Derinkuyu is another one of my favorite sites. It is located in the central Cappadocia region of Turkey and is referred to as the underground city. It was constructed 90 feet below ground, consists of 18 stories and was thought to house over 20,000 people and livestock. Scientists are unable to definitively date the site since they believe it was expanded by later civilizations and rock cannot be carbon dated. There have been artifacts found that date to at least the 5th century A.D. They also have not been able to determine who built Derinkuyu or why they built it.
The 1,000+ pound doors found in the site suggest it was built to protect from invaders, but there is no evidence of that. Others believe it was built to survive against the last ice age over 12,000 years ago. Ventilation shafts are found throughout the city, as well as wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories and chapels.
Regardless of how or why our ancestors built the underground city, its construction defies our understanding of what our ancestors were able to construct.
Why this fascinates me:
1. There is a VERY specific reason these people built such an amazing structure underground. What were they afraid of? Was this built during the last ice age?
2. We are not totally certain who built Derinkuyu or when it was built. These could be another case of an ancient site much older than we think. Did another civilization in the 5th century A.D. find and settle Derinkuyu?
3. An ancient underground fortress? Fantastic material for fiction writing!