See the ancient underground city that accommodated over 20,000 people

Do you know that there once existed an ancient underground city that houses and accommodated 20,000 people? The name of this lost ancient underground city is Derinkuyu which extends about 280 feet down into the ground, encompasses as many as 18 floors, and is large enough to shelter more persons. See more about this city below.

See the ancient underground city that accommodated over 20,000 people

The ancient city of Elengudu, known today as Derinkuyu is an ancient underground city located in turkey, near the Nevsehir province of Cappadocia. This incredible archaeological discovery was stumble upon by pure chance in 1963 by a local inhabitant while renovating his house. During renovations, he found himself in front of a mysterious passage; an intricate labyrinth of caves and tunnels divided into several levels that meandered over 85 meters deep in the bowels of the earth.

The city was built during the Byzantine era, when its inhabitants used it to protect themselves from Muslim Arabs during the Arab-Byzantine wars between 780 and 1180 CE.

Do you know that the underground city of Derinkuyu was built to protect its inhabitants from wars and religious persecutions; it was able to protect 20,000 people. It was equipped with large stone doors to prevent invaders, an ingenious ventilation system, as well as a neat well to ensure drinking water for all citizens. It included a multitude of rooms used as kitchens, bedrooms and warehouses for food storage. The city also ensured complete autonomy from the outside world by having a school, church and cellar for the preparation of wine and oil. It also contained an adequate number of livestock.

Derinkuyu was once connected with other underground cities through mile-long tunnels and is one of the many underground settlements found in the area. Do you know that it is still unknown which civilization exactly built the city, and although about 20 underground levels have been explored to date, only eight can be visited.

The city’s exact date of construction remains contested, but Anabes, written by Xenophon of Athens circa 370 BCE, is the oldest written work that seems to reference Derinkuyu. In the book, he mentions Anatolian people, in or near the region of Cappadocia, living underground in excavated homes rather than the more popular Cliffside cave-dwellings that are well known in the area.


According to ancient Origins, the exact origin and purpose of the underground city is unknown. There are, however, alternative theories regarding derinkuyu’s origin. Some historians have hypothesized that the city was actually built by Anatolian Hittites in the 15th century B.C.E as a way of escaping their enemies. Others have suggested that the caves were formed at the same time as the mysterious Gobekli Tepe, during the younger Dryas Event around 14,500 years ago.

This theory suggests that when a comet broke apart within Earth’s atmosphere, the dust and soot it expelled blocked out the sun for months, leading the world into an Ice age. Therefore, ancient humans began living underground to avoid the frigid climate above.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, another theory attributes the creation of the underground city to aliens. In short, either alien built, and then abandoned, the underground cities, or humans created them to hide from invading aliens.

These latter theories are generally not accepted by the larger scientific community, however.

Life inside the City of Derinkuyu

Many of the dwellers then seemingly lived lives as fulfilling as those who live above the surface. The city was fitted with wine and oil presses, stables, cellar, storage rooms, refectories and chapels like I mention earlier. A massive 180-foot tall ventilation shaft was likely used as a well, and dozens of other ventilation shafts brought oxygen to those living below.

You won’t even believe that derinkuyu even reportedly had a religious schools and studies for students. On the bottommost level was a cruciform church carved directly into the rock.

Each level of the city was well engineered for a special purpose. On the upper levels, the Cappadocians kept livestock to avoid the toxic gases and smell produced by cattle as much as possible. The livestock also served as a layer of living insulation, helping to keep the city warm in the cold months.

Lastly, Derinkuyu living story came to a close in 1923 when the Cappadocian Greeks evacuated. More than 2000 years after the city’s likely creation, Derinkuyu was abandon for the last time. Its existence was all but forgotten to the modern world until someone brought the subterranean city back into the light.

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