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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? Or, Why they were abandoned those? Most of people believe that they were just stories. No one saw those cities or found an obvious evidence to prove. 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 regular cities, however it’s an underground city. In fact it was a permanent settlement. Just suppose entering to a city, everything is normal and nothing is unusual. But, where are the inhabitants? What happened? While you are surprised, there is an underground living right where you stay.

Ouyi, The Underground city

The history

The strategic position of Nushabad was the cause 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 being a shelter. Acording to them it was using until the 19th century, then probably due to a flood Ouyi was abandoned. Gradually people forgot this city, but in 2001, when a well was digging, near the first entrance, Ouyi was discovered and two years later the same happened to the second entrance.

Ouyi, The Underground city

The cistern

Before visiting Ouyi you will see cisterns, in the 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 just to provide a better accessibility they did small changes on the structure. They where the place of gathering and supplying of water in dry areas. In order to avoid water spoilage they used wind catchers. In addition they used lime-stucco in the constructions which help the stabilization of the building, the more they get wet the more stable they are.

Ouyi, The Underground city

The city

The entrances 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 might be used by the chef. In spite of the first entrance, the second one is open all the year. Then, through a narrow aisle with 120 cm height you will reach to an area, probably a rest room. Go forward, there is an interception. To the right there are a series of rooms which possibly were public residences. In addition , some traces of torches can be seen on the walls, the oldest one dates back to 700 years ago. Even you can signs of floods. At the end there is a well which is an interconnecting passage to 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. Perhaps, it has being used during wars. They entered to the city through some wells, holes, if it was nescessary. The first one entered to the well had to light the torches and the last one put them off, and 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 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 three-level city has a defensive part, residential sections 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. Also, there is a special coffee, Anushe, which takes about 5 hours to make. So, beside visiting this mysterious city you can have a traditional coffee.

About the author

Hamid Noori is a local tourist guide in Iran. He borned in june 3, 1991. 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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