Cappadocia Underground Cities: Tour Guide and Detailed Information

by Öykü Çağ

Although we have only known 36 of them, there are many underground cities in Cappadocia, which we can call 150 – 200 separate worlds. Although Cappadocia Underground Cities, which are always compared to the roots of a tree and spread under the ground connected to each other, are associated with ancient civilizations and most of the mysteries are still unsolved. It has come to the present day hidden with many legends and architectures that makes you think about how it has built.

Cappadocia Underground City Tours

Before we start to tell about Cappadocia Underground Cities, we would like to inform that the best way to visit an underground city is to attend a daily cappadocia tours. Thanks to them you can visit many places and also an underground city with a professional guide. The best option for underground cities is green tours. Please check our daily tours page.

Cappadocia Underground City

One of the most interesting and exciting cultural activities in Cappadocia is underground cities. If we think about all of the villages and towns in Cappadocia, total of 25.000 km2, and underground cities beneath them, we can easily assume there are more underground cities than we know. And it’s unique underground network is not found anywhere in the world.

The underground cities of Cappadocia were built by carving the rocks down on volcanic tuff land. We still don’t know how they manage to carve this deep underground considering there were no technologic equipments. To identify their age, the traces left by ancient civilizations are used.

Why Were Cappadocia Underground Cities Built?

Because of raids and attacks on Cappadocia area, there are hidden rooms and secret passages beneath almost every house that can be used as a protection. This situation transformed aboveground villages into underground villages. And with the tunnels that connect villages to each other it has transformed into underground cities. Food warehouses that can feed thousands of people for a long time, water wells, chimneys providing uninterrupted ventilation, toilets and places of worship are all evidences of excellent design of Cappadocia Underground Cities which often makes us think “Is there Ufo stuff in this business”?

First written source about Cappadocia Underground Cities is a book called Ksenephon’un Anabasis (Return of the Thousands). Ksenephon is a Greek historian and world’s first war reporter who fought in with the Isparta Army against a war with Artakserkses, the King of Iran. In his book, which he wrote in the 400s BC, he wrote that the Isparta army was tired and stayed in the underground cities of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu. Rock reliefs belonging to the Hittite civilization, founded 2000 years before the birth of Jesus, and the underground tunnels they built for defense prove the oldness of its past. Then first Christians arrives and underground cities becomes deeper and wider as a protection against Arabian raids. According to the German origin Martin Urban, who came to Cappadocia in 1970s and made a comprehensive research, the age of the underground cities of Cappadocia was back to 7 – 8 BC.

Cappadocia Underground Cities

Let’s take a look together at some of the important Cappadocia Underground Cities.

Derinkuyu Underground City

The first of Cappadocia’s deepest, widest and most amazing underground cities is Derinkuyu Underground City. Located on the Nevşehir – Niğde road and 30 km from Nevşehir, the underground city is located in Derinkuyu district. It has discovered in 1963, partly cleaned and opened for visitors in 1967. Right now it has 8 open floor that reaches 50 meters down, but if all of it is cleaned, its floors can be up to 12-13 and reaches a depth of 85 meters. This Cappadocia Underground City has total of 2,5 km cleaned, visitable area called after 52 water wells inside of it. These water wells are 60 – 70 meters deep and both meets the need for water supply and functions as a ventilation shaft. Some of these chimneys have no connection with the surface in order to prevent the enemy, which cannot come down during the sieges in the region, from mixing poison with water. This feature is one of the reasons why this Cappadocia underground city, which is so sheltered and equipped with a natural ventilation system, does not have a technological explanation.

Even if Cappadocia Underground Cities have similar features with their purpose and architecture, you will encounter higher equipment while visiting Derinkuyu Underground City. The floors of the underground city, which has a very uncertain entrance from the outside, are interconnected by narrow corridors. In order to prevent entry in case of danger, precautions were taken with huge round stones such as millstones that can be moved by pulling.

While living spaces, dining halls, kitchens, stables, mysteries and cisterns are places that can be seen in almost every Cappadocia underground city, there is also a missionary school whose ceiling is covered with barrel vaults in the region. The cross-shaped church is carved on the 2nd floor of the underground city and can be reached by going down the stairs from the 3rd and 4th floors.

