Cappadocia Short History
Cappadocia is well-known for its spectacular natural rock formations, which have sculpted the magnificent scenery and topography of the Göreme valley. Ancient volcanic eruptions dumped dense ash over the area. This hardened and was eventually degraded by exposure to the environment over time. As a consequence, a fairy tale scene of cones, pillars, pinnacles, mushrooms, and chimneys stretching up to 40 meters into the sky was created.
Göreme was inhabited between 1800 and 1200 B.C., and the people later found themselves sandwiched between two opposing empires: the Persians and the Greeks (amongst many later rivals). To seek safety from their fragile political situation, people decided to take precautions against unexpected invasions. They began excavating chambers and tube complexes into the soft rock, resulting in the creation of whole villages with up to eight separate stories concealed beneath.
In the fourth and seventh centuries, Cappadocia became a haven for many early Christians fleeing Roman persecution. In the rock chapels, the monks dug huge monasteries, and living rooms, and painted Byzantine murals of medieval saints. The paintings are well-preserved and a pleasure to behold for museum visitors.
The location retains much of the enchantment that makes it so appealing. Many of the soaring pinnacles are still inhabited today, and many of the rock-cut storerooms are still loaded with grapes, lemons, potatoes, and flat bread in preparation for the winter. Cappadocia is located in the center of Turkey on a high, arid plateau.
The town of Göreme is the major visiting hub for tourists to the park, while tourism amenities may also be found at Nevsehir, Avanos, and Urgüp. These towns are accessible by bus from Kayseri Airport. Long-distance buses also travel to the Cappadocia region from
Göreme Open-Air Museum
The Göreme Open Air Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains some of the finest rock-carved churches in the world. The entrance fee is around 15 TL per person.
The inside of the churches is wonderfully adorned with paintings ranging from 900 to 1200 AD.
We recommend arriving early in the morning to escape the heat; it may get fairly busy during August, and the time permitted in individual chapels is limited to five minutes.
There is an additional entrance cost to enter the spectacular Karanlk Kilise (Dark Church), but some of the greatest specimens of superbly preserved Byzantine art, including images from the New Testament, may be viewed here.
Underground Cities: Derinkuyu, Kaymakli
Cappadocia is famous for its many subterranean towns, sometimes known as "underground cities." There are 36 in all, and they are said to have accommodated up to 10,000 people. Derinkuyu is the deepest (about 8 stories), extending 60m into volcanic rock. Kaymakli is the most extensive, and we recommend visiting Kaymakli Underground City (UNESCO) to get a basic understanding of how they are built and used.
Carved out of soft tufa rock, inhabitants sought protection underground for ages, using secret tunnels from their dwellings into the subterranean towns. The bedroom rooms were on the lower floors, while the kitchens/wineries were on the upper level. The chambers were connected by long hallways, tiny staircases, and a labyrinth-like tunnel system. Most of the time, the caves are pretty spacious, and you can comfortably stand in the major rooms. The stairwells and tunnels between rooms may be a bit tighter and require you to bend and squat, so plan accordingly.