Cappadocia’s underground cities and relation to writing

We first hear of Cappadocia around the 6th century B.C. It is in the central area of Turkey and for centuries was the portal linking the east and the west. Because of its strategic location for warring Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Alexander the Great, Muslims, and the peoples who populated the east and west, those living in Cappadocia could make use of their unique terrain to hide.

The area was and still is filled with volcanic rock formations called “fairy chimneys” that rise as high as 300 feet and are shaped like cones. Even before this area became a place of interest the ancients dug caves around and below and through these formations. It continued to the point that the locals had underground cites to hide themselves from wars raging around them.

They could flee down stone stairs and roll large stones across the entrances. In their underground cities they had clay ovens, ventilated air shafts, meeting rooms, wine cellars (thank God), grain storage, weapons, churches, Turkish baths, and even toilets. And they brought animals. There were secret passages, escape routes, perhaps even country hoedowns.

These underground cities were kept secret by the locals. In fact they were used for over 2,500 years when the people decided to spend more time above ground when the area became part of the Ottoman Empire around the 14th century. But they still kept their secret for centuries just in case the world once again got nasty.

These people were the original survivalists.

interesting as all this is, you may be asking yourself what this has to do with writing. Any time you read something that captures your imagination, make note of it, research it, for you never know where it will lead you and how you can use it in a story.  For example in my novel “Loonies in Hollywood” I have an older character, an uncle to a secondary character. In one scene he talks of Anne Green who was hanged centuries ago in England. She was hanged, though did not die. But she did get to keep her coffin as a keepsake. Since she didn’t die, she was pardoned, married and had children. While it had nothing to do with my true life murder mystery set in 1922, I could use the story, partly for effect, but mostly so the character could make a point about something.

So if you are a writer, collect these offbeat stories and events in history. You can always find ways to include them in your story. You just need imagination and creativity. You do have that don’t you?

My website:

Loonies in Hollywood:

Loonies in the Dugout:

cemetery Tales and other Phantasms:


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