Anatolia abounds with mysterious archeological wonders and Han Underground City in Eskişehir (Western Turkey) is one of them. Let’s explore this unpopular underground city together!
Han Underground City
Han Underground City is located in the town of Han, part of Eskişehir Province in Western Turkey. It is easily acccesable by car, located at a 82 km (1 hour 10 minutes) distance from downtown Eskişehir, 226 km (2 hours 45 minutes) from central Ankara.
If you wish to go there by public transportation, there are minibuses going to the town of Han, departing from the town of Çifteler in Eskişehir. Frankly, the site is not impressive enough to go through the hassle of taking a minibus all the way to the suburbs of Eskişehir.
Due to its remote location and poor tourism organization, it is one of the lesser known undergound cities in Turkey. However, Han Underground City is a pretty unique and beautiful spot to visit.
Once you reach the town of Han, the sign boards will take you to the underground city.
Han Underground City is free to visit and open 24/7.
Briefly About History Of The Site
Despite the excavations made in 1992, not much evidence was gathered to illimunate when and why this city was built. The findings in the necropolis of the city suggest that the area was inhabited and actively used between the 1st century A.D and the 6th century A.D
Moreover, the complex underground room network and narrow tunnels allude that Han Underground City was built for defense or military purposes.
As archeologists concluded based on the small number of archeological findings, the area was ruled by many empires and kingdoms. The earliest artefacts found date back to The Bronze Age, and in subsequent eras it was ruled by the Cimmerians, then the Phyrigians, the Lydians, the Persians, and finally the Macedonians. Han became a prosperous settlement during the Roman era and was converted into a military base during Byzantine times. Later on, the Seljuk Turks and the Ottomans settled the area. The Hüsrev Pasha Mosque and the old Turkish hamam are what remains from the Turkish rule in the area.
What To See In Han?
Han Underground City consists of three parts: the burial chamber, underground rooms and the tunnel. It is a small site, so you would not miss any spot to see.
The Burial Chamber
The burial chamber was built by carving the rock ground of the southeast part of the underground city. A narrow door leads to three grave rooms with 3 sarcophagi each. What makes this burial chamber unique is that it offers its visitors the only surviving examples of rosette (round flower designs), bowtie, and diamond style rock carvings on the walls.
The main entrance to the city and other easily accesable passages are located on top of the rock layers above the city entrance and lead to a complex room system. Further down the rooms is slightly muddier and the ground slippery.
The tunnel is accessible through the stairs on the right side of the main entrance. It is a long one and after a few steps you will be in pure darkness, so make sure you have your phone’s flashlight open. As you are following the tunnel, due to the increasing level of moisture, the ground will get muddier. As a result, to avoid slipping, tread carefully. The tunnel eventually merges with underground water channels. At this spot the ancient residents of Han provided water to their settlement.
We could not go all the way to the end of the tunnel, because after some time the ground has flooded. Especially if you visit here in summer time, the tunnel will cool you down, much to your appreciation.