The strong wind rolled the loose loess on the ground into the air. This is the famous scenic spot Lovers Valley, located in Cappadocia, Turkey. In the crimson canyon, pink and yellow hilltops can be seen faintly. Drought, heat, and strong winds brought Cappadocia endless barrenness, and at the same time, through special weathering, the tops of rocks and hills on the ground were polished into the shape of brush points. This unique scenery attracts hikers from all over the world. If the aboveground scenery of Cappadocia is a miracle of nature, then the underground buildings here are a miracle created by human beings.
A few chickens who went astray led people to discover an underground city
There are many underground cities in the Cappadocia area, of which there are two most famous ones, Derinkuyu is one of them, and it is also the largest and deepest underground city in the entire Cappadocia area. The deepest part of Derinkuyu is more than 85 meters above the ground, and there are 18 vertically distributed passages in the city. In its roughly 3,000-year history, it has rarely been uninhabited.
After sending away a batch of residents, Derinkuyu itself was lost in history, and it was not known again until 1963. This year, a local farmer discovered that the chickens he raised often disappeared inexplicably. He squatted for a while, but failed to catch the chicken thief. Finally, one day, he found the reason why the chicken disappeared for no reason: it turned out that he had rebuilt the house before, resulting in a crack that was not easy to detect between the wall and the ground. Following this crack, he found an underground passage.
Further excavations by the authorities have uncovered an intricate network of underground passages, with residences, granaries, cowsheds, schools and even a brewery between them. There are more than 600 rooms for living alone, which is equivalent to moving an entire town underground.
Throughout Cappadocia, more than 200 underground cities of various sizes have been discovered. These dungeons are connected by passages, forming a huge network of dungeons.
Many buildings above ground in Derinkuyu have entrances to the ground
Uncover the Dungeon
Exactly who built these dungeons remains a mystery to this day. Some scientists speculate that the original builders may have been the Hittites who were good at fighting. They may have dug out the layers closest to the ground in Derinkuyu 3,200 to 3,500 years ago. Hittite artifacts found at Derinkuyu are one of the strong evidences for this hypothesis. The enemies of the Hittites, the Phrygians, may have expanded the area extensively after taking over the area. The Phrygians were famous “architects” of the Iron Age. During their life in Western Anatolia, they built towering rock walls and numerous monuments. Therefore, they are fully capable of building complex underground facilities, and Derinkuyu is indeed located within their former rule.
Originally, the Derinkuyu underground city may have been just a hidden warehouse for storing supplies, which was used to store food and supplies when the enemy attacked. Cappadocia has witnessed the rise and fall of several dynasties. The change of regime and years of wars make underground warehouses like Derinkuyu especially necessary-the underground city can be used as a short-term refuge.
blocking stone for defense
Map of Derinkuyu Underground City
After entering the dungeon from one of the entrances, the passage becomes narrow and winding. After descending to a certain depth, we came to the main channel. The passages of the Derinkuyu underground city embody the wisdom of the builders. Only one person is allowed to enter the narrow passages at a time. Although this design reduces the efficiency of the underground city, it also prevents intruders from flooding in. There is a huge round boulder weighing half a ton at the junction of two adjacent passages. The design of the junction is wide inside and tight outside, so that the boulder can only be pushed away from the inside (the inside can accommodate several people at the same time, and they can push the boulder away with their joint efforts. , and only one person can be accommodated on the outside). There is a hole in the center of the boulder, which is convenient for the defender to stab the intruder with a sharp weapon.
There is a chimney at the top of the channel. Thanks to the porous and loose nature of the sandstone, when the smoke generated by the residents of the underground city from cooking fires passes through the chimney to the ground, most of the solid particles in the smoke have been absorbed by the sandstone, so no obvious cooking smoke will be produced on the ground. These chimneys can both exhaust smoke and ventilate, and also play a role in filtering cooking smoke. More than 50 chimneys leading to the ground allow the air to circulate in the Derinkuyu Underground City.
