Construction workers in Turkey have unearthed what many are calling the biggest archaeological discovery of the year.
During construction throughout the province of Nevsehir, where workers had already demolished 1,500 buildings, a massive underground city filled with tunnels, escape galleries and hidden churches was discovered. Construction, which reportedly had cost the country upwards of $40 million, was subsequently cancelled. Despite such a major investment in the renovation project, officials aren’t considering this to be a loss simply because of the magnitude of their discovery.
“It is not a known underground city. Tunnel passages of seven kilometers are being discussed,” Housing Development head Mehmet Ergun Turan said. “We stopped the construction we were planning to do on these areas when an underground city was discovered.”
The city, believed to be 5,000 years old, is said to be the biggest of all the underground cities that have been discovered in Nevsehir.
“The underground city [was found] in the 45 hectares of the total 75 hectare area that is within the [urban] transformation project. We started working in 2012 with the project. We have taken 44 historical objects under preservation. The underground city was discovered when we began the destruction in line with the protocol,” Nevsehir mayor Hasan Unver said. “The first galleries were spotted in 2013. We applied to the [Cultural and Natural Heritage] Preservation Board and the area was officially registered.”
Officials said they are anticipating that the city will become a major tourist attraction in the province, and steps have already been taken to capitalize on the significant discovery. “We are now working to make it open for visitors,” Unver said. “We will build walking platforms inside and a large park will be built on the surface.”