Travel

Spring Break: Turkey (Day 9 – Goreme ->Derinkuyu -> Goreme)

Main room, possible the kitchen in this underground city
Main room, possible the kitchen in this underground city

I can’t say that I ever heard anyone talk of visiting the underground city in Derinkuyu before we set out on this adventure around Turkey. So my reluctance to pay a guide to take us around was abated by the information he provided us. One of the largest underground cities was uncovered in Derinkuyu and has 8 level below the earth where the villagers in the Byzantine times would spent up to a month at a time hiding from possible threats from foreign armies. These underground cities were built with cleverly constructed ventilation shafts that allowed the city to stay cool during the summer and warm during the winter, showing that their level of scientific understand was well beyond what we could have imagined.

Trough for the animals
Trough for the animals

There were additional shafts built to allow animals to get into the city and stables and other holding areas to keep them safely tethered underground when necessary. Small escape staircase the size that only children could fit in were built-in case they should be discovered and would allow for the children to leave easily without treat of being followed.

Narrow staircases weave in and out of the 8 floors
Narrow staircases weave in and out of the 8 floors

In the food storage areas large circular holes were constructed as a precise debt and width that would allow food to stay cool and fresh for a prolonged period of time should they need to take cover for longer than expected. Small alcoves along the wall showed where oil would be stored to ignite as lighting until they ran out. While we were going further and further underground there was no indication that they air was becoming heavy and unbreathable. A strong indication that they knew exactly what they were doing and these vents worked wonders.

Circular door to keep out unwanted visitors
Circular door to keep out unwanted visitors
Wine storage
Wine storage
School room
School room
Second lowest level leading to the cemetery and church
Second lowest level leading to the cemetery and church

At strategic points throughout the city circular doors of stone, that could only be opened from one side, were in place to block out any unwanted visitors. They were so well prepared for underground living that even a school was a build below the earth to allow life to go unhindered while they were below the surface. Wine storage showed us how the people dealt with the darkness and depression that might come with shutting yourself away from the world for weeks at a time. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in an underground city like this. It’s sophistication astounded me and made me eager to learn more about this civilization.

Juice press, nice action shot of the juice flying out
Juice press, nice action shot of the juice flying out

As we emerged from the dark city a stand selling pomegranate and orange juice caught our eye and we were in for a delicious treat. With a heavy-duty press two women were serving fresh juice outside out their souvenir shop for a few Turkish lira. It was a great thirst quencher after the dryness of being underground for an hour.

Skilled cook working effortlessly to produce one meal after the other
Skilled cook working effortlessly to produce one meal after the other
The result of her hard labor and our lunch!
The result of her hard labor and our lunch!
Both cook and musician
Both cook and musician

Another restaurant has caught our eye earlier with an elder lady sitting on a table rolling out dough for fried “quesadilla-like” meals of cheese and spinach. We had to try some, it smelled so amazing and she looked expert. After the crowd died down the young, son of our chef, I would imagine, became the entertainment teaming up with one of his mates to play Turkish tunes for the on looking shoppers and dinners. We got so much culture out of this short visit!

Sign post showing us where to visit
Sign post showing us where to visit
Inside one dwelling
Inside one dwelling
No idea what this wheel would be used for
No idea what this wheel would be used for
Of course we climbed in as many things as we could
Of course we climbed in as many things as we could
What an amazing view if you lived in here
What an amazing view if you lived in here
A while city of caves
A whole city of caves

Our next stop of the day was back in Goreme, at the Zelve Open Air Museum, unlike our previous experience this was very well kept and had more restrictions to our going around. We were allowed to climb into everything but we were restricted by the 4pm closing time and forced to only cover half of what we would have liked.

Sad camel :(
Sad camel 😦
Looks like a rabbit, no?
Looks like a rabbit, no?
And this one looks like a camel, no?
And this one looks like a camel, no?

We decided to visit some of the more touristic spots while we had the time. There was a sad camel that I wished to set free, some small building to climb into, and rock formations that resembled animals. We encountered many more people here than in the rest of our travels, but were still able to climb in most of the structures.

Monkey C, monkey do
Monkey C, monkey do
Impromptu climbing lesson
Impromptu climbing lesson

The one of the places that we could climb served as a climbing lesson for MM. She got up, but couldn’t get down. So close by so far away from the ground. I understand that fear.

A restaurant to ourselves
A restaurant to ourselves
Clay pots holding our succulent beef dinners
Clay pots holding our succulent beef dinners
The chef and brother of our new friend, plays the guitar and sings for us after dinner
The chef and brother of our new friend, plays the guitar and sings for us after dinner

Last stop of the day was dinner with our new Turkish friend at his restaurant. We had meals cooked in a clay pot that we broke open after they were cooked. After dinner the chef came out and played us some song on the guitar and sang along. We did some Turkish dancing and a bit of music playing ourselves. A very lovely end to the night, as the only guests in a well-liked restaurant. What a jam-packed day!

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One thought on “Spring Break: Turkey (Day 9 – Goreme ->Derinkuyu -> Goreme)

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