It is believed that approximately 50 thousand people can live at the same time in Derinkuyu Underground City, where the first settlement dates back to the Assyrian Colonies and the first Christians were escaped from persecution and oppression. Of course we have to say that its narrow tunnels and depth can create claustrophobia, but it is one of the most important places to visit in Cappadocia.

In order to visit Derinkuyu Underground City , best option should be joining Ihlara Valley daily tour.

Kaymaklı Underground City

One of the biggest Cappadocia Underground Cities is Kaymaklı Underground City. This underground city, which is almost half the size of Derinkuyu Underground City, is located in Kaymaklı Town, 20 km away from Nevşehir, and has been among UNESCO World Cultural Heritage since 1984. Its history is back to 8 BC Phrygian period and its reason was also to prevent Hittites and Arabian raids.

Although its actual depth reaches up to 8 floors, 4 floors of Kaymaklı Underground City are now open to visitors. The first floor was reserved for stables to make it easier for animals to go out, and passages were opened through the corridors opening from the stables to churches and other living areas. The entrance to the church on the 2nd floor, which was built with 2 apses and one nave, was controlled by sliders. When you enter the church, you will see the baptism stone placed in front of the apses and sitting platforms carved on the edges and you will encounter graves that are thought to belong to the church workers. Living areas, sitting, sheltering, and food rooms are spread over the 3rd and 4th floors.

One of the most interesting places in Kaymaklı Underground City will be the copper processing workshop. And you will encounter holes for iron hammering at the base in these workshops. Kaymaklı Underground City where all the places gather around the ventilation shafts has opened to visitors in 1964. Although it is thought to be related to Derinkuyu Underground City, hidden tunnels within 10 km distance have not been found yet. It is thought that this underground city was one of the biggest and 5 thousand people can live here at the same time.

If you would like to visit Kaymaklı Underground City, best option is to attend South Daily Tour.
Note that due to the availability, Özkonak Underground City can be visited instead of Kaymaklı Underground City.

Özkonak Underground City

Özkonak Underground City, which is 14 km away from Nevşehir Avanos, was built on the northern slope of İdiş Mountain where the tuff layer is the most intense. You will feel like going down in an apartment while visiting this Cappadocia underground city which has opened to visitors in 1972. Labyrinth tunnels, which are the main factors of connection between places in Cappadocia Underground Cities, are also exists here. The main difference of this city comparing to Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı underground cities is 5-8 cm small capillary holes opened for communication and ventilation. When the doors of the places are closed with sliding stones, the whole worldly connection is provided with these holes. Unlike other underground cities, the sliding stones were made not only for protection but also for fighting. After the entrance was closed with stones, small holes were carved on the tunnel to spear the enemy and pour hot oil.

The first floor of Özkonak Underground City, which has 4 floors, is divided into barns as the others, and the other floors are divided into sections such as living rooms, pantry, grape house and kitchen. The distance between the entrance and the exit is 10 kilometers wide, and it is believed that this underground city’s age is back to the 400s BC and is related to the Hittites.

Best option to visit Özkonak Underground City is to join South Daily Tour .
Note that due to the availability, Kaymaklı Underground City can be visited instead of Özkonak Underground City.

Tatlarin (Acıgöl) Underground City

Although discovered in 1975, Tatlarin Underground City, which was opened to visitors in 1991, is 10 km north of Acıgöl town of Nevşehir. And it is in a hill called ‘Castle’ in Tatlarin Town.

Like the other underground cities of Cappadocia, the living spaces are connected to each other with tunnels in this underground city. The large warehouses and churches in Tatlarin Underground City suggest that this may be a military garrison or a monastery complex, not a civilian settlement.

Although the main entrance of the underground city, which has 3 entrances, has been destroyed, you reach a large hall with a passage of 15 meters. Even if you can enter the hall of the underground city with a ticket today, it was a place that not everyone can enter and it has closed with perforated sliding stones when used. 3 skeletons were found in the stairs of the hall while cleaning. As if it resembles today’s home structure, there is a toilet and kitchen around the same place.

