Man Knocks Down A Wall In His House And Shockingly Discovers Hidden City
You never know what you will find until you go looking for it. Little did this man from the Nevşehir Province of Turkey know what surprise lay waiting for him when he knocked down a wall in his home during remodeling.
The wall he tore down surprisingly led to a gigantic underground hidden city that would blow the minds of the best archeologists in the world. Read on to get the full story.
Who was the Man?
According to reports from 1963, the man who discovered the massive underground city in his basement was not documented. However, the said man was living in the Nevşehir Province in Turkey, in an area known as Cappadocia.
The man was a native of the province who had moved into his home. This is particularly important to the story because what comes next will shock you.
What was he doing?
The man wanted to renovate and remodel his home, as homeowners periodically do. Whether you’re purchasing new stuff to fit into your home or decluttering your space, you might need a little remodeling.
In some cases, remodeling might involve tearing down portions of your wall to create space to fit in accessories. And that was what this man was doing. But where did he start? From his basement.
Remodeling was strange
First, he took out the supplies and everything else out of the storage to make room for knocking down one side of the wall as part of a renovation project. He got his tools and was in the process of tearing it down.
According to the reports, he had an unusual feeling but he could not place it. But that didn’t stop him from using a sledgehammer to crack and shatter the wall. Clearing out the dust, what did he find?
Something was off
He found a hidden room carved from the wall. This is commonplace during home renovations and remodeling. Homeowners have knocked down walls to find small wine cellars or storage. But this man finds something else.
He not only finds the room but a slender hallway just beside it. Now, this was strange to discover during a home renovation. Fueled by curiosity, he cleared the dust and walked in the passageway.
Anyone in this man’s position would be excited and agitated about finding a secret hallway right inside his basement. The hallway led the way into cave-like rooms which opened to more passageways down the basement.
At this point, there was no backing down. He wanted to see where the various paths led. Little did he know what he had just stumbled upon below the basement of his home.
Slowly, he began to realize that he had just discovered something out of the ordinary: an entire subterranean city attached to his home. The surprise sent waves of shock down his spine as he explored deep into this massive underground city.
The city was completely and eerily empty and abandoned but it was a fascinating sight to behold. But he didn’t know the name or the civilization of the underground city he had just stumbled upon.
According to the reports, the man relayed what he had just witnessed under his basement to the authorities, who swung into action and identified the hidden city.
The hidden city was the long-lost Derinkuyu – an ancient city completely carved into the stones below Cappadocia. And, it was discovered behind a basement wall in someone’s home?
Revelations about the city
Derinkuyu, the hidden city, was built and abandoned for decades before rediscovery. While it looked empty, the city had been built with basic amenities to help sustain its inhabitants and shield them from the outside world.
Derinkuyu had virtually everything its inhabitants needed to survive and support its community and had been doing so for hundreds of years. The authorities realized that the man had been living above a subterranean metropolis hidden for several decades.
When was the city built?
According to expert archeologists at the Turkish Department of Culture, Derinkuyu was carved during the 8th – 7th century BCE.
It was carved bit by bit into the volcanic rock formations on the area and featured underground settlements connected by tunnels that ran for several miles.
Earlier accounts of the hidden city
One of the notable accounts written about Derinkuyu is credited to a 370 BCE text written by Xenophon of Athens, who mentions the people of Anatolia who had excavated their home underground.
Xenophon noted in his book Anabasis that the underground settlements were large enough for a family, their domestic flocks, and food supplies.
Nature of the city
The rock – in which the hidden city was carved – is made of different layers of solidified volcanic ash, referred to as “tuff.” While it looks tough on the outside, it is actually fragile, which explains how the inhabitants were able to use tools such as their hands, shovels, and picks to carve out the city beneath the ground.
However, it was durable enough to withstand caving in.
The entire area of Cappadocia has a notable volcanic history, as it sits on a plateau of about 1,000 meters high.
The region is also punctuated by several cone-shaped tuff formations that jut out of the ground.
Who built the city?
According to records from the Turkish Department of Culture, the first gallery of the underground city was carved by the Phrygians, an ancient Indo-European culture that were the founders of the Anatolian Kingdom (between the 12th – 7th century BCE)
The Phrygians were one of the very first architects of the Iron Age, known for being involved in complex construction projects.
While the theory about the Phrygians is popular, other theories allude that the hidden city underground was constructed by the Hittites or Persians.
The city reached its completion during the Byzantine period. It had developed into an expansive multi-level complex featuring several tunnels and chambers.
How many inhabitants occupied the city?
Durinkuyu was designed to house about 20,000 people. It was a large community by itself. And not only that, it was also constructed to house a massive amount of livestock. It spans an area of 445 square kilometers (172 square miles).
It is noted that the hidden city had a depth of 60 meters and was designed with 18 different levels to accommodate people and their livestock. Furthermore, the hidden city was used by Christians from the Middle Ages until the early 20th century, when it was abandoned.
