Today, one of the area’s biggest attractions is Derinkuyu, a historic subsurface town big enough to have housed 20,000 people, with additional space for livestock and food stores. But the new findings suggest the recently unearthed settlement could be a third larger, suddenly making Derinkuyu look like a humdrum ‘burb.
The Telegraph reports, “Geo-radiation scanning suggests the multilevel settlement is the size of about 65 football pitches, and is likely to include living spaces, kitchens, wineries, chapels, and staircases.” Geophysicists estimate the site is nearly five million square feet (460,000 square meters) and think it contains corridors as deep as 371 feet. The scientists date the ruins back 5,000 years.
The site was found when a crew demolished 1,500 buildings on top of it, as part of an urban renewal project. But now Neveshir’s mayor wants to focus the city’s development efforts elsewhere.
From National Geographic:
“This new discovery will be added as a new pearl, a new diamond, a new gold” to Cappadocia’s riches, raves Ünver, the mayor, who wants to build “the world’s largest antique park,” with boutique hotels and art galleries aboveground and walking trails and a museum below. (The planned housing complex has been moved to the suburbs.) “We even plan to reopen the underground churches,” he says. “All of this makes us very excited.”
And, who knows—maybe the builders of the new housing complex will have hit upon some fresh inspirations, and soon the people over there will soon be living underground, too.
Larson, Samantha. 2015. “Archaeologists Unfold World's Largest Underground City in Turkey”. Smithsonian. Posted: April 7, 2015. Available online: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/ist/?next=/smart-news/archaeologists-unfold-worlds-largest-underground-city-turkey-180954895/