Friday, June 25, 2010

We Can be Happy Underground...in Cappadocia


There are real dungeons in Turkey.  Or at least, there are the sort of underground environments gamers would call "dungeons"--over 200 underground cities, containing a minimum of two levels, known to exist in the Eastern Anatolian region of Cappadocia. 

The cities have had a series of residents, apparently, but the delving got started with the Phrygians (they of the Smurfish caps) in the Bronze Age.  They were later expanded by persecuted Christians hiding out from the Romans.

The largest of the cities is Derinkuyu ("Deep Well") which has 11 levels, extending to a depth of 85 m.  The city covers an area of 4 sq. km and was able to house 20,000.  Here's a cross sectional map in true old school style (with bonus indecipherable writing in the ancient tongue known as German):


The other prominent site is Kaymakli.  It's smaller, and differs in structure from Denrinkuyu.  It's tunnels are narrower, lower, and have a steeper incline.  The overall layout is more labyrinthine--with a number of deadend tunnels--possibly to confound intruders.  It has seven levels, though only four are now open. 


In preparing this post, I found an article from Dragon #201 by Allen Varney on these cities on his website. He gives some great description from actually visiting there.

9 comments:

Risus Monkey said...

My wife has been there and it has been on my "must" list of place to see for some time. I had never actually seen images and that old school map is pretty awesome.

We need more real-life dungeons!

Speaking of real life dungeons, have you ever read that Outside Magazine article about the tunnels under Moscow? Check it out: http://outside.away.com/magazine/0997/9709under.html

bliss_infinte said...

Nice! Anyone up for a delve?

Jay said...

Wow, it just needs to be stocked and it's ready to roll!

Trey said...

@Risus - It does look like a cool place doesn't it? Thanks for the link.

@Bliss and Jay - Yeah, we need treasure and monsters (low hit dice, hopefully) before we go. I'm only in it for the experience. ;)

ancientvaults said...

One of us needs to win the lottery...I volunteer.

I think I saw this on one of those Discovery channel shows about underground worlds, it looked pretty awesome.

Brian Lujan said...

I wonder if those connect with this http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/photogalleries/giant-crystals-cave/ on the 11th level

Trey said...

@ancientvaults - Or maybe we just need a good treasure haul closer to home first. ;)

@Brian - Wow. Probably a gate to the Elemental Plane of Earth somewhare in there.

richard said...

So I did a search for "Kaymakli map" and you came up in the top 10 hits: small world...

I've been there. It is, indeed, astonishing: worth the cost of a trip to go and see it, and the tufa-cut houses around Goreme, and the "sunken palace" (yerebatan serayi) in Istanbul, and......

On the same trip I saw the Yellow Caravanserai between Goreme and Konya. In those days I hadn't been taught to cast a critical eye over how it had been restored or what functions it served or any of those other imagination-killing things, and I still think that, if I were to write a novel, it would begin or end there.

Trey said...

I'm jealous--it seems like a really interesting place. Very evocative.