Nushabad Underground City is a remarkable example of ancient engineering and intelligent design. Situated near Kashan in Iran, this fascinating subterranean structure, also known as Ouyi, dates back to the Sassanian era.
It presents a complex network of tunnels, chambers, and strategic defensive features, meticulously crafted for protection against invasions. As visitors navigate through this hidden maze, they are immersed in a historical narrative where communities once flourished beneath the earth.
If you are ever interested in architecture, history, or mysteries you might have heard about secret underground cities in the world like Derinkuyu, in Cappadocia, Turkey, or Edinburgh Vaults, in the United Kingdom. Yet you might not have heard about the biggest underground city in Iran, called Nushabad (also spelled Noosh Abad).
Why Noushabad is so special?
The extraordinary architecture of this artificial subterranean city has drawn the attention of many tourists.
This sprawling city was set between 3 to 18 meters (about 10 to 60 feet) deep and was developed horizontally and vertically. It is estimated that this underground city was spread, as the locals claim, beyond the historic city walls, and was as wide as 4 kilometers.
Consisting of three-story tunnels, this labyrinthine city was comprised of chambers, air ducts, staircases, canals, and booby traps. Over the years, the individual chambers were merged together, and air ducts, water pipes, storage spaces, and toilets were all built—creating a sustainable underground city that was used as a refuge during times of war.
Each family had their own room of sorts, with a tunnel running down the length of these rooms, similar to a hotel hallway.
In addition, what is surprisingly engineered is the ventilation system. Vertical tunnels were used as passageways between levels and the U-shaped tunnels were used for ventilation. The ventilation system operates on the basis of the difference between the inside air pressure with the outside, which makes it possible for the air to circulate through the underground city.
Passage tunnels were constructed to connect houses and social centers, such as the bathhouse and the mosque as well as the castle located nearby to the underground city.
Why is it not internationally renowned?
Many may have not heard even the name of this city because it was discovered not until about 20 years ago (in 2006). This underground city which is called Ouee (or Ouyi) was discovered by accident as the result of a local digging a well in their house which stumbled through to the labyrinth of chambers below.
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It must also be noted that many parts of this vast subterranean city which are spread almost all over the city on the ground is still under exploration and is not still open to visitors.
How old is Noushabad underground city?
Construction of Ouee, the underground city, dates back to the Sassanid Empire (or Neo-Persian), about 1500 years ago. The Noushabad underground city is said to have been the Sassanid capital during the reign of the Anoushirvan.
Also, people used this underground construction to take refuge at the of Mongolian attacks.
How to visit Noushabad city?
It is very interesting to know that, Nushabad city is very near to Kashan. So, if you are planning to visit Kashan or are taking the classic route toward Isfahan, you can reach Nushabad easily by a 20-minute drive.
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There are even more sites to visit around Noushabad except the underground city of Ouee. These sites include Jame mosque, Sizan brick castle, and historic Ishagh Abad bridge.