An Architect's Underground City

TitleAn Architect's Underground City
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsYamaç A, Tok E
JournalOpera Ipogea. Journal of Speleology in Artificial Cavities
Start Page39
KeywordsAgirnas, Edirne, Kayseri, Sinan, Underground City

Mimar Sinan (Sinan the Architect) is the most important architect of the Ottoman Empire with around 400 structures of historical and cultural value he had built. This extraordinary architect who lived under the reign of four Ottoman sultans and constructed buildings for three sultans was born in 1489 in a small village of Kayseri; Agirnas. It is known that Sinan was taken under the Ottoman service at the age of 22 and brought to Istanbul. He spent the rest of his life in Istanbul and died at the age of 99 in 1588. The house he was born in Agirnas was restored and turned into a museum. Below this house, there is a very impressive and complex underground city which expands to double storey. As it can be understood from hundreds of cave dwellings that exist in the nearby valleys, Agirnas Village is an old settlement and it has a gigantic underground city complex. As OBRUK Cave Research Group, our research within the scope of “Kayseri Underground Structures Inventory Project” started with the underground city below Sinan the Architect’s house in Agirnas and has revealed that this underground city continues below the neighbor houses. Even though it is not possible to determine the first construction date, it is obvious that this structural complex is at least 500 years old and it shows us that the village has a gigantic underground city complex dug below the houses with a purpose of defense. This article will try to explain the architectural features of this underground city complex that covers almost this entire antique village in Agirnas, which is under the house of Sinan the Architect and connected to other houses; and the transformation of this structure from a defensive one to the daily usage during the centuries will be examined.