Cappadocia underground cities

Tatlarin underground city

Tatlarin underground city

Tatlarin underground city

Tatlarin underground city, which was one of the most important underground cities of the Cappadocia region, could only be discovered in 1975 because its original entrance had collapsed and had gone underground to be opened to the visits of tourists in 1991. The toilet in it demonstrates that toilets were being used in Anatolia around 3000 years ago. There are many food storage areas and churches within it. It is believed to have been used as a center for religious or military purposes judging by the large size of its rooms. Only two floors of the Tatlarin underground city which has spread over a pretty large area can be visited currently, however works continue to open the other floors to visits as well. Although there is a large number of churches around and within the Tatlarin underground city which is near the Acýgöl district of the Nevþehir province a major part of them have collapsed due to natural causes.

The Tatlarin underground city is entered through a passageway that is approximately 15 meters long, and the entrance passageway opens to a relatively large hall. There is a sliding stone which has the purpose of sealing off the entrance in the event of an enemy attack. This sliding stone which could only be opened from the inside was used as an instrument of defense against animals and enemies.

Three skeletons were found in the section leading downwards from the right side of the hall. The kitchen found on the right side of the hall provokes the idea that this section was used as a burial ground in the Roman period and as a kitchen in the Byzantine period. That is so because the burial places in which the skeletons were found are identical with the burial places used in the Roman period. However, the interior part of the burial places were deeply carved out later so as to put food supplies in them. This large hall at the entrance is connected to a second large area with a zigzagging corridor. There is a trap and a sliding stone against intruders. There is a stable and five food supply storages carved into the floor in this second section which is supported by strong columns. And in the ceiling there is a ventilation well which provides access to the other parts of the city.

Derinkuyu Underground City

Ozkonak Underground City

Mazi Village Underground City

Kaymakli Underground City

Gaziemir Underground City

Ozkonak underground city

Zelve

Zelve

Ozkonak town of Nevsehir city which 14 km northeast of Avanos is located on the northern slopes of the Idis Mountain, there are supernormal underground structure of Ozkonak underground city. There is only a single main passage, and the whole city is built along it by cut volcanic granite. Ozkonak underground city has long, narrow connections, about 5cm in diameter, connect the different levels and naighbouring chambers. They were used for communication between the levels and for ventilation. There are ten rooms, four big salloon, eight water well, four tombs, ventilation system, winery and closeable doors via circle stone like millstone for security reason. Additionally there are so many ambushes in the long narrow tunnels for to mislead enemy in the Ozkonak underground city.

Common among the underground cities are huge millstone doors. The millstones were rolled into narrow sections of the passage and wedged from behind. Here at Ozkonak, they have a special feature in front of the millstone doors on the ceiling are small holes. They are connected with a tunnel above, and were used to pour hot oil on the enemy or to spear them.

Ozkonak underground city was discovered in 1972, there are ten floors totally but only four floors open now because of has not been completely cleaned yet.

Tatlarin underground city

Derinkuyu Underground City

Mazi Village Underground City

Kaymakli Underground City

Gaziemir Underground City

Mazi village underground city

Mazi village Underground City

Mazi village Underground City

Mazi Village which the ancient name “Mataza”” 18 km south from Urgup and 10 km east from kaymakli underground city. There are early Roman period king tombs both perpendicular slope of the valley. Plateau has so many Byzantium period.

Mazi underground city has been carved west perpendicular slope of the village into the valley. Detected in 4 different locations input, main entrance hall is built with irregular stones. Big circular stone in the short corridor for control input /output of the underground city.

Acroos the entrance space is barn, barns which spread to large areas of the underground city, is indifferent from others. However, there is a carved rock basin middle of a barn is the different speciality from the others. So many barns indicates that welfare level is so high because of the abundance of animal production.

Via a short corridor is reached to underground city church from barns. Entrance of this place can be closed with a circular stone. Church abscissa has been carved in the corner and the front is decorated with relief.

A space between the barns were used as winery. There is a chimney top of the winery for grapes to fall down.

Tatlarin underground city

Derinkuyu Underground City

Ozkonak Underground City

Kaymakli Underground City

Kaymakli underground city

Kaymakli underground city

Kaymakli underground city

Kaymakli underground city is on the Ihlara valley roadway and 20 km far from Nevsehir province. Ancient name was Enegup. Kaymakli people were built their homes around the underground city tunnels for security reason. Kaymakli underground city has 8 storey and 5000 peoples can live in it, 4 storey is open yet. The deepest point of the visit is under 20 meters. Kaymakli was built in around a main ventilation chimney. Ventilation system is so successful that not feel a problem even the fourth floor. Has all housing conditions for crowdy group temporary housing. There are rooms and halls connecting to each other with narrow corridor, wine tanks, water cistern, kitchen and food stores, ventilation chimneys, water wells, churches and large lock stones for any danger from out.

