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The ancient underground city discovered beneath a house in Anatolia


In 2014, a home owner living in the Melikgazi district of Kayseri province in Anatolia made a surprising discovery while clearing out an area under his house – a subterranean city, of which 4,000 square metres have been excavated so far, according to a report in Hurriyet Daily News . The region of Anatolia in Turkey is famous for its underground cities, particularly in the region of Cappadocia where more than 40 complete underground cities and 200 underground villages and tunnel towns complete with hidden passages, secret rooms, and ancient temples have been found.

Mustafa Bozdemir, 50, was bequeathed a house in Melikgazi five years ago and decided to carry out restoration work. He explained that what he thought was a single-storey house, turned out to have multiple levels of ancient rooms beneath it. “We also found some remains during the cleaning works such as human bones. They were examined by a team from Erciyes University,” said Bozdemir.

Nuvit Bayar, the Project Director of Guntas, the company responsible for the restoration, described the discovery to Zaman Online :

"We thought that there might be storage space for food or a stable beneath the house. But had no idea that it was part of an underground city. The underground city that we found by accident during restoration begins a few meters under the ground and has two levels. There are parts resembling underground remains of settlements in Cappadocia. Wonderful structures emerged everywhere, like an iron workshop and a loft.

The newly-discovered underground structure in Melikgazi has been compared to Cappadocia (pictured) where hundreds of subterranean structures have been found. Photo credit: Wikimedia.

Bozdemir immediately notified the Kayseri Governor’s Office and the Culture and Tourism Directorate, who examined the site and gave permission to continue excavations to completely unearth the underground city. They have also contributed the equivalent of $420,000 towards the restoration.

“We think that the underground city was active in the Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk eras and other stone buildings there were built in the Ottoman and Republican periods," the local mayor Mehmet Osmanbasoglu told Zaman Online .

More than a hundred truck-loads of soil were removed from the underground structure, revealing multiple rooms across several levels. It is believed that around eighty percent of the subterranean city has been uncovered so far. Osmanbasoglu said he hopes excavations will find the underground city is linked with the neighbouring towns of Turan, Gesi and Zincidere.

The region of Anatolia in Turkey is known to have the most spectacular underground networks in the world. One of the most magnificent subterranean cities is Derinkuyu, which is eleven levels deep, has 600 entrances, consists of many miles of tunnels connecting it to other underground cities, and can accommodate thousands of people. It is truly an underground city, with areas for sleeping, stables for livestock, wells, water tanks, pits for cooking, ventilation shafts, communal rooms, bathrooms, and tombs.

A visual depiction of Derinkuyu in Anatolia, Turkey. Photo credit: Wikimedia

While the latest discovery in Melikgazi is unlikely to be as spectacular as Derinkuyu, it is nevertheless an extremely significant finding, demonstrating that the underground world of Anatolia has not yet given up all its secrets.

Featured image: A section of the underground city found under a home in Melikgazi district, Anatolia. Credit: DHA photo


Home owner discovers ancient underground city beneath his house in Anatolia

A home owner living in the Melikgazi district of Kayseri province in Anatolia made a surprising discovery while clearing out an area under his house – a subterranean city, of which 4,000 square metres have been excavated so far, according to a report in Hurriyet Daily News. The region of Anatolia in Turkey is famous for its underground cities, particularly in the region of Cappadocia where more than 40 complete underground cities and 200 underground villages and tunnel towns complete with hidden passages, secret rooms, and ancient temples have been found.

Mustafa Bozdemir, 50, was bequeathed a house in Melikgazi five years ago and decided to carry out restoration work. He explained that what he thought was a single-storey house, turned out to have multiple levels of ancient rooms beneath it. “We also found some remains during the cleaning works such as human bones. They were examined by a team from Erciyes University,” said Bozdemir.

Nuvit Bayar, the Project Director of Guntas, the company responsible for the restoration, described the discovery to Zaman Online:

“We thought that there might be storage space for food or a stable beneath the house. But had no idea that it was part of an underground city. The underground city that we found by accident during restoration begins a few meters under the ground and has two levels. There are parts resembling underground remains of settlements in Cappadocia. Wonderful structures emerged everywhere, like an iron workshop and a loft.

The newly-discovered underground structure in Melikgazi has been compared to Cappadocia (pictured) where hundreds of subterranean structures have been found. Photo credit: Wikimedia.

