The region of Cappadocia is home to one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world – deep valleys and soaring rock formations dotted with homes, chapels, tombs, temples and entire subterranean cities harmoniously carved into the natural landforms.
The history of Cappadocia began in prehistoric times. Hatti culture (2500-2000 BC.) had its way during the Bronze Age and in about the 2nd Millennium BC. Assyrians, Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians and Persians all respectively left their marks on the region until the region became a Roman province in 17 AD.
Once Asia Minor came under Christian influence, the first Christian communities appeared in Cappadocia and those persecuted for their religious beliefs elsewhere sought refuge in the region. Cappadocia thus became a melting pot of a variety of ethnic groups, all of which have influenced the culture and religious beliefs.
Geographically, the origins of this unusual region can be traced to the Tertiary period some 50 million years ago, when craters and chimneys dominated the landscape. Since then huge quantities of volcanic material have spewed out of the many volcanoes. Forces of erosion have shaped the incredible and unique Cappadocian tuff-coned landscape.
This rock, slowly eaten away by wind and time, has created some spectacular forms. For hundreds of years men have dug into the soft but firm tuff to create dwellings, monasteries, churches and underground cities.
Göreme National Park
UNESCO World Heritage
The visitor cannot help wondering how this bizarre landscape could ever come into existance.
The small fairy chimneys in the valley form a lunar landscape, or moonscape, by their strange look. The valley also has many animal shaped rocks. It looks like a sculpture zoo made by nature.
The imaginary Valley
Historical intersection of civilizations
The second large subterranean complex is in the village of Kaymaklı. The complex consist of seven floors, each containing 15 houses to accomodate circa two hundred people each. It has several churches and chapels, an extensive maze of galleries with round blocking Stones rolled into slot-like receptacles along groves, hewn from floor.
The top of the Uchisar Castle, provides a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area with Mount Erciyes in the distance.