First floor is used for animal shelter. Usually first floor of underground cities uses as animal shelter for difficult to take animals the downstairs. Second floor has a church with two abscissa. There are baptism stones front of the abscissas and a cemetery for important persons near the church. Moreover this floor has a big lock stone for close passing. Lock stones are circular and has a hole in the middle, 55-60 cm thick, 170-175 cm long and 200-500 kg weight. Lock stones closes the entrance by ronunding vertical position in the special section at the entrance of the tunnel. There are labyrinths, hasn’t exit tunnels and so many ambushes and secret passages for escape. Third floor is larger ans spacious than the others and used as a food store, has so many sections for keep back wine, wheat and flour. Moreover there are winnery and kitchen. There are big food stores in the fourth floor. This is show that underground city people has a regularly economy living.

Tatlarin underground city

Derinkuyu Underground City

Ozkonak Underground City

Mazi Village Underground City

Gaziemir Underground City

Gaziemir underground city

One of the Cappadocia area underground cities is Gaziemir underground city. Gaziemir underground city, which was opened on June 23, 2007, has an entrance hall built with stone and is 10 mt in lenght. This hall is built with overlap technique that we see another example in Hattusha, the capital city of Hittites. At the end of the hall there is an open area to reach the other partsof the underground city. The other parts of the stracture is located around this area. This stracture has kept being unavailable because this area was full of mud that was carried by floods.

Gaziemir Underground City

Gaziemir Underground City

Many remains found during cleaning works indicate that the underground city was used during Byzantine period. Two churches, a winery, and many wine barrels are encountered in the underground city. Along with these remains, food stores, bams, tandoor fireplaces. Turkish baths, and various living areas can be seen. many of the corridors that link different areas are wide enough for a camel to pass through. Camel bones and animal tying places carved in walls, suggest that here was used as a public house, during following periods.

Gaziemir Underground City

Gaziemir Underground City

Other underground cities of Cappadocia area

Tatlarin Underground city

Derinkuyu Underground City

Ozkonak Underground City

Mazi Village Underground City

Kaymakli Underground City

Underground Cities

One of the characteristics of Cappadocia is having plenty of underground cities. It’s known that there are more than a hundred of underground settlements in the region and many of them are not open for visits. The underground cities, which are guessed to be used since the Bronze Age, used to be a settlement mostly in Byzantine period, doubtless. In this period, increasing invasions forced local residents to build underground cities for protection and religious purposes.

Kaymakli Underground City

Kaymakli Underground City

Certainly the most interesting features of the Cappadocia area are the underground cities founded within. Until now even that have been determined about 40 underground cities just six of these have been opened for visit. Nobody can know how many underground cities there are in the Cappadocia area. Some say that there is one for every village and settlement in the region but certainly not all of the sites can be described as cities. Well known underground cities of Cappadocia area are Tatlarin Underground city, Derinkuyu Underground City, Ozkonak Underground City, Mazi Village Underground City, Kaymakli Underground City and Gaziemir Underground City

Derinkuyu underground city

Derinkuyu underground city

The first inhabitants of Cappadocia area have opened deep cavities within the volcanic rocks due to escape from the attacks of the wild animals and hard winter conditions and then they have enlarged these cavities according to their daily needs, they opened new cavities and created the underground cities connecting these cavities with tunnel and labyrinths. Later the underground cities were the place of the hiding of the first Christians who escaped from the persecution of the Roman soldiers and were enlarged to able when were necessary an entire city to live and every kind of fixture necessary for the living of the people has been attached. When there wasn’t any danger the people living on the ground in case of the danger have hidden in the underground cities. For this reason all the homes at that time were connected to the underground cities with a tunnel.




In all of the underground cities there are ventilation chimneys reaching place by place to a depth of 80 and until the underground waters. These chimneys were opened due to meet the need of both the ventilation and water. Within the cities that are tepid in winters and cool in summers there are kitchens, cribs, wine houses, depots for cereals, meeting saloons, toilets shortly every kind of living space necessary for living. Within all the cities there are locking stones which can be opened and closed only from inside against to the threats which may come from outside.

Tatlarin Underground City - Cappadocia Turkey

Tatlarin Underground City

The oldest written source about underground cities is the Anabasis named book of Xenophon (Written around B.C. 4). In the book is mentioned that the people living in Anatolia have caved their houses underground and that the houses are connected to each other with holes: “The houses were built underground; the entrances were like wells but they broadened out lower down. There were tunnels dug in the ground for the animals while the men went down by ladder. Inside the houses there were goats, sheep, cows and poultry with their young…”

undergroundcity_life

Underground city life






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