Bozdemir immediately notified the Kayseri Governor’s Office and the Culture and Tourism Directorate, who examined the site and gave permission to continue excavations to completely unearth the underground city. They have also contributed the equivalent of $420,000 towards the restoration.

“We think that the underground city was active in the Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk eras and other stone buildings there were built in the Ottoman and Republican periods,” the local mayor Mehmet Osmanbasoglu told Zaman Online.

So far more than a hundred truck-loads of soil have been removed from the underground structure, revealing multiple rooms across several levels. It is believed that around eighty percent of the subterranean city has been uncovered so far. Osmanbasoglu said he hopes excavations will find the underground city is linked with the neighbouring towns of Turan, Gesi and Zincidere.

The region of Anatolia in Turkey is known to have the most spectacular underground networks in the world. One of the most magnificent subterranean cities is Derinkuyu, which is eleven levels deep, has 600 entrances, consists of many miles of tunnels connecting it to other underground cities, and can accommodate thousands of people. It is truly an underground city, with areas for sleeping, stables for livestock, wells, water tanks, pits for cooking, ventilation shafts, communal rooms, bathrooms, and tombs.

A visual depiction of Derinkuyu in Anatolia, Turkey. Photo credit: Wikimedia

While the latest discovery in Melikgazi is unlikely to be as spectacular as Derinkuyu, it is nevertheless an extremely significant finding, demonstrating that the underground world of Anatolia has not yet given up all its secrets.

Featured image: A section of the underground city found under a home in Melikgazi district, Anatolia. Credit: DHA photo


A Man Just Discovered An Ancient Underground City Underneath His House

Mustafa Bozdemir is a 50-year old man from the Anatolia region of Turkey. Five years ago, he inherited a house in the Melikgazi district (in the Anatolian province of Kayseri).

Recently, Mustafa decided to do some renovations on the house. He believed it was just a simple one-story structure, and decided to try to clear out an area underneath it, thinking that t here might be some storage space for food or possibly even a stable beneath the house.

The Anatolian Peninsula makes up the bulk of the country of Turkey (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

But what he discovered was far more intriguing than a storage space or a stable. Here’s Mustafa describing the discovery:

“The underground city that we found by accident during restoration begins a few meters under the ground and has two levels. There are parts resembling underground remains of settlements in Cappadocia. Wonderful structures emerged everywhere, like an iron workshop and a loft.”

The entrance to the newly-discovered underground city. Click to enlarge (Photo: DHA Photo)

So far, 4,000 square meters of the underground city have ben excavated, according to a report from a Turkish news outlet.

According to the local mayor, the city was most likely active during the Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk eras.

Anatolia is actually quite famous for its underground cities. The Cappadocia region, for example, is home to more than 40 complete underground cities and 200 underground villages.

A photo from within Cappadocia’s complex underground network

Derinkuyu, arguably the most impressive underground city in Anatolia, is 11 levels deep and has 600 entrances. Miles and miles of tunnels connect the underground metropolis, which is complete with,

“…areas for sleeping, stables for livestock, wells, water tanks, pits for cooking, ventilation shafts, communal rooms, bathrooms, and tombs.”

A visual depiction of a section of Derinkuyu. Click to enlarge (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

While it’s unlikely that this new discovery will rival Derinkuyu in terms of grandeur, it does show that there are still plenty of ancient secrets buried deep within the Anatolian earth.


Incredible underground city in Turkey that runs 18 storeys deep discovered by local who was renovating his home

These stunning images show the underground 18-storey city discovered by chance by a man renovating his home.

In 1963, a Turkish dad knocked down a wall in his basement, revealing a secret room which led to an underground tunnel that took him to the ancient city of Derinkuyu.

Photos of the preserved city document how 20,000 people - including livestock and entire food supplies - could have lived 85m beneath the earth.

Thought to have been created during the Byzantine era in 780-1180AD, the network of kitchens, stables, churches, tombs, wells, communal rooms and schools was most likely used as a bunker to protect inhabitants from the Arab–Byzantine wars.

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During this time, cave-like chapels and Greek inscriptions were added to the ancient city , and about 600 entrances allowed people to come and go.

Heavy stone doors could close Derinkuyu from the inside in order to fend off intruders, and each storey could be shut off individually.

