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Ouyi, The Underground city

Ouyi, The Underground city

All around the world, there are lots of mysteries cities. No one knows what happened to them? When they were built? Why people abandoned those cities?etc. Most of people believe that they were just stories. No one saw those cities or found an obvious clue about them. But, in the heart of Iran there is a mysterious, real city. Ouyi or Nushabad city is a considerable piece of Iranian architecture includes almost all aspect of usual cities, however it has an unusual position. In fact it was not a permanent settlement and only used when it was necessary. Just suppose entering to city, everything is normal and nothing is unusual. But, where are the inhabitants? What happened? While you are wondering there is an underground living exactly where you stay.

Ouyi, The Underground city

The history

The strategic position of Nushabad was the reason of being invaded by bandits. The history of Ouyi refers to pre-Islamic period, during Sassanid dynasty, at least more than 1100 years ago. Moreover archeologists have found some clays dates back to Seljuk era, when Mongols attacked Iran, during the 14th century. So it could be an evidence of using this city as a shelter. Acording to them it had being used until the 19th century, then probably due to a flood Ouyi was abandoned. Gradually people forget this city, but in 2001, when a well was digging the first entrance,Ouyi was discovered and 2 years later the same happened to the second entrance.

Ouyi, The Underground city

The reservoir

Before visiting Ouyi you will see a reservoir, on both entrances. In Nushabad there used to be more of them but now only a few of them are remained. They were constructed 500 years ago and have being used until 40 years ago. In fact there was not any connection between reservoirs and Ouyi and just to provide a better accessibility they did small changes on the structure. Reservoirs where the place of gathering and supplying of water in areas with a dry climate. In order to avoid water spoilage they used wind catchers. In addition they used lime-stucco in the construction of reservoirs which help the stabilization of the building, the more they get wet the more stable they are.

Ouyi, The Underground city

The city

To enter this mysterious city there are two entrances. They used to be connected but probably due to a flood or an earthquake they are separated. The first one leads to a limited area that according to its architecture, it could be used by a chef. In spite of the first entrance, the second one is open all the year. This small entrance is located near the reservoir. Then, through a narrow aisle with 120 cm height you will reach to an area, probably a rest room. Going forward there is an interception. To the right there are a series of room without any door, it is possible that it was a public residence. On the walls the traces of torches can be seen, the oldest one dates back to 700 years ago. In addition on the walls you can see some signs of flood. At the end there is a well which is an interconnecting passage to the other levels. Return to the interception and go to the left. In this part there is a warehouse and some other interconnecting passages. Moreover on the warehouse there is a hole, well, on the ceiling. In fact this underground city was found by digging this well, in 2001.

Ouyi, The Underground city

Ouyi, The Underground city

But the question is that, why they built such a city. The most possible answer is that, it’s being used during wars. When it was necessary they entered to the city through some wells, similar to other wells but without water. The first one entered to the well had to light the torches and the last one put them off, also cover the well. At the end of the well there is a horizontal passage, then a vertical one, upward, and finally there is the city. This U-shape passage could help people to defend themselves. If enemies found the hidden passages, they must have had to enter one by one. In addition the labyrinth plan of the city and the existence of some traps were other obstacles.

Ouyi, The Underground city

This amazing city is constructed in 3 levels, one was a defensive part and two others were residential parts and warehouses. Beside, those wells could act as ventilation systems, the difference of the surface and the U-shape wells helps this system. Anyway, every possible details were not ignored such as, living areas, warehouses, Qantas, etc. Another interesting thing is that they have a special coffee, Anushe, which takes about 5 hours to make. So, beside visiting a mysterious city you will have a traditional coffee.

About the author

Hamid Noori is a local tourist guide in Iran. He borned in 1991 june 22end. First he studied industrial engineering at Shiraz university and worked in that field for a while but later he decided to pursue his dreams dealing with history. Now Hamid is a professional tourist guide.

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