Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Inside the incredible underground city that once housed 20,000 people

Discovery was made in 1963 when a man who knocked down a wall in his basement stumbled across a secret room

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Thursday 15 December 2016 19:59 GMT

Pictures have been released of a hidden, 18-storey underground city that once housed up to 20,000 people in Turkey.

The discovery was made in 1963 when a man who knocked down a wall in his basement in the region of Cappadocia stumbled across a secret room.

Now photos of the maze of kitchens, stables, churches, tombs and schools up to 18 metres beneath the earth have been revealed.

(Rex (Rex)

Believed to have been created during the Byzantine era in 780-1180 AD, the city of Derinkuyu was likely used as a bunker to protect inhabitants during wartime or from natural disasters.

The city’s security system was complex with stone doors able to close from the inside to block intruders from entering, with each storey being closed off individually.

While only roughly half of the secret city is accessible, it is connected to other underground communities by tunnels that can stretch for miles.

Derinkuyu underground city, to the south of Nevşehir, where the new settlement was discovered (Creative Commons / Nevit Dilmen)

The site has proved to be a popular tourist attraction in central Turkey. The historical region of central Anatolia is also known for its geological, historic and cultural features including its distinctive rock formations known as “fairy chimneys”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in