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Work begins in massive underground ancient city in Turkey

Archeologists discovered the city last year when construction workers were demolishing low-income homes in Cappadocia

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Work has begun at a site in central Turkey where an underground ancient city that may date back to 5,000 has been uncovered.

Archeologists discovered the city last year when construction workers were demolishing low-income homes in Cappadocia, a region of central Turkey.

The housing construction project reportedly has helped in discovering the site which is said to date back at least to early Byzantine times.

The underground city is believed to extend more than 370 feet below ground level and thought to be some 5 million square feet, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

It is thought to date back 5,000 years and is located around the Nevşehir Fortress. “Escape galleries and hidden churches were discovered inside the underground city,” the newspaper said.

A “geo-radar machine” began mapping out the city earlier this month in a bid to “determine all gaps and structures up to 10 meters below the surface,” the Turkish daily added.

National Geographic notes that a 300-year-old document citing the location of 30 major water tunnels in the area enabled scientists to discover the underground city.

“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,” National Geographic added.

Archaeologists believe that the underground city served as a hiding place by the residents of Cappadocia from enemies.