Underground city in Bayburt looking for promotion
BAYBURT – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotosA trip to Cappadocia is rarely complete without a descent into the underground city of Derinkuyu. But while it and other similar subterranean settlements have acquired a fame that extends even beyond Turkey, the underground city of Aydıntepe in northern Turkey remains far off the tourist trail.
“We need to promote this place well. We are in the Black Sea region within the scope of the Green Road project. If we can be included in tour operators’ programs, we believe that it will make great contributions to our promotion. This year more than 8,000 people visited the city. We want to increase it to 15,000,” said Aydıntepe District Governor Yeliz Yıldızhan, noting that the underground city was one of the most important tourism attractions in the region.
The Green Road project is an undertaking to connect the highland areas across the Black Sea region that has attracted anger from locals concerned that it will destroy the environment and their way of life.
The Aydıntepe underground city, which was coincidentally discovered in the northern province of Bayburt, dates back to 3,000 years ago.
Yıldızhan said the underground city’s wall figures and tombs showed that the city dated back to the late Roman or early Byzantine era.
The 3,000-year-old city, located directly beneath a residential area in the Aydıntepe district center, was discovered during preparations for construction.
“Although this place has a history of 3,000 years, its discovery was a coincidence. It was found when a construction site collapsed in 1988,” said Yıldızhan.
She said excavations had started after the discovery of an underground city. “First, the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board approved the works there. Then the area was extended and now the underground city has an area of 1,200 square meters to visit. The most important feature of the Aydıntepe underground city is that no construction material was used in its establishment; only volcanic rocks were carved. It is made up of rooms and galleries.”
She said the underground city might have been used for mostly shelter.
“The mechanisms to close the doors of the city in entrance and exit, the shapes of the ventilation windows and the locations of the rooms show us that the city served as a shelter. Some experts say that people used this place as a settlement since the winter is so cold in the region. Of course, further examinations are needed to make these theories clear.”