Work begins in massive underground city in central Anatolia
DHA PhotosA massive underground city, which was discovered last year in the central Anatolian province of Nevşehir and was the year’s biggest archaeological discovery, is being cleaned with a geo-radar machine.
Work has begun around the Nevşehir Fortress, carried out by the Nevşehir Municipality in collaboration with Turkey’s Housing Development Administration (TOKİ), the Governor’s Office and the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
The geo-radar machine is able to determine all gaps and structures up to 10 meters below the surface, accurately mapping out the underground city.
The data collected by the machine, which is operated by a technical team of three people, is then delivered to the excavation team. Thanks to data from this machine, the excavation process is able to be carried out in a way which limits the amount of damage to the structures of the city.
Nevşehir Mayor Hasan Ünver said the cleaning process had started a few days ago and has continued non-stop. He said the world’s largest underground city was 113 meters in height and 460,000 square-meters in area and was very important for the future of tourism in Cappadocia, which is known world-wide for its Fairy Chimneys rock formation.
“The existence of this underground city, which consists of 11 neighborhoods around the Nevşehir Fortress, makes us very excited. We are using the latest technology in its cleaning. When the work is done, we plan to build places like boutique hotels, art galleries, handicraft centers, walking routes, a museum and meeting rooms in the underground city,” the mayor said.
Urban transformation project reveals the city
The underground city was discovered by a TOKİ urban transformation project. Some 1,500 buildings located in and around the Nevşehir fortress were recently demolished and the city was discovered when the earthmoving to construct new buildings started.
The city covers 45 hectares of the total 75 hectare plot within the urban transformation project, which began in 2012. The first galleries were spotted in 2013 and the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board officially registered the area. So far forty-four historical objects have been taken under preservation.
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.
The tunnels in the city are believed to have been used to carry agricultural products. It is also estimated that one of the tunnels passes under Nevşehir and reaches a faraway water source.
According to Ünver, other underground cities in Nevşehir’s various districts do not even amount to the “kitchen” of this new underground city.