Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in the Nevşehir, Kayseri, Kırşehir, Aksaray, and Niğde Provinces in Turkey.
The name, traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history, continues in use as an international tourism concept to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage.
It’s name was probably derived from Katpatuka, land of the beautiful horses, in Hittite language. Cappadocia is generally regarded as the plains and the mountainous region of eastern central Anatolia around the upper and middle reaches of the river Kizilirmak (Red River). It was here that several ancient highways crossed and different cultures came into contact with each other. It was also the land of the Hittites.
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. the Hittites settled in the region. Soon the Assyrians (2000-1800 BC.) had established their trading posts. Phrygians probably ruled Cappadocia from 1250 BC., but the Lydians were expelled by the middle of the 6th century BC by the Persians who ruled until 334 BC.
In AD 17 the region became a Roman province, trade and military routes were built and urban centers and settlements were encourage. 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.
Basilius the Great (329-379 AD), bishop of Caesarea (modern day Kayseri), inspired many religious colonies and for a thousand years an active monastic way of life endured throughout Cappadocia. Invasions first from Turkmenistan and Mongolia and then from Seljuks and Ottomans put an end to the movement.
The area is a popular tourist destination, as it has many areas with unique geological, historic, and cultural features.
The most important towns and destinations in Cappadocia are Ürgüp, Göreme, Ihlara Valley, Selime, Guzelyurt, Uçhisar, Avanos and Zelve. Among the most visited underground cities are Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, Gaziemir and Ozkonak. The best historic mansions and cave houses for tourist stays are in Ürgüp, Göreme, Guzelyurt and Uçhisar.
Hot-air ballooning is very popular in Cappadocia and is available in Göreme. Trekking is enjoyed in Ihlara Valley, Monastery Valley (Guzelyurt), Ürgüp and Göreme.
The rocks of Cappadocia near Göreme eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars and minaret-like forms. People of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia Region carved out houses, churches and monasteries from the soft rocks of volcanic deposits. Göreme became a monastic centre in 300–1200 AD.
The first period of settlement in Göreme goes back to the Roman period. The Yusuf Koç, Ortahane, Durmus Kadir and Bezirhane churches in Göreme, and houses and churches carved into rocks in the Uzundere, Bağıldere and Zemi Valleys, all illustrate history and can be seen today. The Göreme Open Air Museum is the most visited site of the monastic communities in Cappadociaand is one of the most famous sites in central Turkey. The complex contains more than 30 carved-from-rock churches and chapels, some having superb frescoes inside, dating from the 9th century to the 11th century.
PLACES TO VISIT
Cappadocia is like a different planet in the middle of Anatolia. It is a dream country beautiful enough to make you forget the world you live while wandering its valleys and canyons.
The Dark Church is a domed and four-column monastery built in the 11th century. The church with the best frescoes of Cappadocia geography. Since it has a small window, very little daylight could enter, and the color richness of the decorations could reach today.
Güllüdere Valley is located between Çavuşin and Göreme. There are many churches, monasteries and living area ruins in the valley. Güllüdere, which is in demand as the trekking track where the fairy chimney formations can be best watched, is an area that is about 4 kilometers long and can only be reached on foot.
Love Valley is also known as Bağdere Valley. 4900 meters long place starting from Örencik on Göreme-Uçhisar road and ending on Göreme-Avanos road. The valley, where the balloon tours surely depend on the weather conditions, is also suitable for walking among the places to visit in Cappadocia.
Uçhisar Castle has a location that allows panoramic views of all the places to see in the Cappadocia region. This is one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunset.
Güvercinlik Valley is a 4100 meter long valley extending from Uçhisar to Göreme in Cappadocia, where Güvercinlik is concentrated. It takes its name from pigeons that feed in nests called dovecotes carved in the valleys. A pleasant trekking route to watch the pigeons and enjoy the view.
The Pasabaglari Museum and Ruin is a valley where interesting examples of fairy chimney formations can be seen. The most photogenic of the impressive Cappadocia fairy chimneys are here. It is also called the Valley of the Priests or the Valley of the Monks.
Devrent Valley,it is also called the Dream Valley or Perili Valley. It is located in Avanos geography. While one end of the valley, which has a U-shaped structure, is Dervent, the other end leads to Kızılçukur. The section in the middle is called Zelve and Paşabağları. The fairy chimneys in the valley, which is only 10 minutes away from Göreme, form silhouettes that can be compared to many animal and human forms. See the Virgin Mary fairy chimney, which looks like a nun from afar, in this must-see region of Cappadocia, which is also famous for its fairy chimney, where the famous camel figure appears.
Güray Museum is the world’s first and only underground ceramic museum. It introduces thousands of years of rich cultural accumulation of the region to visitors from many parts of the world. The tourists who come to the museum, which exhibits the development of traditional pottery and ceramic art in the historical process, experience pottery making themselves when they see and wish all the stages of ceramic and pottery manufacturing.
The Three Beauties consist of two big, one small fairy chimneys, which are the symbols of Cappadocia. Cappadocia tour programs are indispensable. These are the most famous fairy chimneys not only of Cappadocia but also of the world. The most photographed fairy chimneys in Cappadocia are Three Beauties.
Mazı Underground City is 18 km from Ürgüp and 10 km east of Kaymaklı Underground City. It is famous for its many rock tombs belonging to the Roman and Byzantine periods. The city, whose name was Mataza in ancient times, has four different entrances. One of the most magnificent parts of the city, which is thought to have been built for a very long time with both the excess of animal stables and its poetry, is the church reached through short corridors opened from the stables.
Sobesos Ancient City, is located in the region called Örencik. There are buildings that are thought to belong to the middle of the 4th century and the 5th century. It shows that it was a very developed campus in the past with its administrative buildings, meeting rooms and bathrooms decorated with wonderful mosaics.
By air: There are frequent flights to Kayseri Airport from Istanbul, Izmir and Antalya. In addition, there are also international flights to Kayseri, especially Germany and TRNC. The distance between Kayseri Airport and Cappadocia is about 82 km over Örenşehir – Avanos and takes a little over an hour.
Turkish Airlines and Pegasus scheduled flights from Istanbul to Nevsehir Cappadocia Airport . The distance between Nevsehir Cappadocia Airport and Cappadocia is 40 km.
Railway: When you go to Cappadocia by train, the nearest station is Kayseri Station. After arriving at Kayseri Train Station, you can easily switch to Kayseri Bus Station and the bus / minibus etc. are frequently found here. You can go to the region with the services or by renting a car.
Highway: You can go to Nevşehir by bus and from there you can pass to the Cappadocia region by shuttle services or taxis.