Kaymakli Underground City

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cappadocia has several underground cities and it was on my list of "must-do" things. These people carved such neat and whimsical homes in the rock structures and I adored the geometric shapes they painted and carved for decoration. I was excited to see what these creative spirits built under the ground. 

We went to see the underground city of Kaymakli. It was bizarre. The city contains 8 floors underground, though only four are open to the public. There are 100 tunnels carved in the soft stone that connect many different types of rooms-- homes, storage rooms, wineries, stables, cemeteries, and a Christian church. The tunnels are very narrow and so low in places that you have to crouch to pass through. The city doesn't seem to have any order whatsoever. Tunnels, stairs, and door openings are all jumbled together. After a short while, I lost all sense of direction and depth. I couldn't tell which floor we were on and was thankful for the little arrows that pointed to our way out. I'm usually not one to get claustrophobic, but this city brought out some scary feelings, especially with the stuffy, moldy smell on top of everything else. What kind of people can live underground? I can't stand rooms with small windows, but NO windows? No fresh air?  It sounds so animalistic. Archaeologists say that the underground city housed 3500-5000 people, which blows my mind because the cramped tunnels are usually only wide enough for one person to pass. These must have been a friendly bunch, to live in such close proximity. Electricity has been wired through the tunnels and rooms since the city is now a museum (since 1964), but I can't imagine how wild it must have been in ancient times with no lights.. just fire. I tried to be brave and crawled down an unusually steep and narrow unlit tunnel using my camera as a flashlight. After about 20 feet, it continued with no end and I turned around, feeling like a chicken. 

Leaving the place, I was relieved to see the light of day and breath fresh air. I felt dirty and dusty and had a really bad image of these people in my mind. 

We found out later that the underground cities were home to persecuted Christians who were in hiding during Roman times, before Christianity was accepted. My perspective completely changed and I was humbled. 

- Julia

13 comments :

  1. so wild! what an experience!

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  2. WOW that is definitely amazing and to think they didn't have any electricty! That is so crazy and so brave of them to stand up so strongly for what they believe. Seeing and reading about things like this makes me so thankful for the religous freedom that, at least, the US get to have.

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  3. I find it so amazing that people could live like that but I'm not sure if I could ever visit one of these underground cities. I would feel so very claustrophobic and terrified of being trapped.

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  4. thats quite inspiring to know that many people lived in such cramped quarters for the beliefs, even better that you guys got to see it for yourselves. It does not look that small from the first photos, but once I see shot of Yuriy and you in side it really gives you a good perspective of how small it really is down there.

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  5. That's so amazing, I didn't know this and I went already 4 times to Turkey.. oops!

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  6. It's so incredible and encouraging to remember what Christians in the past have suffered, all for the sake of Christ

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  7. Glad you guys agree. We have it so good at this time in the States. Life is too easy.

    Renee- It's ok because next time you're in Turkey, you will definitely go. :)

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  8. wow,you just vitness the natural beauty around us. I also want to have such wonderful experience.

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  9. Really interesting post and photos!

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  10. Wow. Humbling. What an experience.

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  11. How humbling, so thankful for the freedom we have to worship the Lord... can't imagine how terrible the conditions were for the early Christians. Great post thanks

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing all of your journeys with us. I'm beyond inspired to get my next stamp on my passport as soon as possible.

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  13. This is amazing. Imagine all the digging.

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