A newly discovered 5,000-year-old underground city is being hailed as one of the largest in the world – and one of the top archeological finds of all time. The city is located in the historical Cappadocia region of Turkey which lies between Aksaray in the west, Kayseri in the east and Nigde in the south. It is an area rich in history from the Hittite times before 1,700 B.C. and was once a part of the Roman Empire.

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The city, found in the province of Nevsehir, was discovered while developers were excavating for a new housing development in the area known in archeological circles for the amount of underground settlements. The project has since been cancelled.

This site, however, near the city of Kayseri, apparently dwarfs all other sites, according to The Independent—which notes that “Hasan Ünver, the mayor of the city on those outskirts the discovery was found, said other underground cities were nothing more than a “kitchen” compared to the newly uncovered settlement.”

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Despite the fact that nearly 90 million Turkish liras, the equivalent of about 38.6 million in U.S. dollars, have been spent on the housing development, the Turkey Housing Development Administration (TOKI) doesn’t feel it is a loss, considering what has been uncovered.

Escape galleries and churches were found in the underground city and the site has now been registered officially with the Turkish Preservation Board, officials said. It is not the first underground city to be found in the Nevsehir area, but it is the most massive.

Via Hurriet Daily News and The Independent

Images via Igor,Dachalan, AHT and Moyan Brenn, Flickr Creative Commons