The underground city at Derinkuyu, aptly translated as "dark well," is the largest known example of troglodyte living in Cappadocia. Eight of the levels are open to the public, with the lowest level at a depth of 54m (177 ft.). The complex is an organized and functionally advanced public space for galleries, rooms, chapels, access tunnels, water wells, and air shafts for when the communities had to dig in for the long haul. A long raised mound surrounded by trenches is thought to have been used as a school, while the stables occupied the extreme upper floors. The visit can also be strenuous: At 204 steps, the corridor from the lowest level of Derinkuyu to the surface will cause even the most physically fit visitor to catch his or her breath and may require you to hunch over for a good part of the way.
Only about 10% to 15% of the city's total area is available to the public, and it is thought that the city goes much farther down. Like many of the underground cities, the passageways and cavities at Derinkuyu were used as storage by local farmers until 1964, when the complex was opened to the public.