Derinkuyu Underground City
Derinkuyu Underground City Entrance Fee, Hours, History, Facts
Derinkuyu Underground City is a rare structure in the world. Located in Nevsehir province of Cappadocia, Derinkuyu is one of the oldest underground cities in the world.
The underground cities of Cappadocia, with their history dating back to ancient times, give clues about the lifestyle of the people in that period. I recommend adding Derinkuyu and Kaymakli underground cities to your Things to Do in Cappadocia list. You can be sure you won’t be disappointed.
What is an Underground City?
Derinkuyu underground city, consists of eight separate floors built underground. The city was built thanks to the geological formation of Cappadocia. The tuff soil formed by the lava flowing from the volcanoes was easily shaped by the human hand because of its soft structure.
In this way, the cellars or shelters created by people under their homes have grown into a giant underground city. The fact that there are more than 200 underground cities in Cappadocia proves the necessity of hiding at that time.
Unlike other underground cities of Cappadocia, Derinkuyu has a very large capacity and has many interconnected sections.
Derinkuyu had been enlarged by adding the necessary sections over time. The rooms, cellars and halls were connected to each other by corridors. In this way, an area of thousands of square meters was obtained.
Underground Living Spaces
History of Derinkuyu Underground City
Historical research shows that the first settlements in Derinkuyu date back to the Age of Assyrian Trade Colonies. However, the fact that it became a functional underground city dates back to the ancient Greek period.
In his book Anabasis, Xenophon mentions the existence of people living underground. It even tells us that these people live underground with large families, with their pets, and have food stores. Recent studies in Derinkuyu confirm what Xenophon said.
A Shelter for the Early Christians
Christianity was banned in the Roman Empire for centuries and a policy of oppression and persecution was carried out against Christians. Derinkuyu has become an important shelter for people to live safely in the period when Christianity was forbidden.
We know from historical sources that the Christians in Antakya (Antioch) and Kayseri (Caesarea) came to Cappadocia and settled in the tunnels there. The Christians, who survived the persecution of the Roman soldiers, made this place a center of worship.
The underground city has maintained its importance during the Byzantine period. A significant portion of the remains that can be seen today were built during the Byzantine Empire era.
During the Arab-Byzantine wars between 780 and 1180, the Byzantines fleeing the Arab raids settled in the underground city and lived there temporarily. Historical records show that the tunnels were used by Greek-Orthodox Ottoman citizens until the population exchange (after World War I) in 1923.
What to See in Derinkuyu?
At the entrance and the first floor of the city, there are winery, baptistery and missionary school. On the lower floors, there are cellars, kitchens and food stores. The ventilation space opened to ensure air circulation in the tunnels is located on the third floor.
Research shows that the fifth floor is the center of the city. The ventilation system is largely positioned on this floor. Buildings such as meeting rooms, cemeteries, churches and water wells are located on the seventh floor, the largest part of the city.
There are two underground cities that must be seen in Cappadocia. One of them is Derinkuyu and the other is Kaymakli. If you want to learn more about the other one, you can check out the Kaymakli Underground City blog post.
Derinkuyu Underground City Entrance Fee
Admission fee is 50 Turkish Lira per person as of 2020. Tickets are free for children under 8 years old. The Museum Pass Cappadocia is valid at Derinkuyu Underground City.
Derinkuyu Underground City Opening Hours
Derinkuyu Underground City is open to visitors from 08:00 in the morning to 19:00 in the evening between 1 April and 1 October. In the winter season, it closes at 17:00 in the evening.
Although Derinkuyu is open every day of the year, there may be changes in working hours due to events and renovations. So before you go, you can visit the official website of the underground city to see the latest status.
Written by Serhat Engul