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ARCHAEOLOGY >Massive ancient underground city discovered in Turkey's Nevşehir

Erdinç ÇelikkanANKARA

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An underground city newly discovered in Turkey’s Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir, which is located under the Nevşehir fortress and the surrounding area, may be the biggest archeological finding of 2014, which is soon to end. AA Photo

An underground city newly discovered in Turkey’s Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir, which is located under the Nevşehir fortress and the surrounding area, may be the biggest archeological finding of 2014, which is soon to end. AA Photo

With 2014 soon coming to an end, potentially the year’s biggest archeological discovery of an underground city has come from Turkey’s Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir, which is known world-wide for its Fairy Chimneys rock formation.

The city was discovered by means of Turkey’s Housing Development Administration’s (TOKİ) urban transformation project. Some 1,500 buildings were destructed located in and around the Nevşehir fortress, and the underground city was discovered when the earthmoving to construct new buildings had started.

TOKİ Head Mehmet Ergün Turan said the area where the discovery was made was announced as an archeological area to be preserved.

“It is not a known underground city. Tunnel passages of seven kilometers are being discussed. We stopped the construction we were planning to do on these areas when an underground city was discovered,” said Turan.

The city is thought to date back 5,000 years and is located around the Nevşehir fortress. Escape galleries and hidden churches were discovered inside the underground city.

Stating that they were going to move the urban transformation project to the outskirts of the city, Turan said they had paid 90 million Turkish Liras for the project already, but did not see this as a loss, as this discovery may be the world’s largest underground city.

Hasan Ünver, mayor of Nevşehir, said other underground cities in Nevşehir’s various districts do not even amount to the “kitchen” of this new underground city.

“The underground city [was found] in the 45 hectares of the total 75 hectare area that is within the [urban] transformation project. We started working in 2012 with the project. We have taken 44 historical objects under preservation. The underground city was discovered when we began the destruction in line with the protocol. The first galleries were spotted in 2013. We applied to the [Cultural and Natural Heritage] Preservation Board and the area was officially registered,” said Ünver.

The newly discovered underground city will be the biggest among the other underground cities in Nevşehir that have been discovered so far.

December/28/2014

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