Turkey’s ancient underground caves of Cappadocia were once inhabited cities. Steep, hollowed hillsides mask a secret subterranean world. Derinkuyu is about 85 m (279 ft) deep, carved out of volcanic rock.
The deepest of Cappadocia’s underground cities, Derinkuyu had sleeping quarters, communal rooms, bathrooms, cooking pits, wells, ventilation shafts, churches, and stables for animals. Historians believe this was the hiding place for early Christians trying to fleepersecution from the Roman empire. At its peak, the city may have housed up to 20,000 people.
One of about 40 cities, Derinkuyu had at least 600 entrances, hidden in the courtyards of houses above ground. The city’s inhabitants used heavy circular stone doors to block tunnels from the inside in the event of an attack.