Cappadocia

Cappadocia is in central Turkey away from other main tourist attractions. However, the historical sites and natural wonders in the same places make this place important tourist destination.

It has a landscape that is impossible to see anywhere else in the world. It was created in millions of years by the eruption of the volcanoes that surround the area. There are valleys and impossible rock formations that some of them are really looked like carved statues.  In general they are cone shaped or with hat on the top. They are called either phallus rocks or mushroom rocks in English. Turks call all of them fairy chimneys. According to a local legend fairies and people lived together and than they made a war and separated.

One feel oneself living in a fairy tale especially by seeing all those rock carved houses churches, underground towns and rock castles.                                   

Cappadocia means “the land of beautiful horses’’ and it was a province of Persian Empire between 6th and 4th centuries B.C. After the campaign of Alexander the Great, local people resisted against Macedonian rule and Hellenistic culture and established Cappadocian Kingdom. It was extinguished in the wars against Roman rule and finally it became a province of the Roman Empire. Actual Hellenisation of the region was completed in this period.

Some important fathers of the early church were from this region: Such as St Basil, St George and St Theodore. It is believed that some early Christians escaped from the Roman persecution to this region and established some Christian communities. During the Sassanid invasion in 7th century A.D., some hermit communities were organized along with other Eastern Roman provinces. These hermit communities established in time some monastic communities that Goreme and Ihlara are the most famous ones. Some more Christians found sanctuary in this area during the religious controversies in Late Roman era especially during iconoclastic periods in 8th and 9th centuries. After the end of iconoclasm in 10th century, these churches carved out of rock were decorated with frescoes including figurative images. Most of them are from Byzantine period but many of them were painted under Selcuk Turkish rule as well.

In 13th century nearby Hacıbektaş town became important religious centre as the centre of the Bektasi order. In following century this orders’ dervishes became the priests of the Yeniceri     which was the shock troops of the Ottoman Empire. In 18th century, Nevsehir became in important political centre in the time of Grand Vizier Damad Ibrahim Pasha. These helped the Islamisation of the region.

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