Cappadocia (Kapadokya) Overview
Cappadocia (Kapadokya) is the only region in Anatolia which bears its ancient name at the present time. The very first name of it was Katpatuka which means “The Land of Fine Horses” in Persian language. While Cappadocia was an area of 100.000 sq km stretching from the northern foothills of the Taurus Mountains to the Black Sea region, what we call Cappadocia today is the area in the Nevşehir – Kayseri-Niğde triangle.
Its history goes back to Neolithic culture. The Persians, Cappadocian Kingdom, Romans, Byzantines, Anatolian Seljuks and the Ottomans are the other civilizations leaving their traces here Arab invasions are also important in its history.
Cappadocia is an area where culture and nature coexist. Floods and wind erosion caused by the eruption of Mount Erciyes and Mount Hasan, which were active volcanoes in Prehistoric times, have brought soft rock formations called tuff into existence and determined the topography of the area. The cones and the underground cities are directly related to this formation.
The Byzantines were the most effective in the area; and Byzantine culture is particularly pronounced in underground cities and in rock churches in the valleys.
Cappadocia was inhabited and reconstructed in the time of the Turks, too. The Seljuks and the Ottomans spread their cultures and left architectural traces here. The caravansaries, Hacıbektaş, and some structures in Ürgüp are Seljuk and Ottoman monuments in the area. The foundation of the province of Nevşehir, itself, is the foremost trace of the Ottomans. The structures in Cappadocia reflect the diversity and the variety of the cultures in the area. Not only the architecture but also the craft, such as frescoes, ceramics, carpets and rugs add to the cultural heritage.
The major places of particular interest are Ihlara, Zelve, Göreme and Soğanlı. In the valleys of great natural beauty and cultural diversity, the ancient cities of Avanos, Ürgüp and Hacıbektaş, and the historic Greek cities of Gelveri (Güzelyurt) and Sinasos (Mustafapasa) can be seen.
Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı are the biggest underground cities in Cappadocia. Agzikarahan and Son Hans are the largest Seljuk caravansaries here. Nevşehir, a city founded in the Ottoman period, has a distinctive Ottoman külliye.