The most thoroughly excavated of Cappadocia’s many underground cities, Derinkuyu spans an impressive eight floors, reaching depths of over 280 feet (85 meters). The subterranean labyrinth of cave rooms and tunnels is fed by a remarkable ventilation system and provides fascinating insight into Cappadocia’s troglodyte history.
A guided walking tour of Derinkuyu takes visitors underground to explore the excavated ruins, including the remains of stables, cellars, storage rooms, kitchens, wineries, and wells. The upper floors are reached by narrow, sloping passageways, while staircases lead down to the third and fourth floors, and the lowest floor houses a church. In addition to peeking into the gigantic ventilation shafts, visitors can see the defense systems and learn how food, wine, and even livestock were stored.
Derinkuyu is a popular inclusion on day tours of Cappadocia, often combined with a hike through the nearby Ihlara Valley or a stop in Pigeon Valley to admire the region’s famous fairy chimneys.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is an admission charge for Derinkuyu, and visiting with a guide is recommended, as very little information is provided on-site.
- Plan at least an hour to visit Derinkuyu.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes to explore the underground city.
- The narrow tunnels and small underground chambers can make navigating Derinkuyu tricky for those who suffer from claustrophobia.
- Due to the stairs, low passageways, and uneven terrain, Derinkuyu is not wheelchair-accessible. Some areas may be difficult to access for tall or large people or those with mobility issues.
How to Get There
Derinkuyu is located about 24 miles (40 kilometers) south of Göreme in south Cappadocia. It’s about a 40-minute drive from Göreme, and regular buses that run from nearby Nevşehir also take around 40 minutes.
When to Get There
Derinkuyu is open all year round, although opening times vary throughout the year. It can get extremely busy during peak season, when the quietest times to visit are early morning and late afternoon just before closing.
Cappadocia’s Underground Cities
It’s estimated that there are more than 40 underground cities dotted around the Cappadocia region, which vary in size from small ‘villages’ to vast ‘cities’ like Derinkuyu, which could hold up to 20,000 people. Many underground dwellings date back to Hittite times, but the most elaborate were constructed or enlarged during the Byzantine era and used as hideouts by the early Christian communities during the Arab–Byzantine Wars.