Turkey Underground City with video

Travel through an underground city in Guzelyurt in this Equitrekking travel video

by Darley Newman

In the small village of Guzelyurt, we rode horses through a more colorful part of the village, paying attention to the intricate carvings on some of the homes. Many of the homes in the village are made of stone and built above or in front of caves carved out of the rocks. People use these caves to store food. The caves are nice and cool, so many people in this village use them instead of modern refrigerators.


Part of the village is built upon an underground city, dug out of the rocks by Christians centuries ago. In these vast underground caves, early Christians hid to avoid persecution. We left our horses outside of the underground city and ventured inside, clamoring through various cool caves lit by fluorescent bulbs. In the kitchen, with its charred ceiling and various indentations in the floor which were used for storage, Ahmet described what daily life was like for the people who lived underground. They were very resourceful.

This little adventure through the underground city is not for the claustrophobic, as you are climbing underground through sometimes small passageways. We only went two stories down. Some cities extend down several floors and were built to hold tens of thousands of people. Many of the cities, which are sprinkled throughout Cappadocia, have not been fully excavated.

Two floors underground, I used my flashlight to stare down what looked like an endless well. Suddenly, the power in the entire underground city went out. For a few seconds, I freaked. As you could imagine, you don’t want to walk around a dark series of caves with indentations and holes in the floor that drop further and further down IN THE DARK! I had already hit my head trying to quickly pass through a smaller passageway on floor one. 

Our crew used our one flashlight and the light on our camera to find each other and begin to climb up out of a narrow shaft in the ceiling to a higher floor. There, a a bit of light shone through an airhole that led to the outside world. In the dark, I could really imagine people hiding quietly in this cave when it was dangerous above and how scary that would have been.

Safely back on our horses and with the lights in the underground city fixed, we headed towards Guzelyurt’s main square, where the town’s men sit and drink tea and play backgammon. I would spend tonight in an old monastery, Hotel Karballa, and head further south to Turkey’s coast tomorrow. Cappadocia has been amazing, with villages and trails that are more exotic than I could have imagined.

Learn more about Turkey riding vacations at EquitrekkingTravel.com