Ozluce Underground Settlement

    This underground settlement which is located in the centre of the village of Ozluce, the ancient name of which was Zile, is on the Nevsehir-Derinkuyu road, 6 km south of the town of Kaymakli. 

Ozluce Underground settlement is different from the others in terms of its geological formation and architectural features. The underground settlement has tufa of different colors. There is only one floor in this underground settlement which has not been completely opened; however, it covers a very large area.

 At the entrance is a place with two intertwining arches made of basalt. Access to the main tufa stone can be gained through a 15 m long passage, made of rubble stone. The stone places, which lead to the underground settlement, are more recent than the rock hollowed places that form the underground settlement. At the end of this passage there is a millstone door which is made of hard granite and is 1.75 m in diameter. 

 Being the largest area in the underground settlement, the main space at the entrance consists of two parts. To the right of the main space are storage rooms, and to the left are living areas. On the sides of the long corridors are cell-like rooms and on the floor are traps


Ihlara Valley Offers An Evocative Visual Show For Visitors

Friday, March 2, 2007

   The Cappadocia region offers visitors a distinctly extraordinary landscape and stunning natural beauty stretching over an area of 15,000 square miles. The Ihlara Valley is one of those unique spots located in the region, luring a great deal of tourists from all over the world with its natural and historical legacy.

Aksaray Provincial Culture and Tourism director Hamza Zengin told the Anatolia news agency that the valley was one of the major tourist attractions in the region with its natural beauty, historical treasures and many churches.Noting that the valley was home to 105 churches as well as rock houses and temples constructed by early Christians, he said the valley was an ideal place for monks and priests for worship and seclusion at the time.

“The formation of the valley, underground cities with connecting tunnels and churches that date back to A.D. 400 are all very popular with tourists. The Ihlara Valley is beautiful throughout the year and remains among the most popular spots in the Cappadocia region,” said Zengin.The Ihlara Valley, formed after several eruptions of Mount Erciyes, is a 16-kilometer long canyon in the southern part of Cappadocia.

Cracking and collapsing, which occurred as a result of basalt and andesite lava from Mt. Hasandag’s eruption, created the Ihlara Gorge and running through they valley is the Melendiz River. 

What is unique about this valley is the ancient history of its inhabitants. The whole canyon is honeycombed with underground dwellings cut into the rock, churches from the Byzantine period and graves built into the valley’s walls, some of which are connected by tunnels and corridors. The valley proved to be an ideal place for the seclusion and worship of monks along with a hideaway and secure area for people during invasion.

The decoration of some churches can be dated back to the 6th and13th centuries and can be classified in to two groups. Churches close to the Ihlara Canyon have frescoes with oriental influence and those nearer to Belisirma possess Byzantine style decorations. Very few Byzantine inscriptions in this area can be read but a 13th century fresco in the church of St. George (Kırkdamaltı), the names of Seljuk Sultan Mesud and the Byzantine Emperor Andronicos are inscribed. The construction of new churches slows down after the Seljuk Turks’ conquered the area, however, church life continued until the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923.Some of the best-preserved frescoes in the Ihlara Valley can be found at the Agacaltı, Purenliseki, Kokar, Yilanli and St. George churches.


Cappadocia Derinkuyu Underground City

Cappadocia Derinkuyu Underground City                   

   The Underground City of Derinkuyu approximately 85m deep, is located on the road to Nigde, 29km from Nevsehir. Ten percent of the city is open to tourism. It was opened to tourism in 1969.The city has all the usual areas found in an underground complex (wineries, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, etc.) Unique to the complex and located on the second floor is a spacious room with a barrel vaulted ceiling. This room was a missionary school, the rooms to the left of this large room are said to be study rooms.

Between the third and fourth levels is a descending vertical staircase. This passage way leads to a cruciform floor plan church on the lowest level.

The large 55m ventilation shaft appears to have been used as a well. Not every level was able to protect the city dwellers from poisoning during raids so the shaft provided water if the outside world was not accessible.

Cappadocia Kaymaklı Underground City

 Cappadocia Kaymaklı Underground City                 

    Kaymaklı Underground City is contained within the hill named the Citadel of Kaymakli. First opened to tourists in 1964. The city is in the center of the town about 19km from Nevsehir, on the Nevsehir-Nigde road. In the village of Kaymakli,(ancient name was Enegup). Each house in the village was constructed around nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city. The tunnels are still used even today as storage areas, stables and cellars. Kaymali Underground City differs from Derinkuyu Underground City in terms of its structure and layout. The tunnels are lower, not as wide, and at a sharp decline. Of the 4 floors which are open to tourists, each the space is organized around the ventilation shafts in its area. This makes the designs of each room or open space area dependent on the placement of ventilation shaft or shafts.A stable to hold animals is located on the first floor. The lack of a lot of space in the stable could be indicative of other stables in sections that have not yet been opened. To the left of the stable is a passage with a millstone door. The door leads into a church. To the right of the stables are rooms or living spaces.Located on the 2nd floor is a church which has a nave and two apses. Located before the apses is a Baptismal font, and on the sides along the walls are seating platforms. Names of people contained in graves here coincide with those located next to the church, which supports the idea that these graves belonged to religious people. The church level also contains some living spaces. The 3rd floor contains the most important areas of the underground compound. It contains storage places, wineries and kitchens. The level also contains a very interesting block of andesite with relief-textures. Recently it was shown that this stone was used as a pot to melt copper. The stone was hewn for the andesite layer stone from within the complex. In order for it to be used as a melting pot, 57 holes were carved into the stone. The prehistoric technique was to put into each of the holes copper ore, about 10 cm in length, and then hammer each of them into place using a hard piece of rock.The copper brought was probably dug up from a quarry between Aksaray and Nevsehir. This quarry was also used by Asilikhoyuk, the oldest settlement within the Cappadocia Region.)Economic stability could be seen in the high number of storage rooms and areas to store earthenware jars in the wineries on the fourth floor. Kaymakli is considered one of the largest underground settlements in the region. The high number of the storage rooms in such a limited area appear to be indicative of the need to support a large underground populace. Currently only a fraction of the actual city is open to tourists.