Cappadocia

Cappadocia

History of Cappadocia

What to See

The region known as Cappadocia includes the centres of Ürgüp, Göreme, Avanos, Üçhisar, Derinkuyu, Kaymaklı and Ihlara. It is a stunning area of other-worldly rock formations, subterranean churches and underground dwellings, the scale of which is over-whelming.

 

The area is also famous for its carpet-weaving, wines and the distinctive red pottery of the Avanos area. Cappadocia was a refuge for the early Christians, who escaped persecution by living and worshipping underground. There are an estimated 3000 rock churches in this region, not all of which are open to the public
The village of Göreme itself is at the heart of the area’s tourist industry, and many of its villagers still live in cave dwellings, some of which have been converted into pensions. Surrounding the area are the amazing rock formations known evocatively as Peri Bacaları or ‘Fairy Chimneys’.
Located to the west of Niğde, is the stunning Ihlara Valley, a gorge which is 10 km long and some 80 metres wide. Popular for trekking, about 12 of its 60 churches are open to the public including the impressive Eğritaş Church.
There are hundreds of underground cities in the regions. Two of the most impressive are Kaymaklı, which has 8 levels, and Derinkuyu, which reaches down to 55 metres. They were used by the Christians fleeing persecution in the 7th century, who created a self-sufficient environment underground including bedrooms, kitchens and storage rooms.

HISTORY OF CAPPADOCIA

The Hattis, followed by the Hittites, Phrygians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans were all enchanted by the allure of Cappadocia and left the imprint of their own presence here including important trade routes, such as the illustrious Silk Road which traversed east, west, north and south. As a result of this heavy traffic, the region was a complex web of historical and cultural influences. Cappadocia was the place where different faiths and philosophies met and influenced one another. Frescoed churches and dwellings carved into the cliffs extend from Ihlara Valley, which is 40 km from Aksaray, and as far as 14 km to the town of Selime. Some of these structures can be dated back to as early as the 4th century A.D. Among the many sights worth seeing are the Eğritaş, Ağaç Altı, Kokar, Yılanlı, Pürenli, Kırkdamaltı, Ala, Direkli, the Kale Manastırı churches, and the Selime Cathedral.
Because of its location, weight loss strategic region. As Cappadocia’s trade and resources were tempting prizes, the region was frequently invaded, raided, and looted. To protect themselves from such depredations, the local inhabitants took to living in the region’s caverns and grottos whose entrances could be concealed, so as not to be noticed by trouble-making outsiders. Since it might have been necessary to lie low for extended periods of time, these troglodytic dwellings eventually became subterranean cities that included sources of water, places to store food, wineries, and temples. Some of them date back to before the Christian era.

WHAT TO SEE

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