Cappadocia

Cappadocia is the region that emerged 60 million years ago when the soft layers of lava and ashes erupted by Erciyes, Hasandağı and Güllüdağ were eroded by rain and wind for millions of years.

Human settlement dates back to the Paleolithic period. The lands where the Hittites lived became one of the most important centers of Christianity in later periods. Houses and churches carved into the rocks made the region a huge shelter for Christians escaping from the oppression of the Roman Empire.

Geographer Strabo also mentions the borders of Cappadocia in his book titled “Geographika” (Geography-Anatolia XII. XIII, XIV) written during the period of the Roman Emperor Augustus. According to this tariff, Cappadocia extended to the Taurus Mountains in the south, Aksaray in the west, Malatya in the east, and the Black Sea in the north. Today, the region called Cappadocia is a region with its geographical formations concentrated in an area of ​​250 km² and spread to the provinces of Kırşehir, Niğde, Aksaray and Kayseri, especially Nevşehir. The most visited regions are; Uçhisar, Göreme, Avanos, Ürgüp, Derinkuyu, Kaymaklı, and Ihlara.

Cappadocia region is a place where nature and history are integrated. While geographical events formed the Fairy Chimneys, in the historical process, people carved houses, churches, and monasteries into these fairy chimneys and decorated them with frescoes and brought the traces of thousands of years of civilizations to the present day. The written history of Cappadocia, where human settlements date back to the Paleolithic period, begins with the Hittites. Cappadocia, which hosted trade colonies throughout history and established a commercial and social bridge between countries, is also one of the important crossroads of the Silk Road.

With the collapse of the Hittite Empire in the 12th century BC, a dark period begins in the region. During this period, the late Hittite Kings with Assyrian and Phrygian influences dominated the region. These Kingdoms last until the Persian occupation in the 6th century BC.

In 332 BC, Alexander the Great defeated the Persians but faced great resistance in Cappadocia. During this period, the Kingdom of Cappadocia is established. Towards the end of the 3rd century BC, the power of the Romans began to be felt in the region. In the middle of the 1st century BC, the kings of Cappadocia were appointed and deposed by the power of the Roman generals. When the last Cappadocia king died in 17 AD, the region became a province of Rome.

Christians come to Cappadocia in the 3rd century AD and the region becomes education and thought center for them. Between the years 303-308, the pressure applied to Christians increases. But Cappadocia is an ideal place to avoid oppression and to spread Christian teaching. Deep valleys and shelters they carved from soft volcanic rocks create a safe area against Roman soldiers.

The 4th century is the period of people who were later called “Fathers of Cappadocia”. But the importance of the region, III. It reaches its climax with Leon’s ban on icons. In the face of this situation, some pro-icon people start to take shelter in the region. Iconoclasm movement lasts more than a hundred years (726-843). Although a few Cappadocian churches were under the influence of Iconoclasm during this period, those who favored icons easily continued their worship here. Cappadocia monasteries develop in this period.

Also during these periods, Arab raids started in the Christian regions of Anatolia from Armenia to Cappadocia. People fleeing these raids cause the style of the churches in the region to change. Cappadocia passed into the hands of the Seljuks in the 11th and 12th centuries. In this and the following Ottoman times, the region goes through a smooth period. The last Christians in the region left Cappadocia with the exchange in 1924-26, leaving behind beautiful architectural examples.