Cappadocia - Fairy Chimneys at Zelve - Göreme

Cappadocia is a region in Central Anatolia famous for its unique moon-like landscape with fairy chimneys, cave churches, and underground cities.

Historical Background

The history of Cappadocia began with the eruption of three volcanoes (Erciyes Dağı, Hasan Dağı, and Melendiz Dağı) about 10 million years ago. As a result, the region was covered with a thick layer of volcanic ash, which hardened into soft-porous stone, called tuff. Wind, water and sand erosion wore away portions of the tuff, carving it into unearthly shapes. The tuff was also easily worked with primitive tools and the inhabitants learned how simple it was to carve out sturdy dwellings. The region was once the heart of the Hittite Empire, later it was a province of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, which developed into the independent Kingdom of Cappadocia. Finally, it was incorporated into the Roman Empire as a vast province.

In the 3rd century CE, Christianity arrived in Cappadocia and cave churches with elaborate decoration were excavated. The number of churches that were carved from the rocks is unparalleled. Descendants of the original settlers lived here until 1923 when an exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey took place. Today, Cappadocia is one of Turkey's most visited tourist areas.

In 1985, the Göreme Valley National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia received the official status of UNESCO World Heritage site.

Sights & Photos of Cappadocia

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Travel Information & Travel Tips

The provincial capital of Cappadocia is Nevşehir, and in old days it was the only place with decent hotels. Today, there are plenty of facilities available in Avanos, Ürgüp, and especially Göreme. I visited Cappadocia in 1982, 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2010. Both in 2002 and 2010 we stayed at the Ottoman House in Göreme, which is a very pleasant and friendly place to stay (Tel.: +(90) 384 271 26 16, Fax: +(90) 384 271 26 19, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Orta Mahalle No 36). One of the main advantages of the Ottoman house is certainly the presence of a large indoor swimming pool. The staff is also of help in organizing tours. It is best to stay a few days or even a full week in Cappadocia and even then, it is impossible to see everything.

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