(Part 1/2) While traveling we sometimes happen to be at truly incredible places: in famous buildings, historic castles, palaces, on archaeological sites and in astonishing churches. But then there are some places in the world that leave us simply speechless. Spots, that take you all in, that are “talking” to you and overwhelming you by a breathtaking nature, history or a personal connection. I was very lucky to have been to some of those places and maybe one of my personal favourite “magical” places (below), could be something for you too!
Underground city in Derinkuyu (Nevşehir, Turkey)
A while ago I made a journey across Western Turkey and was told by some locals that there was an underground city which had been built by the first Christians in the country many, many centuries ago. When I reached its entrance , I wasn’t even sure, if I was at the right point because there wasn’t really much to see on the outside: basically a stone desert with some bigger rocks here and there , which didn’t let you expect what would come next. The guide explained to me some security rules and gave me a map. Only at that point, I got an idea of how big this area actually was! The underground city of Derinkuyu, which had was discovered in 1963 by accident, was around the 6th century a hiding place for Christians from the Seldshuks and other enemies. On 2500 square miles, there are 8 underground floors, where according to estimation between three and fifty thousand people had lived. Some people lived their whole lives underground, and there was everything a human would possibly need to survive. From big living rooms, bed- and bathrooms, storage rooms, churches and kitchens to a jail, a winery and a complex security-, communication- and ventilation system. Their water came from 85m deep fountains which are still working today. Archeologists estimate that there are as many as fifty underground cities in Turkey (36 have been discovered so far).
Attention! When walking through these wells you might feel sometimes the risk of claustrophobic attacks. In fact, you can’t access certain rooms because their entrance is too small. Even children might have to get down on their knees to be able to enter. Also the ladders (made of stone and that connect the different floors) are very narrow.
All in all it is a very fascinating place, especially when we image that people actually lived down there! You will be amazed by the structure and the sophisticated systems they invented in order to survive.
Niedersulz (Lower Austria, Austria)
A completely different kind of city attracted my attention in Austria. Next to the town Niedersulz in Lower Austria, there is a museum, and more concretely an open air museum of a 19th century village with all its former houses, churches, farms and everything you could find in the original burg. Some of the houses are reconstructed, but most of them were taken from various villages in the area and transported there. It is an amazing feeling to walk through this wonderful place full of old trees, wildflowers and farm animals. When strolling through this completely rebuilt city, you will pass the elementary school on the one end and on its other side you will find water powered mills which are even still functioning. It was astonishing to feel how far all the places where apart and to imagine that a 6-year-old child from the southern farms had to walk all the way to the school by foot.
Not only the different kind of houses are kept in their original style, but also all the furniture and documents are original and can be visited. In some of the houses exhibitions are installed that show the life back then or certain aspects of it. For example in one small house you can find explanations and objects about the secrete baptists that were active in this area and it was not only absolutely amazing to discover their tracks throughout Europe and America but also to read their life stories.
It left me speechless to be able to follow in people’s footsteps who had lived in this very same area. You can spend a whole day walking in the past, feeling the sun on your skin, drinking the wine made in the old wineries and eating meals in the village restaurant that have been prepared with great grandmother’s recipes. It is a great way to spend a summer day outdoors and to get at the same time some education about the way people used to live. I can recommend to everyone who is passing Austria to spend there a day with farmers, simple people, teachers, winery holders and restaurant keepers from the 19th century! Amazing!
For more information visit www.museumsdorf.at/en
In the next article, you can discover with me two more wonderful places! Stay with us! 🙂 (Irene)
Photo credits: Irene