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A man tears down the wall of his cellar. What he finds behind it is incomprehensible.

Some people use their cellars to store bottles of wine or perhaps old family heirlooms. But in Turkey, without knowing it, this man had an entire city in his cellar. It was discovered in 1963 in Derinkuyu in the province of Nevşehir, located in Cappadocia. An old house was being renovated. During the work in the cellar, a wall was knocked down. Behind it was hidden a room that nobody knew about. When the men entered this chamber, they discovered an entire city !

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This marks the discovery of the underground city of Derinkuyu. Since then, 8 floors deep have been exposed. The upper levels are mainly living rooms and bedrooms, but much more is discovered as we descend into the abyss: a wine press, a monastery and even a church on the last level.

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There is also archaeological evidence to suggest that animals were kept there. The fact that people and animals lived there together without dying of asphyxiation is a testament to the ingenuity of their ventilation system. Archaeologists believe that about 20,000 people could be housed there. It is also admitted that only a quarter of the complex was discovered.

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There should be about fifty cities like this in Cappadocia. Derinkuyu is even connected to the adjacent underground city of Kaymakli by an 8 kilometer tunnel.

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One of the many theories about why Derinkuyu exists is that this underground city housed Christians during their persecution by the Ottoman Empire. The large stone doors, present in the main access tunnels, support this hypothesis.

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Other archaeologists, however, believe that Derinkuyu is much older and would have been built 4000 years ago by the Hittites.

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Now Derinkuyu has become a very popular tourist attraction.

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Whatever the origin of the underground city, the immense work involved in building such a deep tunnel system is staggering. If this mind-boggling mystery, which has lain dormant beneath our feet for centuries or even millennia, has captured your imagination, then share this incredible discovery with your friends.

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