The Derinkuyu underground city is an ancient multi-level city in the Derinkuyu district in Nevsehir Province.
The underground city at Derinkuyu could be closed from the inside with large stone doors. Each floor could be closed off separately. It has ben said that the city could accommodate up to 20,000 but in reality it is supposedly able to support up to 100,000 people and had all the usual amenities found in other underground complexes such as wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, and chapels. Unique to the Derinkuyu complex and located on the second floor is a spacious room with a barrel vaulted ceiling. It has been reported that this room was used as a religious school and the rooms to the left were studies.
The largest of the Cappadocia underground complexes is multi-storey (18 storeys, 85m deep), with fresh flowing water, ventilation shafts and individually separated living quarters or apartments’, shops, communal rooms, wells, tombs, arsenals and escape routes. The complex was air conditioned throughout, with 52 air shafts discovered so far, one of which is 55m deep. Some of the wells were not connected with the surface, this was to no doubt stop dwellers from poisoning during raids.
The underground city at Derinkuyu is neither the largest nor oldest, but it fascinates as it is the deepest of the underground cities.
The name Derinkuyu roughly translates to “deep well” – apropos given the surface city lacked running water until only recently.
A declining water table created fears of water shortages in the mid-20th century; it wasn’t until 1965 the surface city finally received the infrastructure for running water.