Ancient Belowground Cities of Cappadocia

Ancient Belowground Cities of CappadociaNow partly occupying the territory of historical Armenia, Turkey would be glad to destroy every single mention of Armenians. Fortunately, they are not able to do that yet. Representatives of many countries participate in archaeological excavations carried out in the territory of Turkey, preventing them from directly wiping out Armenian artifacts. But alas, they have come up with another method.

They simply invent their own names, their “inventions” being just literal translations of Armenian names. This way, Armenian name Portasar became Göbekli Tepe, meaning “Potbelly Hill” in both languages. Furthermore, Armenian ancient monuments are more known under their Turkish names among international audiences.

One of the monuments of Armenian Cappadocia met the same fate. One of the local underground cities is now known as Derinkuyu, meaning “deep well”.

In addition to the “deep well”, historical Cappadocia houses the largest known underground city. Seismic tomography demonstrated that it has tunnels and premises with overall area of 460.000 square meters at a depth of 113 meters, although the precise dimensions of the city are yet unknown.

There are around 50 underground cities in historical Cappadocia. Some of them are somewhat investigated while others are still to be researched. “Deep well” is the most known and most well-investigated among those belowground settlements.

Experts say that “deep well” could have about 20 stories, and only 8 of them are now investigated. The city could also accommodate 50.000 people!

Historians argue that the construction of the city began at ca. 2000 BC. But what the purpose of this enormous structure of an ancient civilization was still remains a mystery.

It is known that the first Christians renovated the city to shelter from the Romans pursuing the supporters of Christianity, as well as assaults of nomadic tribes and bandits. After all, ancient Cappadocia was a significant point of trade!

The underground city had everything necessary for proper life support. Its inhabitants built 52 ventilation shafts, allowing them to easily breathe even at the lower levels. Water flowed down 85 meters deep, reaching groundwater. It also cooled down the cave until +13 – +15 C even during the hottest summer months. Besides, every single room and corridor of the city was well-illuminated.

The first and second stories (from the top) accommodated churches, sanctuaries, missionary schools, barns, stockrooms, kitchens, canteens, living quarters with bedrooms, stables, paddocks, and wine cellars. The third and fourth stories featured armories, security rooms, churches, temples, workshops, various industrial quarters. Lastly, the eighth story had the “conference hall”, which had been used by selected representatives of ancient families and communities.

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