Aydıntepe, Bayburt’s underground beauty
BAYBURT – Anadolu AgencyAn ancient underground city carved directly from the bedrock in the eastern province of Bayburt has become the most popular local attraction, while researchers continue their work to uncover the mystery of its creation and function.
The Aydıntepe underground city, which was discovered during construction work in 1988, is located two to five meters below the earth and is made up of galleries, chambers and wide halls carved out of the rock.
The chambers open up to nearly one-meter-wide and two-meter-high galleries, which themselves open into wide halls.
The one-kilometer-long galleries have conical holes, which are thought to have been used for observation or ventilation.
At the entrance of the underground city is a round-shaped stone 1.5 meters in diameter which was used to close the hole if necessary.
Why the Aydıntepe underground city was created remains a mystery.
Aydıntepe District Governor Yeliz Yıldızhan said that Bayburt had been home to many civilizations throughout history and the traces of these civilizations were still alive in various locations around the city.
Yıldızhan said one of the best indicators and remains of these civilizations was in Aydıntepe, and that the district was like a “two-floor city” because of the underground city stretching beneath the district’s center.
He said the Aydıntepe underground city was found by happenstance in 1988, adding, “It was taken under protection by the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board and excavation works have been carried out [at the site]. Later on, with the efforts of the Aydıntepe Municipality, a 1,200-meter part of the city was opened to visitors.”
Yıldızhan said the underground city continued to keep its mystery, and continued:
“The most important feature of the city is that it was created without using any construction material. It was carved out of the main rock. The opposing chambers, galleries, water ditches, observation spots, ventilation pipes and holes on the walls for lighting amaze us with the engineering and architecture skills of the era [it was created].”
Keeping a mystery
Yıldızhan said the reason why the underground city was built was not exactly known, and added, “It is believed that this was a place for sheltering during hard winters. It is also thought that it was a state dungeon. Only archaeologists’ work will reveal the reality of this underground city.”
He said the underground city was a unique tourism attraction in the city and was 100 kilometers away from the sea.
“But this city does not receive the attention it deserves. We want to focus on promotional work for this underground city so it can be known by larger masses. We want to use this place as a gallery for artistic events,” he said.