Underground Tunnels Leading To Byzantine City Found In Turkey

Underground tunnels recently discovered by construction crews in Turkey have led to the discovery of an ancient underground city.

National Geographic reported this week that underground tunnels located by construction crews in December, 2014, have resulted in an astonishing excavation, revealing an ancient underground city near a landmark known for their round, fairy-like ancient stone formations.

According to the Washington Post, in December, 2014 construction crews halted their work when they located the underground tunnels.

Several news companies reported on the discovery of these ancient underground tunnels in Turkey last December, but nobody had a clue how important that discovery would prove to be. The mayor of the area is “very excited” about the possibility of opening the world’s largest underground amusement park, complete with reopened Byzantine-era churches.

In a strange related news twist in Toronto, Ontario, an underground tunnel of a different type was discovered at approximately the same time. CTV news and the Toronto Sun recently reported about an underground tunnel. Rumors of what this tunnel might be about, especially with the upcoming Toronto hosted Pan Am games, caused a stir of questions about possible terrorism.

That tunnel was determined to have been built by a former construction company employee using equipment stolen form his work site. Rumors of “terrorism” were dismissed by Toronto City Police, who described the site as a ‘harmless’ ‘man cave.’

The value of this new discovery in Turkey has untold historical, archeology and academic implications. Underground structures, even antique and ancient underground tunnels, are truly discovered every day. There are 36 underground cities in the same region of Turkey. This site is unique in the information that the preserved architecture, artwork, and daily living objects provide for our understanding of lifestyle in the Byzantine era.

“In 2014, those tunnels led scientists to discover a multilevel settlement of living spaces, kitchens, wineries, chapels, staircases, and bezirhane — linseed presses for producing lamp oil to light the underground city. Artifacts including grindstones, stone crosses, and ceramics indicate the city was in use from the Byzantine era through the Ottoman conquest.”

This discovery will no doubt have a profound effect on our modern understanding of what “Byzantine” means and will add much to our ability to learn from and preserve artifacts from the Byzantine era.

[Lead Image by Murat Kaya/Getty]