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18th Aug 2023

Man finds entire underground city hidden under his basement

Steve Hopkins

The secret city was found to be 18 stories deep and capable of housing up to 20,000 people

One man got a little more than he bargained for when he took a sledgehammer to the wall of his cellar – he found an entire underground city.

The man, who has not been named, was doing a little DIY in Nevşehir Province, Turkey, when he uncovered a tunnel.

That led to another one, and then another.

Little did he know, but the man had unwittingly located the entrance to a huge underground city called Derinkuyu.

The story, from 1963, was recently shared by Instagram account called History Photographed, prompting a whole new audience to become infatuated with the strange turn of events. Photographs shared by the account last month have been liked over 370,000 times.

According to reports, the subterranean warren had been abandoned for centuries and on further inspection, was revealed to be 18 stories deep and capable of housing up to 20,000 residents. The secret city even contained chapels, schools and even stables.

It reached its peak in the Byzantine period (about 395 CE to 1453 CE), and extended to include wells and water channels.

While early uses were likely storage, it grew to the size it was for the purposes of defence.

While its origins are up for debate—some think it was built by the Hittes in 200 B.C, while others believe the Phrygians created it in 900 B.C.—most historians agree that Derinkuyu was used as a hiding place from enemies and conquerers over the centuries.

Early Christians lived there, fleeing persecutions from the Romans, and Muslims used it to hide during the Arab-Byzantine wars between the 7th and 11th centuries.

But whoever made it, knew exactly what they were doing. As Atlas Obscura points out, none of the city’s floors have ever collapsed.

Derinkuyu is now open to the public to visit, although only 10 per cent of the city is accessible.

Commenting under History Photographed’s post, people said the homeowner “should’ve kept it quiet” as he would have “had a great place to himself.”

“I wouldn’t have told a soul,” a second commenter added.

“I would have spent my life loving that piece of ancient history in peace and quiet.”

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