An insight into the region

Cappadocia contains several historical underground cities carved out of unusual geological formations formed via the eruptions of ancient volcanoes. The cities were initially inhabited by the Hittites, then later by early Christians as hiding places. They are now archeological and tourist sites, but are not generally occupied. The latest large underground city was discovered in 2007 in Gaziemir, Güzelyurt. This city was a stopover on the Silk Road, allowing travelers and their camels to rest in safety underground cave settlement.
Kaymakli Underground City

Kaymaklı Underground City is in the village of Kaymakli which is about 19km from Nevsehir, on the Nevsehir-Nigde road. First opened to tourists in 1964, The ancient name was Enegup. The houses in the village are constructed around the nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city. The tunnels are still used today as storage areas, stables, and cellars. The underground city at Kaymakli differs from Derinkuyu in terms of its structure and layout. The tunnels are lower, narrower, and more steeply inclined. Of the four floors open to tourists, each space is organized around ventilation shafts. This makes the design of each room or open space dependent on the availability of ventilation.

A stable is located on the first floor. The small size of the stable could indicate that other stables exist in the sections not yet opened. To the left of the stable is a passage with a millstone door. The door leads into a church. To the right of the stables are rooms, possibly living spaces.

Located on the second floor is a church with a nave and two apses. Located in front of the apses is a baptismal font, and on the sides along the walls are seating platforms. Names of people contained in graves here coincide with those located next to the church, which supports the idea that these graves belonged to religious people. The church level also contains some living spaces.

The third floor contains the most important areas of the underground compound: storage places, wine or oil presses, and kitchens. The level also contains a remarkable block of andesite with relief textures. Recently it was shown that this stone was used as a pot to melt copper. The stone was hewn from an andesite layer within the complex. In order for it to be used in metallurgy, fifty-seven holes were carved into the stone. The technique was to put copper ore into each of the holes (about 10cm in diameter) and then to hammer the ore into place. The copper was probably mined between Aksaray and Nevsehir. This mine was also used by Asiklihoyuk, the oldest settlement within the Cappadocia Region.

The high number of storage rooms and areas for earthenware jars on the fourth floor indicates some economic stability. Kaymaklı is one of the largest underground settlements in the region. The large area reserved for storage in such a limited area appears to indicate the need to support a large population underground. Currently only a fraction of the complex is open to the public.

Derinkuyu Underground City
The underground city at Derinkuyu could be closed from the inside with large stone doors. The complex has a total 11 floors, though many floors have not been excavated. Each floor could be closed off separately.

The city could accommodate between 35,000 and 50,000 people and had all the usual amenities found in other underground complexes across Cappadocia, such as wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, and chapels. Unique to the Derinkuyu complex and located on the second floor is a spacious room with a barrel vaulted ceiling. It has been reported that this room was used as a religious school and the rooms to the left were studies.

Between the third and fourth levels is a vertical staircase. This passage way leads to a cruciform church on the lowest level.

The large 55 m ventilation shaft appears to have been used as a well. The shaft also provided water to both the villagers above and, if the outside world was not accessible, to those in hiding.
Text Source: wikipedia.org