About Derinkuyu Underground City
Derinkuyu Underground City is an immense underground city built by the ancient Phrygians between the 7th and 8th century BC, located in the Cappadocia region of modern Turkey.
The underground city of Derinkuyu has 18 levels, the lowest at about 85 meters in depth, and was large enough to sustain a population of 20000 people with its large storage rooms, stables, cellars, and other amenities like water wells and ventilation.
Derinkuyu’s underground city was continuously used as a shelter during the many wars, raids, religious persecution, and instability in the area by the original Phrygians and then the local Christian population of Cappadocia.
And what’s cool about the Derinkuyu Underground City is that it was also connected to the Kaymakli Underground City via a 9 km-long underground tunnel, which is only one of the hundreds of other underground cities in Cappadocia.
While not the largest, Derinkuyu Underground City is the deepest discovered underground city in the world.
Today, you can only access about 10% of the Derinkuyu Underground City, down to the 8th level. But that’s more than enough to understand the scale and complexity fully.
How to get to Derinkuyu Underground City?
Derinkuyu Underground City is easily reachable from Nevsehir, Goreme, or Uchisar in Cappadocia by car in about 40 minutes.
You can visit the Derinkuyu Underground City by yourself or join one of the organized tours, which usually includes a visit to the Ihlara Valley.
We drove to the underground city of Derinkuyu with our rental car one morning from Goreme and got there in about 40 minutes.
Derinkuyu Underground City tours
Many tours visit Derinkuyu Underground City as part of their itinerary, and the most famous one is the Cappadocia Green Tour which also includes a visit to Ihlara Valley.
Book your Cappadocia Green Tour: GetYourGuide | Viator | Klook
And if your schedule is tight and you only want to visit the highlights of Cappadocia, like going for a hot air balloon flight, seeing the cave houses in the open-air museum, and visiting an underground city, there are tours from Istanbul offering just that.
Also read: Istanbul Travel Guide: Top Things To Do
When was Derinkuyu Underground City discovered?
The Derinkuyu Underground City was discovered in 1963 when a man renovated his house and found a secret passage to the underground tunnels behind one of the walls.
And that led to further digging and exploration of the area, confirming the presence of the big underground city beneath Derinkuyu.
Do people still live in Derinkuyu Underground City?
Derinkuyu Underground City is believed to have been home to around 20000 people during its heyday, and it’s been completely abandoned since the early 20th century.
Why was Derinkuyu Underground City abandoned?
Derinkuyu Underground City was abandoned because there was no longer a need for the current local population to use it, as it was last used by the local Christians, who were then part of the population exchange between Turkey and Greece.
What are the Derinkuyu Underground City opening hours?
The opening hours of the Derinkuyu Underground City are every day, Monday to Sunday, from 8 am to 7 pm in the summer and 8 am to 5 pm in the winter.
Is there an entrance fee for visiting the underground city of Derinkuyu?
The entrance fee for visiting Derinkuyu Underground City is 100 TL, or about $6, and the ticket is also included in the Turkey Museum Pass.
If you plan to visit several museums and archeological sites in Turkey, the Museum Pass is a great way to save money and time, as you can skip the lines.
Check out the Turkey Museum Passes at https://muze.gen.tr/MuseumPasses.
You can visit most tourist attractions in Cappadocia that require tickets with a Turkish Museum Pass.
Do you need to book a ticket for Derinkuyu Underground City in advance?
You do not need to book a ticket for Derinkuyu Underground City in advance, but if you’re coming at a very busy time, you will have to wait quite a bit for people in the tunnels, as many are narrow with only one person able to fit in it at once.
But if you plan to visit Derinkuyu Underground City on a guided tour, make sure to book your tour in advance to secure your spot.
Who can visit Derinkuyu Underground City?
Most people can visit Derinkuyu Underground City, except those with severe claustrophobia, physical disabilities, or the highly overweight, as the passages are narrow and many times you have to crouch to pass through.
Please note that Derinkuyu Underground City is not wheelchair accessible.
What is the best time to visit Derinkuyu Underground City?
The temperature is always stable inside, so the best time to visit Derinkuyu Underground City is anytime during the opening hours.
Since Derinkuyu is an underground city, the temperature is slightly lower than on the outside during hot months and pleasant during winter.
But if you want to avoid crowds, visit Derinkuyu Underground City right after opening because most tours arrive later.
What to wear for your visit to Derinkuyu Underground City?
You can visit Derinkuyu Underground City wearing anything, but we do recommend shoes with some grip, as it can be slippery inside on some parts.
Where to eat nearby?
In contrast to the abandoned underground city, the Derinkuyu city above ground is very well alive and can feed your appetite for delicious authentic Turkish food.
Make sure to stop by the nearby Derinkuyu Doyum Restorant for some tasty baklava, various pitas (meat and veggie), lentil soup, or kebab.
Our experience exploring Derinkuyu Underground City in Cappadocia
We visited Derinkuyu Underground City on a morning by driving from Goreme in about 40 minutes and spent about 1 hour and a half there.
There were some signs outside giving some basic information, but inside there was very little signage, and there was no audio guide available.
We only managed to pick up some interesting facts and local tales from the tour groups that were inside at the same time.
So if you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating site, we highly recommend getting a guide or coming on an organized tour.
It was super fun passing through the narrow and low tunnels, designed like that on purpose as the perfect defense mechanism.
And what surprised us the most was that there was even a graveyard part inside, which we had to access by crouching and walking through quite a long tunnel.
Honestly, it was one of our coolest experiences in Turkey, competing for top place with the Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon ride and Paragliding in Oludeniz.
It’s not often you can explore the rooms, kitchens, stables, and wine cellars that were used by people thousands of years ago.
Is Derinkuyu Underground City safe to visit?
Derinkuyu Underground City is a safe tourist attraction, and measures have been taken to secure it, and that’s why only one part of it is accessible.
No matter the general safety situation, we always advise against traveling outside your country without valid travel insurance.
We recommend the following for Turkey:
- Heymondo (get 5% off as our reader)
- SafetyWing (we currently use this one)
Is Derinkuyu Underground City worth visiting?
Derinkuyu Underground City in Cappadocia is such a great place to get a glimpse into our shared fascinating history, and it is definitely worth visiting.
We loved our visit to Derinkuyu Underground City, and we highly recommend adding it to your Cappadocia to-do list.