Underground city in Nevşehir to partially open to tourism in July
NEVŞEHİR – DHA
Cleaning work is underway in the largest underground city in the world, which was discovered during the Nevşehir Fortress and Surrounding Urban Transformation Project works in 2014 in the central Anatolian province of Nevşehir.
Nevşehir Mayor Hasan Ünver said 100,000 square meters of the ancient settlement, which completely covers an area of 396,000 square meters, will open in July this year.
Excavations have been ongoing in the underground city for four years with municipal contributions, as well as with the contributions of the Culture and Tourism Ministry and academics of various universities, said Ünver.
Based on the findings of the excavations, the mayor emphasized the importance of the area as a settlement in Ottoman times.
“With the help of officials from the General Directorate of Prime Ministry State Archives, we have obtained hundreds of documents from the Damat İbrahim Paşa period to the first years of the Turkish Republic. Among these nearly 80,000 documents, we have found documents related to the waterways built at the time of Damat İbrahim Paşa and his wife Fatma Sultan and also the existence of a cistern in the region,” Ünver said.
“We have reached seven-kilometer-long galleries, unearthed a normal living space, as well as a 12th-century rock-carved church, a sixth century-monastery and mosque-like religious places, which date back to the Seljuk era. We have also found horse barns, where military horses had been cared for. In addition, we have found four oil houses and hundreds of tobacco pipes, made of meerschaum. Everything here is under our control,” he said.
The underground city was discovered by a Turkish Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) urban transformation project. Some 1,500 buildings located in and around the Nevşehir fortress were demolished, and the underground city was discovered when the earthmoving to construct new buildings began.
The area around the underground city in Nevşehir is best known world-wide for its “Fairy Chimney” rock formations in Cappadocia, which is already a World Heritage Site listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“We plan to make great contributions to Cappadocia’s tourism by opening some parts of the world’s largest underground city to visitors in June,” added the mayor.