Cappadocia is famous for its more than 200 historical underground cities.Underground settlements date back to Hittites. Settlements contain Middle and Late Bronz age reliefs, monuments. After Hittites, other civilizations also accommodate an enlarged underground cities and some of the historical artifacts vanished in this process.
Especially Roman era played an important role to construct underground cities. The number of underground cities raised in this era. Since early 3rd-century local Christian people used underground cities.They are hidden from Arab-Sasani attacks in underground cities.Christian people carved out churches in underground cities. But you can not see frescoes in underground cities.Enemies knew that Christians were hiding underground cities and enemies tried to poison them with their well, during the 7th century this situation had been continued.
In Cappadocia, there are more than 200 underground cities. Archaeologists find a new one in Nevsehir province and it seems larger than Kaymakli underground city which was known largest till finding a new one.
Some underground cities are large enough to accommodate more than 30.000 people.In an underground city you can see; stables, asorages, well, cellars, churches, millstones, rooms, tombs, long passages, tunnels like labyrinths, wineries, rock-cut dinner tables, holes for candles, holes to tie animals etc. People were using linseed oil for heat and light. You can look at our Cappadocia tour from Istanbul if you want to travel to Cappadocia.
Why did ancient people carve out narrow tunnels?
Because of defense from enemies. Soldiers were not able to pass through tunnels with their rough clothes and arrows, swords.
What is the millstone?
Millstone is a rock-cut stone in the underground, divide tunne two-part and were used as a door. Millstone is very heavy. Few people can hardly move it. Its weight range from 150 to 200 kg and its height is 1-1.5 m. Millstones usually have a hole in the middle of it. Hiding people were using this hole to observe opposite way and attack with arrows to enemies.
In the underground cities, there are loads of rooms and some of them have wooden doors to provide privacy of daily life and wooden doors have bolts for security.
In the underground cities, ancient people set up a natural air condition system which is complicated and very successful when we thought 3rd-4th BC.
Ancient people lived their daily life in underground cities. They built churches. But we just see the toilet in two underground cities: Tatlarin and Guzelyurt.
According to narratives, underground cities are connected each other with hidden passages. But There is no exact research about it.
Kaymakli underground city is the largest and Derinkuyu s the deepest underground city in Cappadocia.
Next article we will inform you about each of underground cities with their own special facilities.