Why was the hidden city built?
There are several theories to why the city was developed. One theory suggests that the Phrygians built Derinkuyu to shield themselves from the extreme conditions threatening their survival. The underground settlement also served as protection from invaders and enemies.
The city is designed with several escape routes for its inhabitants to either lock themselves in or escape when faced with imminent danger.
The city was deigned to be a massive, relatively comfortable bunker to protect individuals from wars or natural disasters.
The tunnels running for miles were carved narrow on purpose, forcing would-be invaders to crawl through them one at a time.
Notable inhabitants who dwelled in the underground city
Beyond the Phrygians tipped to have constructed this underground metropolis, there are several accounts of people who may have inhabited this place. It includes Early Christians who fled to the hidden city to escape extreme persecution from the Roman Empire.
It is also noted that during the Arab-Byzantine wars between 780 and 1180, Derinkuyu was a fortress for Muslim Arabs who helped to expand the city.
There are over 100 entrances leading in and out of the hidden underground city of Derinkuyu. The fascinating thing about this is that each of these entrances, upon discovery, was hidden behind bushes or walls like the one that this man unearthed.
Another surprising fact about these entrances is that while they remained hidden from prying eyes, they were large enough to move livestock in and out.
Giant stone doors?
It is noted that some of the major entrances leading to meeting rooms and places of worship were guarded by giant stone doors that were hand-carved, weighing up to 1,000 pounds.
Some of the circular doors were up to 5 feet in diameter. They were rolled over to keep everyone inside and lock invaders out.
The underground city was fully equipped with all the amenities that its inhabitants would need to survive and thrive. For instance, the typical Derinkuyu living quarters consisted of several rooms, including kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
In some cases, some quarters contained wine cellars for merriment purposes. It was designed like a surface home.
The underground tunnels and chambers also lead to massive rooms that house livestock corrals, shops, arsenals, escape routes, and oil press rooms.
It is designed in such a way as to mirror the typical buildings in the surface world. There are also gathering halls where people meet to celebrate, arm themselves for an imminent attack, or plan their escape.
The amount of detailing and effort in the underground city shows that the builders were intentional about everything in its proper place. For instance, the wine cellars were designed with wall shelves to hold various wines.
Next to the wine cellar was the cold room storage where foodstuff and other groceries were kept. From the designs, one can easily deduce that whatever they were planning was long term.
The walls of the underground city have been blackened over the years by the flames from torches. This is particularly innovative because the alternative would mean they’d be bumping into each other.
It goes to show how inventive humans can be with fewer resources. The inhabitants of Derinkuyu could locate their living quarters, shop for items, and organize meetings throughout their stay by using flame torches.
While constructing the hidden city, the residents must have thought about how they would get water. They dug underground shafts 55 meters deep (about 180 feet) to link up with underground water systems. The well was designed to supply the residents underground and be cut off from the surface.
The water supply from the shaft was regulated underground. It was designed in such a way that the lower floors of the hidden city would be able to cut off supply to the surface to prevent enemies from poisoning the water.
Derinkuyu was prepared for just about anything, as the passageways led to schools and other training complexes. This meant the builders thought about staying there for extended periods of time.
And, in that eventuality, their kids were going to be taught just as they were taught on the surface. So, at a scheduled time, the kids would bathe and get dressed up for school underground.
Place of Worship
Derinkuyu is also noted to have several underground chambers designed to be places of worship. Thus, the inhabitants with religious inclinations gathered at the various chambers for worship.
It is important to remember that different people at different points in time have lived in the hidden city to protect themselves. Thus, while the massive city underneath the surface once featured churches, when the Muslim Arabs occupied it, they may have tweaked them a bit.
As earlier mentioned, the city was constructed with up to 18 levels. So, how did the inhabitants move from one level to the next? Well, with the aid of vertical staircases.
There are totally nonexistent in modern architecture nowadays. But in the old days, people who needed to enter a new floor would have to create vertical stairs on the wall. They’d create a depression on the walls for their feet and hands to fit in and create more as they climb upwards. Rock climbers also do the same but with high-tech tools and gears. These sorts of stairs are hazardous.
Other underground cities?
Derinkuyu isn’t the only hidden underground city in the Cappadocia area of Turkey. The terrain is home to over 250 subterranean cities carved out of tuff. These cities did not bear semblance with Derinkuyu but shared similar features like churches and meeting rooms.
In 2013, Turkish archeologists discovered a new Cappadocian underground city located Byzantine hilltop castle in the same Nevşehir Province. The site is estimated to be larger than Derinkuyu with early measurements.
Open to the Public?
The hidden city of Derinkuyu, located under this man’s basement, is currently open to public visit. It has been slightly improved with lighting on passageways and chambers for efficient illumination.
However, it is noted that only 10% of the hidden city is accessible to the public due to safety reasons.
So, the next time you knock down the wall of your home for remodeling and renovations, who knows what you just might find?