Cappadocia

Cappadocia is an area in Central Anatolia in Turkey best known for its unique moon-like landscape, cave churches and houses carved in the rocks. The area is a famous and popular tourist destination, as it has many areas with unique geological, historic and cultural features.

The name “Cappadocia” was traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history and is still widely used as an international tourism concept to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a uniquehistorical and cultural heritage. Turkey’s Cappadocia region has countless dwellings carved from its rocks, including underground cities that were used as hiding places for early Christians. The term “Cappadocia”, as used in tourism, roughly corresponds to present-day Nevşehir Province. In pre-Hellenistic times, Persians, Assyrians, Greeks and Hittites all lived in Cappodocia. All of these groups were Hellenised in the era of the Greek city-states. In the Middle Ages, Turkish tribes arrived. These Turks are the majority ethnic group in Cappadocia today. the name could be genuine Old Persian, meaning “land of the beautiful horses”, consistent with the fact that ancient Cappadocia was famous for its horse breeding.

cappadociaCappadocia is also mentioned in the biblical account given in the Bible. The Cappadocians were named as one group hearing the Gospel account from Galileans in their own language on the day of Pentecost shortly after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Under the later kings of the Persian Empire, the Cappadocians were divided into two satrapies. The kingdom of Cappadocia was still in existence in the time of Strabo as a nominally independent state.

Cappadocia contains several underground cities, largely used by early Christians as hiding places before Christianity became an accepted religion. The underground cities have vast defence networks of traps throughout their many levels. These traps are very creative, including such devices as large round stones to block doors and holes in the ceiling through which the defenders may drop spears. These defense systems were mainly used against the Romans. The tunnel system also was made to have thin corridors for the Roman fighting strategy was to move in groups which was not possible to do in the thin corridors making it easy to pick them off. TheCappadocian Fathers of the 4th century were integral to much of early Christian philosophy. It also produced, among other people, another Patriarch of Constantinople, John of Cappadocia, who held office 517—520. For most of theByzantine era it remained relatively undisturbed by the conflicts in the area with the Sassanid Empire, but was a vital frontier zone later against the Muslim conquests. From the 7th century, Cappadocia was divided between the Anatolic and Armeniac themes. In the 9th–11th centuries, the region comprised the themes of Charsianon and Cappadocia.

The most important towns and destinations in Cappadocia are Urgup, Goreme, Ihlara Valley, Selime, Guzelyurt, Uchisar, Avanos, and Zelve. Among the underground cities worth seeing are Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, Gaziemir, and Ozkanak. The best historic mansions and cave houses for tourist stays are in Urgup, Goreme, Guzelyurt, and Uchisar. Derinkuyu Underground City is an ancient multi-level underground city in the Cappadocia. With its eleven floors extending to a depth of approximately 85 m, it was large enough to shelter tens of thousands of people together with their livestock and food stores. It is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey and is part of a network of several underground complexes found across Cappadocia. Hot-air ballooning is very popular in Cappadocia and is available in Goreme.