In the underground city, people also found a large number of wine-making utensils and clay pots for wine. Compared with the ground, where the temperature difference between day and night is large, the underground city is not only shady and cool, but also has a stable temperature, which happens to be the most suitable environmental conditions for the reproduction of wine yeast.
Derinkuyu in the Byzantine period has developed into a large-scale underground city with 18 floors, covering a total area of 445 square kilometers, and can accommodate more than 20,000 people living in it. Although there are many entrances and exits in the Derinkuyu Underground City, these entrances and exits are very hidden.
An underground underground river in the underground city ensures that the residents of the underground city can obtain drinking water and discharge domestic waste water. Even if the dungeon is captured by the enemy, the designer of the dungeon has long thought of a way out: on the third floor of the dungeon, there is a passage about 8 kilometers long that can directly lead to the adjacent dungeon.
The entrances and exits of the dungeon are set up to be extremely hidden
Anatolia – a meeting place of civilizations
Cappadocia is located in Anatolia, namely Asia Minor. The geographical location of Anatolia is very important: it borders the Black Sea in the north, the Aegean Sea in the west, the Mediterranean Sea in the south, and the Armenian Plateau in the east. Because of its important role in connecting Europe and Central Asia, Anatolia has been a A strategic location coveted and contested by various forces.
Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty sent Zhang Qian to the Western Regions to open up the overland passage starting from the capital Chang’an (now Xi’an), passing through Gansu and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, going to Central Asia and West Asia, and connecting countries in the Mediterranean. About 8000 kilometers. It took about a year for ancient caravans to travel from Chang’an to Rome, and Anatolia’s position on the Silk Road was equivalent to the stop before entering Rome. Anatolia is historically a fusion area of Eastern and Western civilizations. The Hittites, Phoenicians, and Greeks all immigrated here. The culture of Mesopotamia, the thought of Mesopotamia and the Aegean Sea A new spark of faith collided here. Anatolia is the intersection of different civilizations and is regarded as one of the important bridges for Asia-Europe exchanges.
In the 4th century AD, Emperor Constantine ordered the construction of Constantinople on the site of the Byzantine city established by the ancient Greeks, marking the rise of the Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire) in Anatolia. The Byzantine Empire and the Tang Empire were the two most powerful empires in Eurasia at that time. They controlled and influenced the “Mediterranean-Central Asia” and “East Asia” respectively.
Although the Byzantine Empire was very powerful, its superior geographical location made it coveted by the Umayyad Empire and the Abbasid Dynasty in the south. During the Arab-Byzantine Wars, the Anatolian region became a frequent target of Arab cavalry attacks. During the 13th and 14th centuries, the iron cavalry of the Mongolian Empire attacked Anatolia frequently. As one of the important passages connecting Europe and Asia, farmers in Cappadocia are often targeted by foreign troops. Although the open plains and rolling hills cannot stop the cavalry of foreign troops, nor can they provide shelter for local farmers, but the relatively soft tuff in the Cappadocia region allows local residents to dig huge underground cities underground to avoid enemies. . This is the historical background of the large number of underground cities in Cappadocia.
If these underground cities are really the masterpieces of the Hittites, they have a history of 3,200 to 3,500 years; even if they were built by the Phrygians, they have a history of nearly 3,000 years. It has to be said that it is a great engineering miracle that such a large-scale underground facility can be built in ancient times with low productivity.
After Derinkuyu sent away the last batch of occupants, its existence was almost forgotten by the world until a few chickens who went astray brought the underground city back to people’s sight.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire (that is, the Byzantine Empire) continued for many years
The rock mass of Derinkuyu Underground City is mainly tuff. Tuff is a kind of pyroclastic rock with loose and porous structure and rough texture. Common types of detritus are rock debris, crystal debris, glass debris and volcanic dust.