Underground City, Cappadocia

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Underground City in Cappadocia, Central Anatolia, Turkey

Life Below the Surface

Pick a door, any door… They all go somewhere.

Being in one of Cappadocia‘s Underground Cities (such as at Kaymaklı or Derinkuyu, south of Nevşehirmap) is an eerie experience, like being in the midst of a huge sponge or Emmenthaler cheese.

Chambers and passages are all around you. Other people may be close, you can hear them breathing, moving slowly, speaking quietly—but you can’t see them and it’s not clear where they are or how you might get to them.

These cave cities once held thousands of inhabitants fleeing invading armies. Until the armies decamped, the land’s inhabitants lived hidden beneath the surface.

The city is fully equipped with granaries, stables, wells, air inlets, chimneys for smoke from the cookfires, wine presses and storage pits, salt-grinding tables, and even huge churches—everything necessary for an extended stay.

I’ve outlined a great full-day excursion that includes visits to an Underground City, the mountain town of Güzelyurt, a walk in the Ihlara Valley lined with medieval painted cave churches, and finally the Seljuk Turkish Ağzıkarahan caravansaray. More…

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