tunnels was to protect the Hittites from attacks. While the exact dates are unknown, estimates range between the 15th century and 12th century BCE for the tunnels' first appearance. It is believed that the Hittites used the tunnels to hide from Phrygian raids.

Supporters of this theory cite historical accounts of the Phrygian destruction of the Hittite city of Hattusa, along with a small number of Hittite-related artifacts found in the tunnels.

An alternative suggestion is that the Phrygians built the tunnels later, between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE. They explain the discovered Hittite artifacts as remnants from the spoils of war.

This theory is reinforced by the reputation of Phrygian architects, who are considered by archaeologists to be among the finest of the Iron Age and known to have engaged in complex construction projects.

Derinkuyu is one of the largest underground cities in Cappadocia and is a remarkable engineering marvel. This seven-story city is estimated to accommodate thousands of people. Carved into the rock, this labyrinth was built to protect people from prolonged attacks. While the construction of Derinkuyu dates back to pre-Christian times, its most intense usage occurred between the 8th and 7th centuries. Local residents escaping invasions used this underground city as a refuge. Within Derinkuyu, there are living areas, storage rooms, churches, ventilation systems, and wells.

Today, Derinkuyu Underground City is one of the most important tourist attractions in Cappadocia. Visitors exploring this mysterious labyrinth discover how history and nature have been shaped by human hands. Derinkuyu reflects humanity's creativity and resilience, offering a unique experience to every visitor.

Derinkuyu Underground City is located in the Derinkuyu district, formerly known as Melogobia, in the Nevşehir Province of Turkey. You can reach the Derinkuyu district by following the Nevşehir - Niğde highway. The distance between Nevşehir and Derinkuyu is 30 km, and the distance between Niğde and Derinkuyu is 50 km.

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