Welcome to Obruk Cave Research Group

We are a few cavers of a country, which, although having a karst surface area of about 300,000 km2, larger than the total surface areas of many other countries, only has 3,000 known caves and 60 cavers and started caving as ridiculously late as 1960, whose federation was only partially formed in 2010 and currently has about 20 caving organizations due to their ongoing conflicts and splits

As the members of OBRUK, we;

• are over 40 years of age,

• have at least one of the health problems such as waist, neck, knee, arm etc. that prevents SRT,

• do not miss the get-together programs, regardless of how many caving trips we attend in a year,

• prefer to stay in a warm hotel instead of camping in the cold,

• have an ethical understanding that can be devoted to leaving caves to be explored for future generations by not being interested in caves that cannot be reached by vehicles,

• do not see any contradiction in trying to establish good relations with other caving groups, while at the same time cursing all of them,

• do not do anything to make a splash,


 

Despite all this, we are a small number of cavers of a group which;

• conducted one of Turkey’s deepest cave explorations,

• mapped Turkey’s longest cave,

• has the most national and international articles and symposium presentations,

• is working in at least three different provinces of Anatolia every year,

• is discovering, and surveying 35-40 new caves every year,

• is continuously carrying out at least 2-3 long-term projects,

• has the highest experience in historical underground structures studies.

 

Our group, which brings together a small number of cavers working in the longest and deepest caves of Turkey, is also known for its long-term historical underground structures projects, in addition to these activities.

The first of our studies on underground structures was a project to investigate, measure and map the underground structures of Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Within the scope of this project, 32 cisterns were measured and mapped in the region known as the “Historical Peninsula” of Istanbul, and tunnels and channels with a total length of 2,000 m were discovered and explored, most of them under Hagia Sophia.

In January 2012, the project of surveying, and inventorying underground structures in Gaziantep was started together with ÇEKÜL Foundation and Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality. During this project, which lasted about a year, 46 underground structures were investigated in and around the city of Gaziantep. During this study, very important underground structures such as the Asri Cemetery Caves with a surface area of 90,000 m2, as well as water channels and underground water use spaces called qastel, were surveyed, mapped and inventoried in detail. We still continue to support the work on the preservation and restoration of all these underground structures.

While these studies were continuing, we were also continuing the project of inventorying the rock settlements on the banks of the Euphrates River, from Halfeti to Gümüşkaya Village, in the west of Urfa. During this ongoing study, hundreds of rock-cut settlements in the region are being investigated, measured, mapped and inventoried one by one.

During these studies, upon the request of Nevşehir Museum, we measured and mapped the underground cities of Derinkuyu, Mazıköy, Tatlarin, Avanos, Golgoli and St. Mercurius.

One of the most significant underground structures research projects in the world, the “Kayseri Underground Structures Inventory Project” began in January 2014 consisting of 12 rock settlements, 41 underground cities, 50 rock churches, 3 underground water structures, and 10 mines that we explored and surveyed for the first time. 

Considering that the complex referred to by ‘Rock Settlements’ is a village with all structures carved into the rocks and that Dimitre, which is only one of the 12 rock settlements mentioned, contains 229 different structures, the magnitude of this work will be better understood.

During the Ardahan Survey, which started in 2020 and we worked for three years, 12 rock settlements were discovered, surveyed and mapped. There were 67 structures in Harosman Caves, the largest of these settlements.

All of our studies on underground structures were presented as papers in many national and international congresses and published in different journals. The structures resulting from our Gaziantep and Kayseri projects were accepted to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.