Written by Peter of Wardrobe
We are in Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey now and we wanted to go on a tour to one of the underground cities. We took a day tour to Derinkuyu Underground City. Derinkuyu is the biggest and deepest underground cities in Cappadocia. Our Tour Guide Farouq said there were more than 200 underground cities and only 43 of them are open for visitors.
The underground cities were created 3000 years ago by the Hittites and were later used by Christian Refugees because the Romans were killing the Christians. So in order to save themselves from being killed, the early Christians ran away to the caves here in Cappadocia and hid. We saw only 10% of this underground city. It was so big and had thousands of rooms.
On the first floor we saw their kitchen where they did their cooking. They were only allowed to cook at night so the smoke wouldn’t be seen. The stables where they kept their animals were on the first floor too. There were feeding troughs and hole in the wall for the animals to be tied up. On one of the lower floors, there was a room where they made wine. There were big basins to squish the grapes and holding basins for the juice to ferment into wine.
In order for them to get fresh air, they made an air well from the top to the bottom of their city (18 stories deep). We went as deep as 8 floors down and the air was still good but it got colder. It was a good thing we brought our mittens and tuques.
On one of the floors we saw a small dark tunnel and Farouq our Tour Guide said that it was 3km long which lead to another underground city. It would be hard to live in an underground city because it would be cold and you wouldn’t get much sunlight. I wonder if it would have been easy for them to get lost because it was so big.
They had stone doors to close off rooms to protect them for when the invaders came. In the middle of the stone doors is a hole for the defenders of the underground city to stab spears through to kill their enemies.
This is the water well. Farouq pointed out that it was closed off to the top to prevent their enemies from dropping poison in the water. They were smart and kept fish in the well because it helped them know if the water was drinkable. If they saw the fish alive, they could drink the water. If the fish were dead, then they knew that it might have been poisoned or undrinkable.
There was also a room called the common room for people to get together, visit, and go to church. Farouq showed us a stone pillar in the common room where there was one hole on the top of each side. There was a strict rule that forbade people to go to the top during invasions to prevent the invaders from discovering the underground city because that would endanger everyone’s lives in the city. If the rule was broken, then they were made an example of for everyone to see by being bound to a stone pillar by both wrists and starved. That was a great reminder to not go up!
This room is the church which is right beside the common room.
I thought it was really incredible to see the Derinkuyu Underground City, but also at the same time it would have been really hard to live during that time. I think it would have been hard to live underground because I can’t imagine living without sunlight, and would be hard to live in a cave.