Derinkuyu Underground City

Virginia had posted this on my page. Just imagine renovating your house and you find tunnels attached to it. It can happen everyday in Salem. It could happen in your house! One guy in Turkey in 1969 did just that. Not only did he find a tunnel behind the wall, but an ancient city that delves 18 stories underground. Salem deepest basement only goes 4 stories under the East India Marine Hall !

Tunnels inn Underground City in Turkey.

Derinkuyu Underground City is an ancient multi-level underground city of the Median Empire in the Derinkuyu district in Nevşehir Province, Turkey. Extending to a depth of approximately 60 m, it was large enough to shelter approximately 20,000 people together with their livestock and food stores. It is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey and is one of several underground complexes found across Cappadocia.

Stone Door closing off tunnels in underground city in Turkey.

The underground city at Derinkuyu could be closed from the inside with large stone doors. Each floor could be closed off separately.The city had all the usual amenities found in other underground complexes across Cappadocia, such as wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, tombs, 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 (fifth) level.

18 stories of tunnels in underground city in Turkey.

First built in the soft volcanic rock of the Cappadocia region, possibly by the Phrygians in the 8th–7th centuries B.C. according to the Turkish Department of Culture, the underground city at Derinkuyu may have been enlarged in the Byzantine era. During the Persian Achaemenid empire the city was used as a refugee settlement. There are references to underground refugee settlements built by the Persian king Yima in the second chapter of the Zoroastrian book Vendidad. Therefore, many scholars believe that the city may have been built by the Persians.[4] The city was connected with other underground cities through miles of tunnels. Some artifacts discovered in these underground settlements belong to the Middle Byzantine Period, between the 5th and the 10th centuries A.D. 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.

School in underground city in Turkey.

Hallway and stone door in underground tunnel in Turkey.

The tunnels were rediscovered in 1969, after a resident of the area found a mysterious room behind a wall in his home. Further digging revealed access to the tunnel network.Just imagine if you call in our team of tunnel experts with our small jackhammer what world you might find on the other side of your basement wall. There is rumors that the tunnel extends up Highland Avenue to Lynn, maybe not…but along the North River to the Crowninshield Tanneries in Peabody, possible.

If you have stories or think your home is connected to the tunnels, drop us a line at and we might add your house to our new book on the tunnels. Or we might add your story to this blog! Like the story of the woman who bragged about the food she cooked when in all reality her neighbor would cook it and smuggle it to her through the tunnel without anyone knowing! Share your stories!

For more about the tunnels in Salem read Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City. Also you can venture on the route of the tunnels and learn their history first hand by going on one of Salem’s best walking tours there is!  The Salem Tunnel Tour offers tours at various times throughout the week. Check them out today!


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