When does a myth become truth Pt7 - The Underground City of Derinkuyu. - Cappadocia - Turkey.
The 'When does a myth become truth' series has so far revealed to us a lost ancient city under the ocean, another nuked in antiquity, onto amazing ancient engineered stonework from South America, an African tribe with incredible knowledge of the cosmos, and the story of an ancient civilisation that lived in antiquity who claim to have come from another planet and genetically created modern humans, a subject so in depth it came in three parts seen here Part 1, Part 2, and finally Part 3.
Then in the last offering a pyramid complex in Indonesia that may possibly be 26,000 years old!
Today we take a look at another incredible feat of ancient engineering found in Cappadocia -Turkey that has astounded the archaeologists, an amazing underground city that goes down 18 stories deep into the ground! This is one of many underground cities found in this region, that in some cases interconnect. The site has a history that is partly understood however like some of my previous posts academia don't agree in on the dating of the site. There are one or two researchers who seek to push the dating of the site back 5000 years. For that reason I have decided to add it to this series, and besides it is a fascinating site which in my opinion is worthy of bringing to your attention.
Cappadocia in Central Turkey is an incredibly interesting place. The spectacular landscape consists of huge rock formations, deep valleys and is replete with temples, chapels and tombs.
Entire subterranean cities have been carved out of the natural rock formations and over millennia cities, religions and empires have come and gone throughout this amazing part of the world.
In recent years though incredible discoveries have been made by archeologists. Complexes of massive underground cities one of which consists of 7km (approx 4.34 miles) of tunnels, hidden churches and escape galleries.
The underground city of Derinkuyu was discovered by accident in 1963 by a Turkish man in the process of doing home improvements. After knocking down a basement wall he stumbled upon a secret room leading to a tunnel, this opened up into the hidden city, a city that could house 20,000 people, livestock and supplies!
This discovery goes to show the incredible feats of ingenuity and effort the local people in the area were capable of and unlike other sites in this series has had quite a few mentions in the MSM. The pictures below unless stated otherwise are from a 2014 article in the British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail and are astounding.
The article states...
Thought to have been created during the Byzantine era in 780-1180AD, the network of kitchens, stables, churches, tombs, wells, communal rooms and schools was most likely used as a massive bunker to protect inhabitants from the Arab–Byzantine wars or natural disasters.
During this time, cave-like chapels and Greek inscriptions were added to the ancient city, and about 600 entrances allowed people to come and go.
Heavy stone doors could close Derinkuyu from the inside in order to fend off intruders, and each storey could be shut off individually.
The amount of work that it must have taken to excavate this site by the builders is mind boggling when you consider the amount of waste the site would have produced. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been to have hauled the stone and rock from 18 stories under the earth to the surface?
Here is an example of the heavy stone doors used to compartmentalise the levels. These could only be opened from the inside to ensure the safety of the occupants. The picture really doesn't do justice to the work it must have taken to create these doorways as these stone doors weigh up to 1000lbs!
Below is an artist depiction of the site and how it looks from a cutaway perspective. I really like this as you can see the amazing amount of work that went into creating the city and how it would have been so easy to pass it by and never know it was there, incredible ingenuity.
The picture below is a chapel within the site, note the stone arches that have been built here, great craftsman were obviously available to be able to create such a incredible subterranean place of worship. The stone in this area is not as hard as is found at other sites in this series and many of the rooms have been created from natural caves however that in no way takes away from the creativity of the original builders. The subsequent pictures give you an idea of the amazing rooms, living accommodations and stables built so far under the ground.
Due to the city being cut from existing caves and naturally formed underground structures, dating the site in an issue when using traditional archaeological methods. So no one really knows when Derinkuyu was built. It has ties to the Hittites - 1600BC, the Phrygians - 8th century BC and the Persians - from the 10th century BC. So we are looking at a site that is at the very least 3600 years old! The difficulty in dating the site has therefore made it of interest to those who enjoy ancient mysteries such as myself.
This article from gismodo.com gives a nice concise break down of the people's mentioned above and their links to the site.
The article states...
Some suggest that the earliest construction started with the Hittites in the 15th century BC. The Anatolian Hittites, distinct from the group described in the Christian Bible, controlled a large portion of Asia Minor extending from the Black Sea to the Levant. Cappadocia, and Derinkuyu, were smack in the middle of their territory.
Throughout their history, the Hittites faced a variety of enemies including the Egyptians, the Assyrians and the Thracians (a group of loosely affiliated tribes from southeastern Europe). In the 12th century BC, the Thracians destroyed the Hittites’ main city of Hattusa, and many believe the Hitties used Derinkuyu as a shelter during that onslaught. They support this theory with a small number of Hittite-related artifacts, including a statute of a lion, found on the site.
Others are not convinced of a Hittite origin and point instead to the Phrygians. One of the Thracian tribes that sacked Hattusa around 1180 BC, the Phrygians controlled the region until approximately the 6th century BC when they were conquered by the Persian host under Cyrus the Great.
Archaeologists consider Phrygian’s architects among the finest of the Iron Age, and they were known to have engaged in large, complex construction projects. One of their most well known works was the sophisticated great citadel at Gordion, built between 950 and 800 BC. Because they are known to have possessed the necessary architectural skills, and inhabited the region for such a long time, many credit the Phrygians with creating Derinkuyu; these experts place the first construction on the complex to sometime between the 10th and 7th centuries BC.
The second chapter of the Vendidad, a section of the Zoroastrian book Avesta, includes the story of how the great and mythical Persian king Yima created places underground to house “flocks, herds and men.” Relying on this, some opine that Derinkuyu was built by ancient Persians; since the Avesta dates to the founding of Zoroastrianism (1500-1200 BC), Persian construction on the site would have to have pre-dated any construction done by the Hittites. Although intriguing, because the Vendidad makes no clear link with Derinkuyu, this theory has little mainstream support.
Regardless of who built it, later generations have inhabited it. Many believe early Christians used the underground cities of Cappadocia, including Derinkuyu, as a place to hide from Roman persecution. In support of this claim, they point to the fact that Saint Gregory and Saint Basil had both presided in Cappadocia during the 4th century AD.
So it appears that there isn't really an agreed acamdemic theory for the date of construction of the site, the people that were responsible for it or why? I agree with the premise that it was possibly built to hide from invaders as the site has sofisticated ventilation shafts, numerous wells giving a self contained fresh water supply, add to that the huge stone doors used to seal off areas and entrances and you have an amazing hideout for 20,000 people hidden in plain site.
There is no doubt in my mind that the city of Derinkuyu was used by many different peoples over many thousands of years as a place to hide from invasion forces however there may well be another reason for its original construction.
The amount of time whoever designed the city and originally lived here planned to stay underground must have been considerable when you consider these facts. Why would you move everything from a fertile land and go underground for any significant amount of time? Maybe the original builders were indeed hiding from invaders, maybe they were trying to avoid a predictable cosmic event such was ancient knowledge of the cosmos. We have seen in previous posts that many in the ancient world had an incredible understanding of the workings of our solar system and indeed the Universe. What better place to hide from a meteor shower or the affects of an asteroid impact?
In recent years there have been more cities discovered under the ground in this fascinating part of the world, many of which link together, Derinkuyu itself is said to link to a sister city called Kaymaki which is three miles away!
Hopefully as more excavations are undertaken and new discoveries are made this story will become clearer. Much of our ancient past still eludes us and hopefully one day we will be able to put together all of the puzzle pieces and finally know our true history.