I’ve found out history is a very popular topic in Turkey, and Kayseri and its surroundings are loaded with historical proof and stories. One of the most popular historical attraction is the Ağırnas area. The Underground City Ağırnas is included in the metropolitan area of Kayseri, but is a town with its own municipality. It looks like a village on the surface, but there many things to be discovered in the underground.
How to get to Ağırnas underground city and getting back to Kayseri
You can get there by bus or car, because it’s about 25 km from the city center of Kayseri. We took the bus, but heading back was a problem because there are not so many buses daily, and their schedule is fixed. Also there was a bit of a struggle getting bus tickets to get back. We ended up hitchhiking. That moment the car dropped us to a tram station in the city, was the moment I’ve realized we just got back from the middle of nowhere.
Stepping inside the underground city
After the bus dropped us somewhere, a place with not so many people around, we took a path on a small hill, where we found a gate. There we found our guide, which is now hired by the municipality. He told us he used to offer tourists his guidance for free, because he is very fond of these places, and loves this job.
These structures of the underground city are both well-known and at the same time extremely mysterious because almost no written records have survived to provide information about what went on inside them.
Why were the underground cities created?
The excavations are far from being finished, so there are much more to be revealed about the Christians who lived there to hide themselves from the roman persecution.
This is one of the hundreds underground cities from Cappadocia.
The most known underground city is Derinkuyu, but the looks are very similar among all of them, all having numerous tunnels, halls, meeting rooms, wells and passages.
The region is well known for its unique topography. In the past, when the local volcanoes were still active, they covered the area with a thick layer of ash, each time they erupted. But this rock-looking-like ash is soft. That is why ancient people began to carve the soft ash rock into tunnels and rooms to be used as residences, storage, stables and religious temples.
The structure of the underground city
The underground city is more like a network of tunnels, linking from one room to another, each room having a predefined purpose.
The kitchen had an oven in the floor, for cooking bread and the dining room was equipped with a place to sit and a table (sculpted in the rock). The place where they kept the animals had special places to tie them and there is a whole in the wall to store the food.
The rooms were sculpted of different size, depending of the purpose. Big rooms were colder, while the smaller ones offered the comfort of a warm place during cold weather.