For centuries the soft volcanic rock of Cappadocia has made it possible for a man to carve a living space into the terrain. From churches to houses, this unique landscape is dotted with some of the most outstanding architecture, however, nothing inspires as much as the underground cities do.
It is believed that the underground cities of Cappadocia were initially built during the 8th and 7th centuries BC by the Phrrygians. There are around 200 cities in total in Cappadocia, we visited one of the most popular to be seen -Kaymakli.
In the 4th century, Christians in the Roman empire were facing religious persecution from the Romans. During their flight, the Christians found an escape to safe life in the region of Cappadocia.
Here they’ve built cave houses, and tunnels in the soft volcanic rock of the area. They’ve also expanded the existing underground city at Kaymakli to include churches, graveyards, stables, and schools.
The Christians used the city until the 14th century, and when the region fell to the Seljuk Turks, residents once again escaped to the safety of their underground cities. There are records that the town was used until the early 20th century by the Cappadocian Christians. It was finally abandoned around the 1940s and opened to the public in 1964.
Kaymakli has a depth of about 40 meters and is believed to have eight floors. Only four of the floors have been uncovered and made accessible to the visitors. The dipper you go the narrower the tunnels become and the ceilings seem lower and lower. Which is why the recommendations are that if you are claustrophobic, have anxiety or panic attacks, to return after the second level.
Getting to Kaymakli underground city is an easy 30-minute drive from Goreme town. It is also quite scenic, so don’t miss taking a slow drive while taking in the stunning surroundings outside your window.
Kaymakli Underground City is the second largest underground city complex in Cappadocia. In the most developed period the city counted around 3500 citizens.
The city gives you an exclusive sneak peek into the lives of Cappadocian Christians in the dark ages. Walking through the many tunnels and chambers in Kaymakli, you get to see the different features that made life in this underground city as usual as the life above the ground.
Other impressive features of the city are the massive round stone boulder sit in doorways leading to tunnels. Several men would roll the boulder across the doorway during an attack, lock the invaders outside and the city inhabitants inside.
The maze of tunnels and endless rooms carved deep into the earth are equipped with electricity for the comfort of visitors today.
After buying the admission ticket and going inside, you’ll notice red arrows showing you the way down and blue arrows to go up.
The first level used to be stables. The old inhabitants did this for few reasons. One is to avoid detection and invasion from others, by making them think there are only animals here and no people. The second reason is the smell.
When you go through different corridors and tunnels you can notice round millstone doors to block the passage. As you go deeper you’ll see a church, living areas, storage places, wineries, kitchen and ventilation shafts going all the way down.
Exploring the massive underground town makes for the most exciting experience. Don’t miss it out when you are visiting Cappadocia.
50 TL per person.
From April 1st to October 1st, the city is open between 8 am and 7 pm.
From October 1st to April 1st, it is open between 8 am and 5 pm.