Derinkuyu Yeraltı Şehri

Derinkuyu Underground City - Melegubu - Μαλακοπή - Malakopi

Useful Information

Location: Derinkuyu, Nevşehir Province. 29 km from Nevsehir, on the road to Nigde.
(38°24'20" N, 34°45'27" E)
Open: OCT to 14-APR Tue-Sun 8-17.
15-APR to SEP Tue-Sun 9-19.
Fee: Adults TRL 50.
Classification: SubterraneaUnderground City
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: VR=85 m.
Guided tours:  
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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9th cty built as a hideout.
1923 Greek expelled and underground cities abandoned and forgotten.
1963 rediscovered by homeowner who discovered a passage behind a wall.
1969 opened to the public.


Underground City, Cappadocia, Turkey. Public Domain.
Underground City, Cappadocia, Turkey. Public Domain.

The underground city of Derinyuku was built as a hideout in early christian times, during the 9th and 10th century. There are narrow passages with rooms on both sides. The city has a church, wells, stables, cellars, refectories, and wineries. A large room with a barrel vaulted ceiling on the second floor is called missionary school, the rooms on the left side are called study rooms. This is a rather naive interpretation of the first archaeologists but stuck.

The settlement was built downward into the ground below the modern time town. It has four different floors, with a church on the lowest floor. Christian churches typically have a cruciform floor plan, making them easy to identify, even though all Christian religious artifacts have now disappeared. The main living quarters are in the upper levels, the original use of the rooms is sometimes obvious as essential things such as fixing holes or drains for the wine press were hewn into the walls and floor. It is up to 85 m deep, but this includes the wells which were dug deep into the rock. Air was provided by 55 m deep ventilation shafts and that's how deep the inhabited part reached. Only a part of the construction is developed and open to the public. How much exactly depends on the source, some say its 50%, others say its 10%. We say, they have difficulties with math in Turkey.

The first underground homes were dug in the 8th–7th centuries BC by the Phrygians. Then the caves were continually enlarged and the current state was reached in the Byzantine era. The inhabitants were Greek Christs, and the underground city was used as a fortification and protection from Muslim Arabs during the Arab–Byzantine wars between 780 and 1180 CE. And again they were a hideout during the Mongolian incursions of Timur in the 14th century. Then the area was reigned by the Ottomans and the remaining Christs used them as refuges from the Turkish Muslim rulers. At this time they were called καταφύγια (katafýgia=shelter). And they were used periodically as refuges until the early 20th century. But in 1923 the Greek were expelled from Turkey and moved to Greece, the underground cities were abandoned.

There are legends that several underground cities were connected with each other through many kilometers of tunnels. As far as we know such tunnels were never found and most likely never existed.