Kaymakli Underground City: Hidden Wonders Revealed

Kaymakli Underground City is located in the region of Cappadocia, and it’s roughly 290 kilometers from the city of Ankara, the capital of Turkey. The district in which it lies is known as Nevşehir, with the closest city being the city of Nevsehir. All of our existing Turkey Tours and Combined Egypt and Turkey tours are fully customizable, so if this site is not already included in your preferred tour itinerary, it can always be added.

Nevsehir cave city in Cappadocia, Turkey at sunset - Kaymakli Underground City

Nevsehir cave city in Cappadocia, Turkey at sunset. Also known as Kaymakli Underground City.

Today the city has a population of around 86,000 people, while the district as a whole is home to about 118,000. As with most towns and cities, Nevsehir started off as a tiny settlement which slowly but surely grew over the years, during which time it had a number of different rulers. If you plan on traveling to Cappadocia while you are in the country, then we would highly recommend visiting this fascinating cave city. Many people who have visited would agree that it is definitely one of the top tourist attractions in Turkey.

7 Fascinating Facts About Kaymakli Underground City: A Journey Through Cappadocia’s Christian Legacy

  1. Ancient Origins: Kaymakli Underground City dates back to the Hittite era, around 2000 BCE, making it one of the oldest underground cities in the world.
  2. Multi-Level Structure: The city spans eight levels underground, although only four are open to the public. Each level served different purposes, including living quarters, storage rooms, and stables.
  3. Ingenious Ventilation: The city features an advanced ventilation system with over 100 air shafts, ensuring a steady supply of fresh air throughout the underground complex.
  4. Hidden Entrances: Kaymakli was designed with multiple hidden entrances and a network of narrow tunnels, making it difficult for invaders to navigate and providing a strategic advantage for its inhabitants. Many of the entrance way where sealed with massive circular stone doors weighing up to 500 kilograms.
  5. Self-Sustaining Community: The underground city had everything needed for a self-sustaining community, including kitchens, wineries, and even a church, allowing residents to live underground for extended periods.
  6. Stone Doors: Massive circular stone doors, weighing up to 500 kilograms, were used to seal off sections of the city. These doors could only be opened from the inside, providing security against intruders.
  7. Historical Refuge: Throughout history, Kaymakli served as a refuge for various groups, including early Christians fleeing Roman persecution and locals seeking shelter during invasions and wars.

Regardless of whether you have any interest in archaeology or not, this is a true gem of a place to visit.

Cappadocia Falls To The Roman Empire

In 333 BC during the reign of Tiberius, the Kingdom of Cappadocia was taken over by the Roman Empire, and this is essentially when people first started carving dwellings and churches into the nearby mountains. At that point in time, the Roman Empire was a pagan force which showed very little sympathy to those with alternative beliefs.

Kaymakli Underground City – A Safe Haven

The first people to start inhabiting the famous rock carved churches and underground complexes were the early Christians who were hoping to escape the wrath of the pagan Romans. Their arrival resulted in countless churches being carved out of the rock and cliffs. Many people carved their homes into the rock as well, while others set to work creating elaborate underground cities like Kaymakli Underground City

Both the churches and the underground complexes attract millions of people to the region who come to explore area. Some of the churches are spectacular inside, and many are beautifully decorated with carvings and frescos which are as vivid today as they were back then when they were first painted.

Cities like Kaymakli Underground City and Derinkuyu were also built for the purpose of defense, and some of the strategies employed would inevitably have resulted in the deaths of many unwanted intruders. These cities had to be secure because they were also used for storing valuable goods and commodities.

In addition to this incredible underground city, Turkey’s Cappadocia region a wealth of other extremely fascinating tourism hotspots as well, and for this reason, you will find that all of our current Egypt and Turkey tours include some time in Cappadocia, which is also known Nevsehir Underground City.

After The Arrival Of Christianity

Christianity was eventually adopted as the official religion of the Roman Empire during the time of Theodosius I, and for a while Christians could live without fear of persecution. Nonetheless, the Christians once again had need for places like Kaymakli Underground City when the Sassanid Persians began raids in 604 AD.