Amazingly, Derinkuyu isn&apost the only one of its kind - though it&aposs in the running to be one of the largest underground cities.

The hidden community, in the region of Cappadocia, is connected to other subterranean cities by tunnels stretching several miles.

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Only about half of Derinkuyu is accessible, but the site has proved to be a popular tourist attraction.

The historical region in Central Anatolia also attracts visitors with its incredible geological, historic, and cultural features, including rock formations and spires known as &aposfairy chimneys


Financial crisis under the Comnena dynasty

The Comnena dynasty reigned over the Byzantine Empire from 1081 to 1185. Its power developed following particular marriages with other noble families, such as the Doukas, the Angels, and the Paleologians.

The first Comnenus Emperor, Alexios I, reigned from 1081 to 1118. When he came to power, a financial crisis had hit the Byzantine Empire for nearly ten years and still had not been contained. Alexios I then began a period of recovery: he increased taxes, drastically taxing the nobles and the clergy, and replaced prison sentences with financial penalties, much more helpful to the empire.


Ancient Underground City Discovered in Turkey

Part of the tunnel system that links an underground city discovered in Turkey.

A network of ancient tunnels have been discovered during routine renovation work underneath a single-storey home in Anatolia, Turkey, Ancient Origins reports.

As workers started digging beneath the property they found an entrance to a rock-cut tunnel only a few meters underneath the ground. Since then, multiple stories of underground living space, covering approximately 4,000 square meters (43,000 square feet) have been excavated. The owner of the property, Mustafa Bozdemir recounted discovery to Zaman Online:

“We thought that there might be storage space for food or a stable beneath the house. But had no idea that it was part of an underground city. The underground city that we found by accident during restoration begins a few meters under the ground and has two levels. There are parts resembling underground remains of settlements in Cappadocia. Wonderful structures emerged everywhere, like an iron workshop and a loft.”

Some of the underground housing contained bones and skeletons which are being analyzed by experts from Erciyes University in Kayseri.

Local mayor Mehmet Osmanbasoglu noted to Zaman Online that “ the underground city was active in the Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk eras and other stone buildings there were built in the Ottoman and Republican periods.”

Central Anatolia is famous for its rock-cut houses, some have multiple stories and would have housed thousands of residents.

Bozdemir intends to open the site to visitors and tourists and has requested permission from local authorities to continue excavating the site.


2,000-year-old underground city discovered by scientists—what it contains is terrifying

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A ‘lost’ 2.000-year-old underground city has been unearthed by experts in Iran, what they found inside was completely unexpected and terrifying.

Image Credit:: IRNA / ABDOLLAH HEIDARI

Located in the area near the city of Samen, archaeologists excavated the remains of around 50 large underground rooms that served as houses some 2,000 years ago.

The discovery of the underground city in is incontrovertible evidence that archeology is a science that requires extreme patience in order to obtain valuable rewards.

After 12 years of excavations, researchers have finally announced the existence of countless artifacts, skeletons and more than 50 rooms of different sizes connected by tunnels, intricately built some 2,000 years ago—dating back to the period of the fall of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC) and the rise of the Parthian Empire (247 BC-224 AD).

The intricately carved underground city contains around 50 rooms connected with tunnels. Image Credit:: IRNA / ABDOLLAH HEIDARI

The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures.

However, the most terrifying part is that experts have found around 60 skeletons within the complex. Scientists are still unsure as to what happened to the underground city and why it was abandoned.

Its residents worshiped Mithra, the ancient Iranian god of the Sun.

Experts believe there are more hidden chambers. Image Credit:: IRNA / ABDOLLAH HEIDARI

This discovery marks one of the several exciting findings by Iranian archeologists in recent months. Recently, experts also discovered a set of underground living chambers carved into a mountain in central Iran, dating back to the 12th century. Furthermore, in February of 2017, experts excavated the remains of an ancient observatory which is believed to date back to the Sassanian dynasty (224 to 651CE.)

Archaeologists have found 60 skeletons. Image Credit:: IRNA / ABDOLLAH HEIDARI

According to experts, it seems that Samen was used for various purposes during different eras. In its first phase, when the intricately carved underground complex was founded, it officiated as a place of religious ceremonies. Later, during the Ashkani period, the city served as a cemetery and as an emergency shelter.

