A blog about all things history, by Amelia Sinclair.
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Sunday, 10 March 2013
Derinkuyu's underground city was discovered in the 1960s in Turkey, when a modern house above ground was being renovated. Much to the relief of everyone present, the 18-story underground city was abandoned and not swarming with mole people.
Hidden for centuries, Derinkuyu is the largest of hundreds of underground complexes built around the eighth century B.C in the soft volcanic rock of the Cappadocia region, possibly by the Phrygians. It is believed that the underground city at Derinkuyu may have been enlarged in the Byzantine era. There are references to underground refugee settlements built by the Persian king Yima in the second chapter of the Zoroastrian book Vendidad. Therefore many scholars believe that the city may have been built by the Persians. The city was connected with other underground cities through miles of tunnels. What is so phenomenal about this feat of engineering is that is was dug only by hammers and chisels, reaches 60m deep and can sustain 20,000 people.
The city was probably used as a giant bunker to protect its inhabitants from either war or natural disaster and had access to fresh flowing water -- the wells were not connected with the surface to prevent poisoning by crafty land dwellers. It also has individual quarters, shops, communal rooms, tombs, arsenals, livestock, and escape routes. There's even a school, complete with a study room.