There are barns with strong columns in the second entrance. Sliding stone was used in the barn section with 5 warehouses on the floor and ventilation holes on the ceiling. Tatlarin Underground City which is the answer to question ‘Where is the first underground toilet in the world?’ has two of its rooms opened to visitors.

If you would like to visit Tatlarin Underground City, private visits are recommended. For private tours, please contact us.

Mazı Underground City

Mazı Underground City, which is 10 km east of Kaymaklı Underground City in Nevşehir and 18 km south of Ürgüp, takes its name from the village where it is located. It was found by chance by a shepherd in 1995 and opened to visitors. The main meaning of Mazı is ‘Ancient City’ and there are many rock tombs from the Early Roman and Byzantine periods in the valley where the village was founded.

The 8-floor underground city has entrances from 4 different locations and is covered with sliding stones with holes in the middle for lances to protect against enemies. The difference from other examples of barns at the entrance is the troughs carved into the rocks and the width of its areas. This is an indication that Mazı Underground City is home to an advanced society in animal husbandry. According to the estimates, 6,000 people live in Mazı Underground City at the same time.

This Cappadocia underground city also has a 20-meter-deep well, a grape house, a cellar, a kitchen and other living spaces, but its church differs from other underground churches with its magnificence. Across the vertical apse of the church there is a hidden chimney that allows passage to other sections. Small step holes are carved into the chimney for easy climbing. With the magnificence of the church and the large quantity of spaces, it is thought to be as big as Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı. And there are also places that are thought to be used as bathrooms in the underground city.

If you would like to visit Mazı Underground City, private visits are recommended. For private tours, please contact us.

Özlüce Underground City

Özlüce Underground City, which is 6 km west of Kaymaklı Town on the Nevşehir – Derinkuyu road, has taken the name of the village it is in. Unlike other Cappadocia underground cities, it has not been opened to visitors as it has a single floor, it has been carved wider, it cannot be cleaned completely and it also contains the risk of dent.

The entrance area passes to the widest area of the underground city, and to the right of this area are food stores and to the left are sitting areas. In addition, the 2-arched room, made with basalt, is connected to the main rock with 15-meter-long tunnels. This relatively new section, which is thought to have been carved later, was separated from the other places by a 2-meter granite sliding stone at the end of the tunnel. Small cell-type chambers are connected to the galleries, whose bases are very long and trapped. The fact that the tuff layer carved contains different colors, also makes Özlüce Underground City different from the others.

If you would like to visit Özlüce Underground city, private visits are recommended. For private tours, please contact us.

Sivasa Gökçetoprak Underground City

The underground city, 35 km west of Gülşehir district of Nevşehir, is located very close to Gökçetoprak village. It was first discovered in 1989 by French researchers. In 1991, it was studied by the Italians.

The difference of Sivasa Gökçetoprak Underground City from other Cappadocia underground cities is its geological structure. There are mudstones at the bottom of the layers where it was carved, large grained tuff in the middle and andesite rocks at the top.

On the floors of the underground city, which is thought to has two floors, quite wide but not properly carved rectangular spaces and long narrow corridors connecting these spaces were found. The entrances of the corridors are covered with rock doors brought from outside and carved according to the width. The underground city which has a water well 15-meters deep and has still water inside, has not completely cleaned yet.

If you would like to visit Sivasa Gökçetoprak Underground City, private visits are recommended. For private tours, please contact us.

In the vicinity of Gökçetoprak Village, where the underground city is located, many underground cities that are used as barns, haycocks and warehouses are still waiting to come to the light.

Cappadocia Underground Cities Entry Fee 2020

Different entrance fees have been determined for the underground cities that are not yet open to visit in Cappadocia. You can enter via MuseumCard for two times in a year and with MuseumCard+ you can enter without limits.

Derinkuyu Underground Entry Fee 2020 : 50 TL

Kaymaklı Underground Entry Fee 2020 : 50 TL

Mazı Underground Entry Fee 2020 : 12 TL

Özkonak Underground Entry Fee 2020 : 25 TL

Tatlarin Underground Entry Fee 2020 : Free

You can visit all underground cities we mentioned, between 09.00 – 19.00 from April, 15 to October, 2 and between 08.00 – 17.00 from October, 3 to April, 14.

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