Kaymaklı Underground City - History and Facts | History Hit

Kaymaklı Underground City

Kaymakli, Central Anatolia Region, Turkey

Kaymaklı Underground City is a large subterranean city in central Turkey built by early Christians and part of a UNESCO site.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Kaymaklı Underground City

Kaymaklı Underground City is one of the most famous of the Cappadocia underground cities in the Nevsehir province of central Turkey.

History of Kaymaklı Underground City

Built as early as the 7th century BC, early Christians later expanded the elaborate labyrinth of tunnels and caves as a way of hiding from religious persecution, particularly during the Arab-Byzantine Wars. It’s believed to be the widest underground city in existence (meaning it’s not too terrible an option for claustrophobes), and spans over 8 levels although only 4 of these are open to the public.

Like all of these underground cities, the most impressive aspect of the Kaymaklı Underground City is the organised, structured and comprehensive nature of the complex. It had everything from living space, stables and communal kitchens to a church and a graveyard as well as being well fortified to protect its inhabitants. The Kaymaklı Underground City also has an inordinate number of storage rooms, which historians and archaeologists believe allude to economic stability and prosperity.

The site was first opened to the public in 1964, and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Incredibly well-preserved and maintained, only a fraction of the complex is currently open to the public.

Kaymaklı Underground City today

The complex is well worth allowing time to explore – most visits tend to take between 2 and 3 hours. It’s extremely popular with tour groups, so it’s worth visiting early in the morning, or around lunchtime when they’ll be otherwise occupied.

The tunnels are well-lit and spacious, meaning that even those who don’t necessarily like underground or confined spaces should feel relatively at ease.

Getting to Kaymaklı Underground City

Kaymakli is about 90 minutes drive from the city of Kayseri – happily, it’s also easily accessible by public transport. Head to Nevşehir and find the central dolmuş (shared taxi) stand – you should be able to hope on a service to either Derinkuyu Koop or Kaymaklı dolmuş and then hop out in central Kaymakli. These depart every half an hour from 7:30am to 7:10pm so you shoud have plenty of time to explore.