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Visit Derinkuyu, a Secret Underground Refuge City in Cappadocia, Turkey

 Imagine finally taking the leap and starting that renovation you've always talked about with your spouse. You've found a reliable renovation contractor, made the payment, and the first day started well. Things go smoothly until the contractors go in and break the first wall.
What they find behind it leaves you all in shock and even makes the news. There's a passage to a massive underground city behind the walls of your home. This is exactly what happened to a man living in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. Soon after, archeologists filled his house, and their digging uncovered a city that is no less than 18 stories deep. Travel back in time down the tunnels of Derinkuyu, an ancient underground city in Turkey. 
 

Tread your way down carefully

This city was first carved out around the 8th or 7th century BC. It was fully formed in the Byzantine era when it served as a refuge for the Christian Phrygians that were seeking shelter during the Arab-Byzantine Wars during 780–1180 AD. Later on, it served as a refuge for Christians from the Mongolian conquerors in the 14th century. The city served as a refuge for Christian settlers throughout history and through many events, and it was used until pretty recently. The local population was still using it as a Christian refuge until the 20th century, but it was eventually abandoned in 1923. 

Look how spacious it is!

The underground city could accommodate up to 20,000 people. It was carved from a soft and spongy stone called tuff. This substance is made of lava that hardened into stone. 

The wheel on the left is a door

door in Derinkuyu underground city
These heavy rolling doors are at least 5 feet in diameter and 2 feet thick. They were, obviously, manually shut or opened. They served to keep invaders out and to separate each floor from the other. 

Some areas have been rebuilt

There is an entire network of underground cities in the region of Cappadocia, but Derinkuyu is by far the largest and deepest. It is connected to numerous other cities via narrow passages - as wide as just one person. Today, there are around 600 known entrances to Derinkuyu above ground, some were discovered in other private homes, just like the very first one.
Another city was discovered recently Its dimensions are still unknown, but the Cappadocia municipality is planning on re-opening the churches that were found there! 

Another rolling door

One of the ventilation shafts 

This ventilation shaft is 180 feet deep. It was used as a well. There were also cleverly designed underground running water tunnels that provided freshwater safe from possible contamination from outside enemies above the ground. 
Besides being built underground, this was a city like any other: it had stables for horses and livestock, wine and oil presses, cellars, storage rooms, and even chapels. This is because it was meant to allow comfortable and sustainable living underground for long periods of time. There was even a religious school with multiple classrooms. 

Look how elaborate the construction is 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Information sources: Wikipedia, ModeViral, AtlasObscura, NationalGeographic.    
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