In 1963, a man in Turkey discovered a mysterious room behind a wall in his house. Intrigued, he decided to investigate. When he found a tunnel tumbling down below his house, he called more people to help him get to the bottom of the mystery. What they was absolutely incredible - a hive of underground tunnels and rooms with a capacity for 20,000 people.
Welcome to the maze
Derinkuyu enjoyed its heyday during the Byzantine era, which was also when it got its Christian mark - a few modest, but nevertheless impressive chapels. It was during the Byzantine era that the city was at its fullest, at one point boasting a population of some 20,000 people as well as cattle. Derinkuyu had everything you would expect from any ordinary city at the time ? living quarters, dining halls, stables, wine cellars, a prison and a school. The city's prosperity was in part due to its role as a refuge for Christians who were fleeing from invading armies.
Construction of the underground city was a lengthy undertaking however, it is difficult to argue with the end result. All you need to do to appreciate the jaw-dropping complexity of the city's design is to look at the huge sliding doors which were used to seal off certain areas within the city in case of an invasion, or the thousands of tiny shafts that were used as air vents.
The man stumbled onto an entrance to the underground city of Derinkuyu. Archeologists believe that Derinkuyu, which lies about 200ft underground, was created in the 7th and 8th centuries BC by the Phrygians, an ancient Indo-European civilization.
The city of Derinkuyu is truly a fascinating place. But even if you do tire from exploring the miles of labyrinthine tunnels as well as discovering the city's rich and fascinating history, the rest of the region is just as compelling. AS unbelievable as it may sound, but there are other, similar subterranean cities close by!