Erzincan, Turkey

  • Date
  • 22 February 1999
  • Lodging
  • Buyuk Erzincan Oteli
  • Distance
  • 670 KM
  • Total
  • 9028 KM

Early morning drive to Cappadoccia, where underground cities in Central Turkey began 4000 years ago to protect against warriors passing above ground. Valleys between the Black Sea and Taura Mountain allowed soldiers easy passage to and from battle in Asia and Europe. Wisely, the ancient community moved below ground in wartime and above during peace – a perfect example of necessity serving as the mother of invention.

We explored bits of the eight underground floors, the first one begun by the Hittites. Later between 400 and 1200 AD, Greek Orthodox Christians developed the lower levels digging far enough to uncover an underground stream to source a well. Another shaft enabled underground dwellers to see above ground, thus knowing when to begin and halt days. Each family dug about 10 centimeters a year, or else, they went to the punishment chamber for hanging. That’s incentive.