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Miles of tunnels are blackened from centuries of burning torches.

They were strategically carved narrow to force would-be invaders to crawl single-file.

An alternative suggestion has the Phrygians first building the tunnels later, between the 8 centuries BCE.

They explain the discovered Hittite artifacts as being remnants from the spoils of war.

During this time the underground city was known as Malakopea (Greek: Μαλακοπέα).

Early Christians used the tunnels to escape persecution during raids from the Muslim Over time the need for underground shelter in Cappadocia ebbed and flowed with different ruling empires.

Access points were blocked by large circular stone doors, up to 5 feet (1.5m) in diameter and weighing up to 1,100 lbs (500 kilos).

(The largest, , has been inhabited continuously since first constructed).The tunneling architects included thousands of ventilation shafts varying in size up to 100 feet deep (30m).An underground river filled wells while a rudimentary irrigation system transported drinking water.Less popular is the theory the underground city was the work of the Persians.Although no direct reference is made to Derinkuyu, the second chapter of the Vendidad (part of the Zoroastrian Avesta) includes a story of “ The oldest written reference to the underground cities of Cappadocia was by Xenophon in Anabasis.

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