About Cappadocia

The ancient region of Cappadocia lies in central Anatolia, between the cities of Nevsehir, Kayseri and Nigde. Here, the traveller finds one of the most fantastic landscapes in the world. Three million years ago, violent eruptions of the volcanoes Mt. Erciyes (3891m) and Mt. Hasan (3250m) covered the surrounding plateau with tuff. Wind and weather have eroded the soft volcanic rock into hundreds of strangely shaped pillars, cones and "fairy chimneys", often very tall, and in every shade from pink through yellow to russet browns.

Since the most ancient of times, men have hollowed out troglodyte dwellings in this soft rock, and here, at the dawn of Christianity, the early Christians made countless cave churches, chapels and monasteries. There are over 600 churches scattered through the valleys. The art style of the churches falles into two categories: the 8th and 9th centuries are the iconoclastic years, with decorations in red earth tones and symbolism in simple geometric motifs; the 10th to the 13th centuries saw decorations on a plaster base and show the lives of Christ and various saints. Interestingly, in some of the churches the frescoes of the later period have fallen off, revealing earlier decorations underneath. The architectural plan of the churches is uncomplicated.

Also in this region are a number of underground cities which were used by Christians as places to retreat to and live in until danger from their enemies had passed. These cities were well-hidden and safe. There were rooms for grain storage, stables, sleeping chambers, kitchens and air shafts. Today they are well-lit and would be an interesting part of your tour.

Goreme is an important area for shopping with its wonderful carpets and kilims, onyx souvenirs, and very fine local wines. It is also a wonderful region for trekking and for photo-safaris. The scenery is breathtaking in all four seasons: miniature poppies in the springtime, the touring hot-air balloons and flowers of summertime, autumn's grapes and blaze of gold, and the winter blanket of snow.

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