The houses in the village are constructed around the nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city. The tunnels are still used today as storage areas, stables, and cellars. Of the four floors open to tourists, each space is organised around ventilation shafts. This makes the design of each room or open space dependent on the availability of ventilation.
The high number of storage rooms and areas for earthenware jars on the fourth floor indicates some economic stability. Kaymaklı is one of the largest underground settlements in the region. The large area reserved for storage in such a limited area appears to indicate the need to support a large population underground. Currently, only a fraction of the complex is open to the public.
The ancient name was Enegup. Caves may have first been built in the soft volcanic rock by the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, in the 8th–7th centuries B.C., according to the Turkish Department of Culture. When the Phrygian language died out in Roman times, replaced with Greek, to which it was related, the inhabitants, now Christians, expanded their underground caverns adding the chapels and inscriptions. The city was used in the Byzantine era, for protection from Muslim Arabs during the Arab–Byzantine wars (780-1180). The city was connected with Derinkuyu underground city through miles of tunnels. Some artefacts discovered in these underground settlements belong to the Middle Byzantine Period, between the 5th and the 10th centuries A.D. These cities continued to be used by the Christian inhabitants as protection from the Mongolian incursions of Timur in the 14th century.
After the region fell to the Ottomans the cities were used as refuges from the Turkish Muslim rulers, and as late as the 20th century the inhabitants, called Cappadocian Greeks, were still using the underground cities to escape periodic waves of Ottoman persecution.