Posted by Vi Warkentin on
Özkonak Underground City - discovered in 1972 by a local farmer. This ancient underground city is located approximately 14 km NW of Avanos, Turkey.
Underground cities in the region were carved out of the soft limestone and existed to help shield the inhabitants from invading armies. Entire cities lived beneath the earth in these carved-out caves complete with living quarters, stables for their animals, wineries, food storage and places of worship. It is said that this ancient underground city of Özkonak was large enough to house 60,000 inhabitants up to three months.
What makes Özkonak Underground City unique is that it was found to have a communications system of pipes to each of its levels while other large underground cities in the region did not.
Four floors of this underground city are currently open to view (I believe we saw the first two levels when we were there) however there are apparently ten floors reaching to a depth of 40 m.
Nearing the entrance to Özkonak Underground City while the town of Özkonak carries on daily life in Turkey.
Özkonak Underground City - sign at entrance, description and map of the underground city.
A look at some of the rooms that are carved out of the soft tufa (a type of limestone).
A closer look at the rolling limestone doors. Above the tunnels are micro-tunnels carved in the stone which allowed the inhabitants to pour hot oil on the invaders as them descended through the tunnels. Large rolling doors carved out of the limestone blocked tunnel entrances trapping the invadors with no place to go. Stones would then be placed on the ground to keep the stone doorway in place, unable to be budged.
Looking up through a ventilation airshaft and source of some light in the underground city. I found it easy to breathe in the tunnels - I didn’t find it damp nor musty in this underground city.A small niche carved in the stone (with a drain on the lower right-hand side).A corridor leading to the rest of the underground city.