Underground cities in Cappadocia
In the 7th century, Christians who had settled in this region were faced with Arabia and Sassanid
attackes, as well as increasingpressure from the Byzantine Empire. In order to preotect themselves,
they made use ıf the soft texture of the volcanic rocks by cutting out underground cities. These
cities, which are enteres hrough a narrow passage, are made up of various rooms and halls with
diffrent functions. With air vents and cisterns, air and water suppliers were assured. The passages
leading outside were sealed with stonesshaped like millstones which turned on pivots.
Situated in Nevşehir’s regions of Kaymaklı, the Kaymaklı Underground city is made into form of
apartment buildings. On each floor of this seven –storeyed city, there are rooms depots, a kitchen
and a chuch all connected to each other by narrow passages. The city has been lit today and is open
to visit.Derinkuyu Underground city, in the Derinkuyu area, is 85m deep with seven storeys. In comparison
to Kaymaklı Underground City, the rooms are here more larger. The rooms and floors are connected
by angular and staired corridors while the air vents and cisterns are also connected to each other The
choir section of a cross –plan church on the lowest floor is situated around well. There are a depot ,
kitchen and bedrooms on each floor. The entire underground area has a capacity big enough to
shelter a large community.
The Özkonak underground city in the Özkonak area of Avanos, is in a similar form and has the same
characteristic as the other two cities. This many-storeyed city has also been lit.
The Mazi underground city has also been open to visitors for past few years.
Underground Cities lost their significance after 12th century. Ath this time Christianity was widely
accepted in Byzantium, but the most important factorwas that Turks, who by now had come to this
region, allowed Christians to practise their religion freely.