Man chasing chicken finds 2,000-year-old underground city home to 20,000 people

A bloke who was chasing his chickens around his house got the shock of his life when he stumbled across a derelict ancient city once the home of 20,000 people.

The bizarre incident happened in the basement of an unnamed Turkish resident.

He was trying to get his chickens out of there, but they ran through a hole in the wall where it was being renovated.

And when he knocked it down, he found a tunnel – which led to one of the most incredible accidental historical discoveries for centuries.

The ancient city of Elengubu was discovered by the bloke in 1963, although the fate of his chickens remains a mystery.

Man chasing chicken finds 2,000-year-old underground city home to 20,000 people

A passage from his basement had been covered up (Image: Getty Images)

Known today as Derinkuyu, it was around 280 feet below the surface of Cappadocia, where the man lived, and is thought to be the largest excavated underground city in the world.

And it housed around 20,000 people across two levels.

It also includes a church, school, homes and more public areas for the locals who were there at the time.

Man chasing chicken finds 2,000-year-old underground city home to 20,000 people

The ancient city once houses around 20,000 people who were hiding from the Romans (Image: Getty Images)

But since the discovery was made, another 200 smaller underground cities have been found all leading off from Derinkuyu – although only 40 metres of site have actually been excavated.

According to the experts at Made In Turkey, the city either dates back to the 15th century BCE or seventh century BCE.

They said: “Despite the disagreement on the architects of the town, there is a general consensus that the underground metropolis served to hide its inhabitants from their enemies.

Man chasing chicken finds 2,000-year-old underground city home to 20,000 people

It contains churches, schools and several other public areas (Image: Getty Images)

“This purpose was especially crucial during the Byzantine period when Christians were fleeing from their Roman persecutors.

“When the Christians got to Cappadocia and discovered the city, they expanded and modified its existing structures by adding churches, schools, wineries, and other chambers that suited their needs.

Man chasing chicken finds 2,000-year-old underground city home to 20,000 people

The site is available to the public for touring (Image: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images)

“It is estimated that Derinkuyu could sustain up to 20,000 inhabitants and their animals at a go.”

It is thought that the area was partly still in use during the early 1920s, but it was forgotten about when Christians in the region were kicked out of Turkey and moved to Greece.

Man chasing chicken finds 2,000-year-old underground city home to 20,000 people

Excavation work is still ongoing (Image: Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Excavation work is still ongoing at the site, as well as several of the other small cities found since them.

The ancient city is actually open to the public to tour throughout the year.