Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kaymakli the Underground City - Cappadocia, Central Turkey

Kaymakli is the widest underground city excavated in the Hittite period. There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia but we chose Kaymakli because it is the largest underground settlement in Central Turkey. The city consists of 8 floors but only four are open to the public since 1964.

The day before we went to Kaymakli, we had a short training of going down a real ventilation shaft in a deserted cave and climbing it again to reach one level to another level underground. It wasn’t an easy exploration but that was a worth experience. The ventilation shaft is a vertical well which resembles an elevator in an apartment that passes all floors. I must say that going down was easy for me but climbing was hard.

There were lots of bending and crawling in Kaymakli and best avoided if you have back ache or claustrophobia. Walking through Kaymakli I can imagine this place must have once contained many residents. The archeologists believe that Kaymakli had as many as 3500 residents!

The animal stable is situated on the first floor, the church and the grave on second floor while the kitchen, storage and wineries are on the third floor. Now you have to imagine these floors are layered deep down under the Citadel Hill of Kaymakli!

Levi, our guide briefed us in one of the halls
The kitchen
You need to bend and walk all the way through
Not for those with back pain
The levels are connected with shafts
A traditional toilet
Taking a break before we move on
Small narrow tunnels
A vertical ventilation shaft
Not a comfortable walk
An equipment for grinding probably

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