Kaymaklı Underground City

In the Cappadocia region, one of the most interesting places the visit is the many underground settlements and Kaymaklı Underground City is the widest underground settlement out of these, and perhaps the most interesting one. Among all the other ones, it is also the most popular one alongside Derinkuyu Underground City. The city is built right under the hill called the Citadel of Kaymaklı, and it was opened for the public in 1964, and twenty-one years after that, in 1985, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Out of the eight floors, currently, four are open for visiting. The multi-chambered city contains a lot in itself; there are storage areas, sleeping quarters, kitchens, chapels, stables, and so on.

If you are after an adventure, if you love exploring, or you are the kind of person who would rather learn about history hands, then on Kaymaklı is for you. visiting this underground city will bring you everything you wish for.

Visiting Kaymaklı Underground City

Visiting Kaymaklı Underground City is a kind of experience you will not want to miss out on. The tunnels are works of art, especially when it is considered that they were all made by hand, with no electricity or today’s tools at the time. There are ventilatory shafts that reach beyond your line of sight, water wells, chapels, food storage warehouses, and wineries all waiting to be explored. Here is a list of the things you may expect to see on your visit:

-On the first floor, you will see the stables which were built there because of the difficulty moving the animals down the floors would have created. There are also houses here that each consist of a small area for the parents to sleep, with even smaller holes dug in next to them on the walls for the children. The houses on the first floor, closest to outside, belonged to the wealthier people.

-On the second floor is a chapel and a catacomb believed to have been reserved for the important people of the city. There are big and heavy locks on the doors on this floor to protect the citizens from the danger that could possibly come from outside. The locks weigh around 250 kilograms each. The underground city is also filled with traps and dead ends for the enemy, and a tunnel that connects to the Derinkuyu Underground City is also on this floor. 

-The third floor is perhaps the largest one and places like the food storage warehouse, the kitchen, and the winery are placed here. 

-The fourth floor is also home to more warehouses and kitchens. The tunnels leading to this floor are narrow and sometimes short. This was probably done to maximize the protection.

How Do You Get to Kaymaklı Underground City?

To Get to Kaymaklı Underground City, you should get onto a mini-bus (or a ‘dolmuş’ as they are called in Turkey) going to Nevşehir, from Göreme. If you ask the driver you are going to Kaymaklı, he will show you when and where to find the next bus. You can either take the right bus from the central Nevşehir bus stand, and finally get off when you see the Central Kaymaklı sign. The signs are well done; quite noticeable and readable, which means there will not be any cause for stress and confusion.

If you have your own car or you have rented one, it is a half an hour ride from Göreme to Kaymaklı and there are spots where you can park car. This is the recommended form of travel as it will be faster and save you the hassle of changing the ride both while arriving at the place and leaving.

Hours

Kaymaklı Underground City Hours change depending on the time of the year. During the summer period, which is from April 1st to October 1st, the place opens at 08.00 in the morning and close at 17.15 in the evening. During the winter period (October 1st through April 1st) Kaymaklı Underground City opens at 10.00 in the morning and closes at 16.00 in the evening. The booths where you wil be able to buy your tickets close at 18.15 in the evening in summer, and at 15.15 in the evening in winter.

The city is open for visiting every day except Monday.

Entrance Fee

Kaymaklı Underground City Entrance Fee is currently 50 Turkish Liras, but teachers and students are allowed to visit the place for free. An ID is required if you are visiting with your child(ren) under the age of eight as they might be legible for free admission. If you get yourself a Müze Kart, which is essentially a card that allows you to visit many museums free of charge for a year, you may also visit Kaymaklı Underground City for free. The prices for private tours etc. may vary.

Best Time to Visit

The Best Time to Visit Kaymaklı Underground City is around noon, between 12.30 pm to 13.30 pm. This is considered the best time for people who want to have a rather quieter, calmer tour because the usually large tourist groups tend to have their lunchtime between said times. In the evening around 17.00 pm is also a good choice to avoid the crowd and the large tour groups.

How Long to Spend

How Long to Spend in Kaymaklı Underground City depends usually on factors like if you are visiting the city by yourself, with a company, or with a tour group. Usually speaking, though, it should take at least twenty-five minutes if you are speeding through the place, and around an hour if you explore the underground city with its history and background.

History of Kaymaklı Underground City

The History of Kaymaklı Underground City dates all the way back to the Hittites and Phrygians and the ancient name of the city was ‘Enegup’. At around the 8th Century BC, the first caves were carved into the volcanic (so rather soft) rocks, and they are said to be done by the Phrygians. When the Phrygians were replaced with Greeks as the Roman language died out, their new inhabitants widened the caves, adding chapels and inscriptions according to their Christianity. 

Every republic added to the building of the caves on their own and the develop was constant, but the greatest expansion happened during the Byzantian era when Arabs raided at will, and the Arab-Byzantine Wars were happening. The main reason has always been the need for protection with the caves and this time was no different. 

Through a nine kilometers long tunnel, Kaymaklı Underground City connects to Derinkuyu Underground City. The city was later used by Christians, this time seeking refuge from Mongolians, and then Eastern Romans (called Rum by their Ottoman rulers). When the population exchange between Greece and Turkey happened in 1923 and the Eastern Romans left, the tunnels were abandoned.

What is interesting about the History of Kaymaklı Underground City is that the place has changed and adapted along with many civilizations. It is estimated that in its most crowded times, three thousand people lived down there in the tunnels. 

Further Information and Tips

There are a couple of important advices and Tipson Visiting Kaymaklı Underground City:

  1. If you are going on a tour of your own, be sure to hire yourself a private guide. The guide will help you understand the place better and prevent you from thinking what you are seeing is only a bunch of different types of rocks under the ground. A guide is your greatest bet for bring the underground city to life, and they can be found at the entrance of the city.
  2. If you are looking for a tour where you will not have to worry about transportation, entrance fees, timing, guidance and so on, a package tour might be what you are looking for.
  3. There are two package tours that include Kaymaklı Underground City and the first one is the Blue Tour. With the Blue Tour, you will also visit Soğanlı Valley and the old Greek town Mustafapaşa. The Red Tour is the other one and it includes a hike through the valleys before visiting Kaymaklı. These tours are recommended as they include the factors listed above at a reasonable price so you will not have to worry.
  4. There will be some claustrophobic areas down in the tunnels, but lighting will not be a problem. As the tunnels get narrow in places, there is a risk of hitting your head on the rocks, so watch out for them.
  5. The underground tunnels are colder than outside, so be prepared.
  6. The red arrows will take you in further the city, and the blue ones are pointing towards the exit.
  7. If you decide to, there are a lot of places to stay the night around Kapadokya and Nevşehir, so you won’t have to travel far. Still you shouldn’t forget to check for reservations.

İsmail Çamönü

Hi! I am Ismail. I am a digital nomad from Turkey. I lived in many cities around Turkey during my life and I am passionate about traveling. At Nomad's Guide to Turkey, I share travel tips for nomads, expats, and tourists who would like to visit Turkey.

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