When the protagonist of this story decided to start a small DIY renovation project to add more space to his home, he wanted to make some extra space in his house. His first thought was to increase the size of the basement.
He had no idea what he was about to find once he started digging the walls of his basement. It was supposed that this was going to be a simple renovation project to add some space to the house that had been within the same family for several generations. And after all that time, the house was starting to feel cramped and uncomfortable.
Living on a low income, he didn’t have the money to hire a renovation company to do the job for him. His plan was relatively straightforward: he’d knock down some walls in the basement to make space for a new room.
What he never expected was how this small project was about to change history. He started digging through the stone walls to open up some space when an opening began to appear with every chip. He quickly went to believe that he was uncovering a secret room that was part of the house, but his thinking couldn’t have been more apart from the reality.
As he continued to dig through the stone wall, he felt a soft, fresh breeze of air, which could be trapped in there for hundreds of years. Once the opening in the wall was big enough for him to crawl in, he reached for a flashlight and decided to step into the darkness.
As the man took his first step into the dark hole, his mind raced with thoughts about what he would find. The space he entered was narrow and empty. Disappointed at his discovery, he decided to go deep into the crevice further down, scared to see anything dangerous.
Turkey’s home to a lot of venomous species of spiders, snakes, and scorpions, so his fears were justified. He decided to go forward in his exploration of the strange room. To his surprise, suddenly, the crevice abruptly transformed into a narrow hallway that led into a cavernous room. What had started as a DIY project quickly turned to be a huge discovery.
Some subterranean hideout was carved into the volcanic stone that rested beneath the house. There was no doubt the room was man-made. There was no way that this could have happened naturally.
The stone appeared as if it was cut by humans a long time ago and that it had been worn down to the point that all the surfaces were smooth. Anxious to explore his new finding, he forgot about time and continued to walk, even when the exit disappeared from sight. The man continued to explore the room, moving from one corner to the next and mentally mapping his surroundings so he could easily find the way back.
He found another opening directly opposed to the door that he had entered, which led to a second corridor wide enough for one person to pass through. Next, the corridor transformed into a stairwell.
The ceilings were very low, so he had to crouch to continue going forward. At this point, he was sure that this was not a secret storage space or some cave, so he decided it was time to make his way back home and call the Turkish Antiquities authorities to help him discover the truth behind this amazing discovery.
It wasn’t long before a team of experts were called to investigate the mysterious discovery the man had done in his basement. When they got there, they weren’t capable of imagining how big this discovery was.
They had just found the lost subterranean city of Derinkuyu, a mythical lost city like Atlantis or El Dorado. Furthermore, they discovered that the city consisted of two different parts: an underground city and another one above the surface. The underground facility served as a protective fortress for the inhabitants of the surface when war desolated the land.
The city was constructed during the Byzantine era. During these times, the Arab Byzantine wars raged for over 400 years, as the Byzantines were under constant attack by the Muslim Arab Empire.
With time, the Byzantines were slowly annexed to the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, and underground cities like Derinkuyu were used to scrape the new Muslim rulers. There have been many theories about who were the ones responsible for building Derinkuyu. The most accepted approach is that it was built by the Phrygians during the 7th and 8th centuries.
As for the reason it was initially built, since the discovery back in 1963, many theories have arisen. Some say it was built as a shelter from natural disasters, while others claim that there’s evidence that suggests that the ancient city was built to hide from enemy invasions.
To this day, the identity of the man who made the discovery remains unknown. Yet now and then, a new entrance to the underground city appears, expanding its reach beneath the surface.