Cappadocia Underground Cities
History of Cappadocia Underground Cities with Map and Visuals
Cappadocia amazes the people with its distinctive landscape and atmosphere. Cappadocia‘s primary attractions are the natural ones such as Fairy Chimneys, Caves and Valleys. On the other hand, Cappadocia has man-made attractions too. Among those sights, underground cities are truly amazing.
Cappadocia Underground Cities History
The history of Cappadocia underground cities dating back before Christianity. During the Ancient Ages, people carved the soft volcanic rocks and created spaces to live. A question comes to mind: “Why on the earth these people chose to live 7 levels under the ground, instead of enjoying the beautiful lands of Cappadocia?” The answer is actually very simple. Taking shelter from the never-ending wars and feeling safe.
Why Did The People Build Underground Cities?
During the Ancient Age, Europe, Anatolia and Mesopotamia were the cradle of civilizations. These lands were suitable for farming, rich in water sources etc. Therefore clans and tribes were in a great competition to capture the best areas.
The people of Cappadocia carved these underground tunnels to hide their children and animals from any kind of attacks. It could have been a big battle (Greco-Persian Wars, Alexander The Great, Roman Empire) or smaller threats like neighbor city’s plunder. They had been using these underground spaces like the modern day underground safety bunkers.
They improved their techniques in time. Every new generation added some new rooms for some new needs. Eventually this underground rooms became underground cities. People probably lived in these places for months. Especially when they expect a great war in their neighborhood.
Early Christians of Anatolia (Asia Minor)
Early Christians were not welcomed in the Pagan World. The Roman Empire persecuted the Christians and banned building any Churches. Therefore Christians found some remote places like Cappadocia.
During the tough years of Christians (from the time of Jesus Christ to Emperor Constantine the Great) they survived in caves, valleys, mountains. Cappadocia provided a great landscape for these purposes. They used these ancient underground cities to hide and pray.
Eventually in 325, Roman Emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity. It was a great relief for believers. However they did not abandon the Cappadocia. It became one of the major base of Christian monasteries, to live a life of seclusion.
Underground Cities To Visit in Cappadocia
There are a lot of them. Among them the most visited ones are Kaymakli and Derinkuyu underground cities. The interior tempreture is fixed to 13 celcius degrees. If you visit these places in summer, a light jacket might be useful.
Besides there is no facilities within these sights. It’s recommended to have a bottle of water and comfortable walking shoes. Walking on these ancient ground might be a little bit disturbing.
Cappadocia Underground City Map
Kaymakli Underground City
Kaymakli Underground City is dating back to 3000 B.C. Historians claim that it had been built during the reign of Hittites. Hittites are known as the greatest rulers of Anatolia in the ancient ages. They literally dominated Asia Minor. They fought with Ancient Egypt for the dominance over the Mesopotamia. One of the most famous Pharaoh Ramses II, battled with Hittite Emperor Muwatalli. The first peace treaty of the world signed between two sides in 1274 B.C. (Displayed in Istanbul Archaeology Museums)
This particular ancient city is dating back to those days. There is a capacity of 5000 people to live inside the city. It’s even more organized than some modern cities in today’s World. There is even a meeting room and wine cellar.