So far, archaeologists have unearthed 50 rooms of various sizes connected by tunnels. These rooms and chambers were built at a depth of between 3 and 6 meters and supposedly belonged to different families.

The underground city is believed to date back at least 2,000 years. Image Credit:: IRNA / ABDOLLAH HEIDARI

The excavations will continue with the hope of discovering more rooms and learning more about this ancient city that is already shaping up as a World Heritage Site in Iran.

So far experts have discovered several underground cities across the planet. The most notorious are those found in modern-day Turkey—like Derinkuyu.

In 1963 what was supposed to be just another a simple home renovation in the town of Derinkuyu actually led to one of the most important discoveries in the history of Turkey. When a cave wall was opened, it revealed a passageway to an underground city that is thousands of years old, over 280 feet deep. Over 15,000 ventilation shafts spread throughout the city bringing air from the surface, providing ideal living conditions for up to 30,000 people.


The Underground City of Kaymakli

Built within the citadel of Kaymakli in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey, the ancient underground city of Kaymakli is one of the most amazing ancient cities built beneath the surface.

A remarkable block formation of andesite (a volcanic rock) with several holes, used in Kaymakli for cold copper processing. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Experts believe that its builders may first have started carving out caves from soft volcanic rock. Eventually, the caves were expanded and what was a small complex of caves turned into a city.

The city is believed to have been expanded to its current size during the Byzantine era.

Today, experts have found around one hundred tunnels in the underground city around which people built their houses. The subterranean city also features storage areas, stables, as well as cellars which, remain operational to this day.

Unlike the underground city of Derinkuyu, the tunnel and rooms at Kaymakli are much narrower and more steeply inclined. Four levels of the ancient city are open to visitors.


Uses as a Shelter

Foreign Invaders

The history of Derinkuyu and Anatolia as a whole is replete with wars and instability. Some of the earlier known residents of the Cappadocian region, the Hattians (2500 BCE) and later the Hittites, established the area as a valuable trade zone through early association with their Assyrian neighbors. Many tribes and, later, large governments, have aspired to control Anatolia for millennia, due to its location, which served as a major trade hub between Asia and Europe. For these reasons, the areas in Anatolia have historically been extremely volatile and were invaded and conquered repeatedly by different groups.

In 17 CE, the Romans conquered the lands of Cappadocia and made it a Roman province under Emperor Tiberius. During the very early days of Christianity, Christian colonies occupied Cappadocia, and they used the underground cities as safe havens from Roman persecutions.

After the 7th century, Muslim and Persian groups forced Christians once again into hiding. Around this time, there were many Greek Christians who expanded Derinkuyu even further. They continued to use the underground city for refuge into the 20th century, until the early 1900s when Turks massacred hundreds of thousands of Greeks and later forced all the remainders to leave. Many of the Greek lineages had been in the Cappadocia region for thousands of years. After this, they abandoned the underground refuge for good.

Safety Designs

The people who built Derinkuyu designed it with safety features, which indicates that the underground dwellings served as refuges. Doors consisted of a rollable disc-shaped stone with a small hole in the middle that covered entrances and passages during raids. Some people speculate the hole allowed soldiers to shoot arrows out, or perhaps a strong beam through the hole allowed users to open and shut the door more easily. It may also have served as one of the first “peepholes.” Because the doors only opened and closed from the inside, the inhabitants within the complex had complete control. It was much easier to defend the village through a small opening versus a large opening through which anyone could easily walk.

Heavy disk-shaped door provided security during raids. Flickr, Dan Merino, CC2.0 2014.

Each level connected to the next level by a hallway with a similar stone door. Additionally, narrow passages forced people to go through in single file. Again, this made it much easier to defend against incoming soldiers.

The underground city had a water containment system that also took safety as a consideration. It appears that one of the main ventilation shafts also served as a large well. However, the wells within the city did not all link together, nor did they all go to the surface. This protected inhabitants from invaders who might think to poison the entire water system from the outside.

Main ventilation shaft and well. Source: Wikimedia, Nevit Dilmen 2014.

Natural Elements

Derinkuyu also provided protection from the weather which was very hot in the summer and very cold and snowy in the winter. Daily temperatures also fluctuated widely. Underground, the temperature was fairly stable throughout the year at around 55 degrees, which made it ideal for keeping animals cool, maintaining fresh water supplies, and keeping food fresh.


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