Ronica Clare

Ronica Clare

Published: 20 Sep 2023


Binbirkilise, also known as Thousand and One Churches, is a remarkable archaeological site located in the ancient region of Cappadocia, Turkey. This extraordinary destination is home to an expansive complex of rock-cut churches, caves, and dwellings, dating back to the Byzantine era. Binbirkilise, meaning “Thousand and One Churches” in Turkish, is a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of this region.

With its unique architectural features and breathtaking natural surroundings, Binbirkilise attracts countless visitors from around the world who are fascinated by its beauty and historical significance. In this article, we will explore 14 extraordinary facts about Binbirkilise, shedding light on its origins, religious importance, and the intriguing stories hidden within its ancient walls.

Table of Contents

Binbirkilise is an ancient underground city in Turkey.

Situated in the Central Anatolian region, Binbirkilise is a fascinating archaeological site that dates back to the Byzantine era. This unique underground city is renowned for its intricate network of tunnels, chambers, and rooms, carved out of soft volcanic rock.

The name “Binbirkilise” translates to “Thousand and One Churches”.

The name Binbirkilise is derived from the many rock-cut churches found within the site. These churches are adorned with exquisite frescoes and serve as a testament to the region’s rich Christian history.

The underground city spans across multiple levels.

Binbirkilise comprises several levels, with each level offering a different set of chambers and passageways. It is estimated that the city extends up to eight levels deep, although only a few levels are currently accessible to visitors.

Binbirkilise was once a thriving settlement.

During its heyday, Binbirkilise was a bustling urban center with a significant population. It served as an important trade and religious hub, attracting people from far and wide.

The city was built for protection.

One of the main purposes of constructing Binbirkilise underground was for protection against invasions and raids. The intricate layout of the city allowed its inhabitants to seek shelter and escape during times of conflict.

Binbirkilise features a complex ventilation system.

To ensure fresh air circulation within the underground city, an ingenious system of ventilation shafts was built. These shafts provided a constant supply of clean air for the residents, even in the deepest parts of the city.

The city has hidden storage areas and wells.

Binbirkilise boasts hidden storage spaces that were used to store food, water, and other essential supplies. The presence of wells within the city ensured a reliable water source for its inhabitants.

Binbirkilise has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

In recognition of its historical and cultural significance, Binbirkilise was added to the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in This designation helps to preserve and protect the site for future generations.

Exploration and restoration efforts continue at Binbirkilise.

Archaeologists and historians are continuously working to uncover more of the city’s secrets and restore its ancient structures. Ongoing research and conservation projects aim to shed further light on the history of Binbirkilise.

Binbirkilise offers a glimpse into Byzantine art and architecture.

The rock-cut churches and frescoes found in Binbirkilise showcase the artistic and architectural brilliance of the Byzantine era. Visitors can marvel at the intricate details and vibrant paintings that adorn these ancient religious sites.

It is believed that Binbirkilise was inhabited until the 12th century.

Although the city’s exact decline is uncertain, evidence suggests that it was occupied until the 12th century. Various factors, including political and social changes, likely contributed to its eventual abandonment.

The underground city is a popular tourist attraction.

Today, Binbirkilise draws tourists from around the world who are eager to explore its fascinating underground passages and marvel at its ancient architecture. Guided tours provide visitors with an immersive experience into the history of this remarkable site.

Binbirkilise is shrouded in mystery and legends.

Over the centuries, Binbirkilise has given rise to numerous legends and stories. Tales of hidden treasure, secret passages, and ancient civilizations contribute to the mystique and allure surrounding this captivating underground city.

The preservation of Binbirkilise is of utmost importance.

As a significant historical site, the preservation of Binbirkilise is crucial. Efforts are being made to protect the delicate rock-cut structures and maintain the integrity of the underground city for generations to come.


Binbirkilise, with its rich historical significance and breathtaking landscape, is truly an extraordinary landmark. From its mysterious origins and unique architectural features to its captivating legends and stunning natural surroundings, Binbirkilise offers a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure, Binbirkilise will not disappoint. It is a treasure trove of ancient ruins, fascinating stories, and picturesque scenery.

So, if you ever find yourself in the beautiful country of Turkey, don’t miss the chance to visit Binbirkilise and immerse yourself in its awe-inspiring charm. You will be amazed by the wonders that await you in this extraordinary landmark.


1. What does the name “Binbirkilise” mean?

The name “Binbirkilise” translates to “a thousand and one churches” in Turkish. It refers to the countless rock-cut churches found in this region.

2. How old are the churches in Binbirkilise?

The churches in Binbirkilise date back to the Byzantine era, with some estimates suggesting that they were built as early as the 4th century AD.

3. Are the churches still in use today?

No, the churches in Binbirkilise are no longer in use for religious purposes. However, they serve as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the region.

4. Can visitors explore the interior of the churches?

Unfortunately, the interior of the churches is not accessible to visitors due to preservation efforts. However, you can admire their external architecture and intricate carvings from the outside.

5. Is Binbirkilise easily accessible?

Binbirkilise is located in a remote area of Turkey, and reaching it might require some planning and effort. It is recommended to hire a local guide or join a tour to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.

6. Are there any nearby attractions to visit along with Binbirkilise?

Yes, there are several other historical sites and natural wonders in the vicinity of Binbirkilise. Some notable attractions include the ancient city of Karaman, the Caves of Heaven and Hell, and the Karaman Castle.

7. Is there an entrance fee to visit Binbirkilise?

Yes, there is usually an entrance fee to visit Binbirkilise. The fee may vary depending on the season and the specific regulations in place. It is advisable to check with the local authorities or tour operators for the latest information.