10 Labyrinths Worth Exploring

Mythical, historical and altogether intriguing, these far-flung mazes are journeys in and of themselves.

Darren Brain
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Derinkuyu Underground City, Cappadocia, Turkey

Cut into one of the long, finger-like stone formations that make Cappadocia famous, the underground city of Derinkuyu is an eight-level warren of traps and wrong turns descending about 200 feet into the earth. Believed to have been built in the seventh or eighth century b.c. by the ancient Phrygian people, it was subsequently enlarged by early Christians to foil the armies of various Zealot empires. Nearly 20,000 people could live behind its sealed stone doors for nearly four months, and presumably any soldiers who had the misfortune to pursue them through the narrow passageways would get lost or be squashed by one of the Indiana Jones–style rolling-boulder traps. Göreme, a town that houses one of the best collections of cave churches in the region, is nearby. The more recent chapels are decorated with extraordinary examples of Byzantine Christian painting; don’t miss the sinister frescoes at Karanlik Kilise (the Dark Church).