Derinkuyu is a town and district of Nevşehir Province in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. According to 2010 census, population of the district is 22,114 of which 10,679 live in the town of Derinkuyu. The district covers an area of 445 km2 (172 sq mi), and the average elevation is 1,300 m (4,265 ft), with the highest point being Mt. Ertaş at 1,988 m (6,522 ft).
Located in Cappadocia, Derinkuyu is notable for its large multi-level underground city (Derinkuyu Underground City), which is a major tourist attraction. The historical region of Cappadocia, where Derinkuyu is situated, contains several historical underground cities, carved out of a unique geological formation. They are not generally occupied. Over 200 underground cities at least two levels deep have been discovered in the area between Kayseri and Nevşehir, with around 40 of those having at least three levels. The troglodyte cities at Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı are two of the best examples of underground dwellings.
The oldest written source about underground cities is the writings of Xenophon. In his Anabasis he writes that the people living in Anatolia had excavated their houses underground, living well in accommodations large enough for the family, domestic animals, and supplies of stored food.
Derinkuyu Underground City provided a refuge for the region's Proto-Anatolian inhabitants through the ages. In Byzantine times it was known as Malakopea (Greek: Μαλακοπέα), and likewise served as a refuge from the raids of the UmayyadArab and Abbasid armies. The cities contained food stores, kitchens, stalls, churches, wine and oil presses, ventilation shafts, wells, and a religious school. The Derinkuyu underground city has at least eight levels and depth of 85 m and could have sheltered thousands of people. David Wilcock noted that, the city’s origins may be even earlier and related to the ancient Persian Zoroastrian tradition. In the ancient Zoroastrian Vendidad legends exist of how Ahura-Mazda instructed Yima to build an underground refuge very similar to that seen in Derinkuyu.