Derinkuyu Archaeological Site


Location: 30 km (18.6 mi) South of Nevşehir, Nevşehir Province Map

Open: May- Oct: 9am- 7pm daily

Nov- Apr: 9am- 5pm daily


Description of Archaeological Site

Derinkuyu (Greek: Μαλακοπή) is a town and district in Nevşehir Province in central Anatolia, Turkey. In the 2000 census, the population of the district was 24,631, of which 11,092 were in the town of Derinkuyu. The district has an area of 445 km², and the average elevation is 1,300 m, with 1,988 m Mount Ertaş as the highest point.

Located in the Cappadocia region, Derinkuyu is known for being the largest tourist attraction of the 37 abandoned underground cities in this region.

Derinkuyu is located 29 km south of Nevşehir, and its name means 'deep well'. Formerly called Melengübü, the site is believed to have been occupied since the 7th century, although some archaeologists speculate that it is older than Kaymaklı, another famous underground city in the area; since the first level may have been excavated by the Hittites around 1400 BC.

The underground city of Derinkuyu and its neighbor Kaymaklı are part of the Göreme National Park and rock sites of Cappadocia chosen by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1985.Notice the picture on the bottom left. The round stone on left served as a door in emergency. It could be rolled to block the narrow passage. It is close to impossible to open the door from outside. The hole in the middle could be used by the defenders to keep an eye on the possible invaders. There are several doors that guard the entrance to each floor separately.



The Greek soldier and historian Xenophon mentions the underground cities of Cappadocia in the Anabasis. In that account of the expedition of ten thousand mercenaries in the Persian Empire, in 399 BC he explains that the inhabitants of Anatolia had dug their houses underground and lived in accommodations large enough to house a family, their domestic animals, and the food supplies they stored.

The ease of excavating the volcanic soil in the area led the inhabitants of Derinkuyu to create a city with several underground levels, which was used as a refuge from the frequent invasions of Cappadocia, in the various periods of its occupation.

Modern archaeological excavations began in 1963, and have reached forty meters deep, revealing the existence of between 18 to 20 underground levels, although it is only possible to visit the eight upper levels. The rest is partially obstructed, or reserved for archaeological and anthropological research. It was opened to visitors in 1969 and to date only ten percent of the underground city is accessible to tourists.

Inside the city, you can see stables, dining rooms, rooms for worship, kitchens (still blackened by soot from homes), wine presses, cellars, water cisterns and living areas. The city has water wells and communication galleries.

In total, 52 ventilation shafts have been detected. It is estimated that these facilities were sufficient to shelter ten thousand people. The labyrinth of corridors also has three strategically selected points, whose access could be blocked by moving the adjacent rocks; thus preventing the entry of intruders. In addition, the city has a tunnel almost 8 km long, which is believed to have connected it with the neighboring underground city of Kaymaklı.



Niğde in the south of Derinkuyu district, located in the south of Nevşehir province; Kayseri, Yeşilhisar in the east; Ürgüp in the northeast; Acıgöl in the northwest; Nevşehir in the north; Aksaray province is located in the west.

Located on the Niğde-Nevşehir highway, the district is 30 km from Nevşehir, 50 km from Niğde, 110 km from Kayseri and 80 km from Aksaray, and the district has a direct highway connection to all of these provinces.

The district's surface area is 445 km² and its altitude is 1,300 meters.

District; It is located in the Misli Plain, which is in the form of a volcanic bowl between Erciyes, Hasan Mountain and Melendiz Mountains. The soil is sandy and the effects of erosion due to the end of volcanic activities and rain and wind are quite strong. The land is generally flat and there are no forest areas.

There are extensive underground water resources in the district, which has no streams or lakes.

The vegetation is a steppe consisting of thin grasses that bloom with spring rains and dry out in mid-summer.

Hakkı Atamulu Culture Park, one of Turkey's most interesting groves and artistic parks, is also located here. There is a huge Ataturk statue. Tourism is developing, agriculture and animal husbandry are the most important sources of income.