Travel

Hidden Place in the Rocks; MAHKEMEAGACIN Village

The Village of Mahkemeagacin is one of Ankara‘s must-visit points. It is connected to the Kizilcahamam district and has an easy access road. Mahkemeagacin Village has many cultural geosites. Region; The cave is full of old settlements and churches. Research is still being carried out in the Village of Mahkemeagacin, which is expected to activate the tourism of the city. The tuffs in the village are massive in places, and there are pieces of andesite, basalt, slag and pumice in sizes from mm to cm. It is estimated that the first cave settlement in the village was founded by the Romans. Another feature of the village is; heron has bird nests.

THE FIRST CHRISTIANS BUILD

It is estimated that this small underground city, located in the Mahkemeagacin Village of the Kizilcahamam district, about 90 kilometers from the city center, was built by the first Christians who hid from the Roman Empire about 2,000 years ago. The motifs in the caves indicate that these places were used as churches, residences, warehouses and wineries. Since the soil in the caves is slightly moist and loose, it was easily converted into a dwelling and a church.

CAVES CLEANED IN 2011

Mahkemeagacin Underground City was unrecognizable until 2011 due to natural erosion, earthquakes, and misuse by the locals as haystacks and woodsheds. However, with the work started in 2011, it was cleaned and opened to visitors. It is stated in the registration decision of the region that there are 17 caves, but it is estimated that the caves here are interconnected and the structure is much larger, as in the Nevşehir region. Local residents also argue that the bottom of the houses and the surrounding area are underground settlements and that there are hundreds of different structures.

DON’T GET THE VALUE IT DESERVE

Unfortunately, this 2,000-year-old historical heritage does not get the value it deserves. There is a ‘cultural geosite’ sign in only one direction on the Celtikci-Gudul Road to reach the Mahkemeagacin, a much more striking sign must be placed at the entrance of the neighborhood. When we enter the Mahkemeagacin to visit and photograph the underground city, we encounter the headman of the neighborhood, Ramis Temur. He himself says that the necessary attention is not shown to the region. He adds that there has been no improvement since the cleaning in 2011.

TIME MUST NOT BE WASTE

Since the places where the buildings are located and their relatives are registered, it has been declared a 1st degree protected area. Some houses near the caves are also empty. Mukhtar Ramis Temur emphasizes that there are caves and tunnels under the houses. In other words, there is a cultural heritage that needs to be discovered and uncovered. However, it is clear that the necessary attention has not yet been shown. There are neither directions nor informative signage to the caves and structures. We can find the structures with the help of the headman. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism should turn this hidden treasure in the capital into a tourism region without delay.

Ece Nagihan

Hello, I'm Ece, I write food ingredients for Expat Guide Turkey every day. Don't forget to check it out!

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