In 1963, a man in the Nevşehir Province of Turkey knocked down a wall in his basement and ended up discovering a gigantic underground city.
The man sledgehammered his wall and found a tunnel behind it, then he found more tunnels and then even more tunnels. As later explorations would show, it was an underground city up to 18 stories deep, complete with chapels, schools, and stables.
Known as Derinkuyu, the city had been abandoned for centuries. Construction of the city, estimated to hold up to 20,000 people, may have begun as far back as the 8th–7th centuries BCE, according to archaeologists at the Turkish Department of Culture.
A manuscript from around 370 BCE which possibly describes Derinkuyu mentions that the underground dwellings were about big enough for a family, domestic animals, and food.
The city came to its peak in the Byzantine period (about 395 CE to 1453 CE), when it was made into a labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, and rooms, covering 445 kilometers² (172 miles²). The network of tunnels and passageways contained concealed entrances, ventilation shafts (for not dying in your mole cave), and wells and water channels.
The underground city stretches for miles underneath the town, many of the 600 entrances discovered – lead to people’s homes.
How wild is this! If I had a secret door to an underground city…I would hang out in there all the time! Oh, and get myself a metal detector too!