Monday, March 22, 2010

Cappadocia Turkey / Derinkuyu Underground City

In the land of Turkey, in the Nevsehir Province, in the magical region known as Cappadocia, there are fairy chimneys, houses built into the sides of mountains and many entire cities underneath the ground. On the surface tourists may roam around massive geological oddities- strange conical peaks, monolithic spires, globular rock masses. Below, descending over 18 stories straight down on 11 levels and going on for miles and miles is a vast network of interconnected rooms. Derinkuyu Underground City is the largest of these that we know about so far. (Although the newest one was "discovered" only recently, in 2007) Derinkuyu was "discovered" in 1965 when a man who had simply been cleaning the wall of his basement broke through to a room that of course led to another room and still another. Even now only around 10% of its caverns are actually open to the public. Historically, these cities were the refuge and hiding place for the early Christians back when they were the victims, not the warlords. In his book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman insists that these underground cities will outlast almost all other civilized structures on the planet. However, the region is known for its earthquakes. In either case, the city of Derinkuyu was constructed with remarkable sophistication. There are huge vertical shafts cutting all the way down that function both as air supply tunnels and also for communication. Someone on the surface level can still yell down to people down in the depths. At the very bottom there is a church. There are tunnels that extend out and away from the city and actually connect it to other underground cities as far as six miles away. The whole place is said to have comfortably housed around 30'000-50'000 people. AND it had wine and a primitive micro-brewery.


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