Later, in 647 AD, Christians were once again being persecuted, but this time persecution was coming from the Islamic Caliphate. When the Byzantine Empire later took over the region, an Iconoclasm policy was immediately enforced, and Christians once again had to seek refuge in the rock carved churches and fortified underground cities.

Inside The Underground Cities Of Cappadocia

There are a number of underground cities in the region, and first time visitors are often left in a state of amazement when they first get to see inside these underground complexes. Many are only expecting to see a few rooms and tunnels, but in reality, there’s far more to them than that. The Kaymakli Underground City for example, has four levels.

Kaymakli is unique compared to its closest neighbor, in that it has noticeably lower tunnels which are also considerably narrower. As far as we know, there are more than one hundred tunnels in Kaymakli Underground City, but so far only four have been opened for public viewing.

Of the ones which are, some are still being used even today. On the first floor visitors will find a stable; a church, and a number of rooms. In the second floor tunnel which is open, one can see more rooms and an even bigger church, complete with a number of graves. The third floor seems to have been reserved for storage and for a range of important activities, including wine making. There’s also an area that was dedicated to melting copper.

The fourth floor of Kaymakli Underground City consists mostly of storage rooms which are home to a huge number of pots and earthenware jars. There are so many of these that it’s led historians to believe the local population must have enjoyed a period of relative stability and prosperity.

Would you like to visit the Kaymakli Underground City in person, along with countless other fascinating attractions in the region and beyond? Take a look at our fantastic Egypt and Turkey Tours!

Must-See Attractions Near Kaymakli Underground City: Explore Cappadocia’s Other Hidden Gems

  • Derinkuyu Underground City: Another impressive underground city located just a short drive from Kaymakli, known for its depth and complex tunnel system.
  • Göreme Open-Air Museum: The Goreme Open Air Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring rock-cut churches, chapels, and monasteries with stunning frescoes.
  • Uchisar Castle: Uchisar Castle is natural rock formation offering panoramic views of Cappadocia’s unique landscape.
  • Pigeon Valley: Pigeon Valley is a very scenic valley known for its pigeon houses carved into the cliffs and beautiful hiking trails.

Kaymakli Underground City FAQ

Discover some of the most frequently asked questions about the Kaymakli Underground City, a remarkable historical wonder in Cappadocia, Turkey.

What is Kaymakli Underground City?

Kaymakli Underground City is an ancient multi-level city located in Cappadocia, Turkey, carved from rock and used as a refuge and dwelling by early civilizations.

How old is Kaymakli Underground City?

The city dates back to the Hittite era, around 2000 BCE, making it one of the oldest underground cities in the world.

How many levels does Kaymakli Underground City have?

Kaymakli Underground City spans eight levels, although only four levels are currently open to the public.

Can you tour Kaymakli Underground City?

Yes, you can tour the open levels of Kaymakli Underground City and explore its unique features, including living quarters, storage rooms, and ancient churches. We recommend visiting by way of a guided tour, such as one of our classic Turkey Tour Packages or one our our epic Egypt and Turkey combination tours.

What makes Kaymakli’s ventilation system unique?

The city has an advanced ventilation system with over 100 air shafts that ensure a steady supply of fresh air throughout the complex.

Why were massive stone doors used in the city?

Massive stone doors, weighing up to 500 kilograms, were used to seal off sections of the city for security and could only be opened from the inside.

Who inhabited Kaymakli Underground City?

Early Christians fleeing Roman persecution, among other groups, sought refuge in Kaymakli Underground City.

Are there other underground cities in Cappadocia?

Yes, Cappadocia is home to multiple underground cities, including the nearby Derinkuyu Underground City.

Is the city still in use today?

Some tunnels in Kaymakli Underground City are still in use today, though most of the city is now a historical site and tourist attraction.

How can I visit Kaymakli Underground City?

You can visit Kaymakli Underground City by including it in your itinerary on one of our customizable Egypt and Turkey tours.

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Last Updated on July 1, 2024