5,000-year-old city may be world’s largest subterranean city
During an urban building project conducted by Turkey’s Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) in the Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir, a massive underground city was discovered. The city is thought to be 5,000 years old and may be the largest subterranean city in the world. Tunnels, escape galleries and hidden churches have thus far been observed in the city.
“It is not a known underground city. Tunnel passages of seven kilometers [4.3 miles] are being discussed,” TOKİ head Mehmet Ergün Turan told Hurriyet Daily News. “We stopped the construction we were planning to do on these areas when an underground city was discovered.”
“We believe that people who were engaged in agriculture were using the tunnels to carry agricultural products to the city,” explained Özcan Çakır, geophysics professor at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, to Hurriyet Daily News. “We also estimate that one of the tunnels passes under Nevşehir and reaches a faraway water source.”
Nevşehir Province is located in the historical region of Cappadocia in central Turkey. In antiquity, dozens of underground settlements—one so massive it could hold up to 20,000 people—were carved from the landscape’s soft volcanic rock. The region is also famous for conical rock formations known as fairy chimneys.
According to Hasan Ünver, mayor of Nevşehir, the newly discovered city has already been registered with Turkey’s Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board.
The free eBook Life in the Ancient World guides you through craft centers in ancient Jerusalem, family structure across Israel and ancient practices—from dining to makeup—throughout the Mediterranean world.
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update.
Dig into the world of Bible history with a BAS All-Access membership. Biblical Archaeology Review in print. AND online access to the treasure trove of articles, books, and videos of the BAS Library. AND free Scholar Series lectures online. AND member discounts for BAS travel and live online events.Subscribe Today