Violent eruptions of the volcanoes Erciyes Dagi and Hasan
Dagi three million years ago, covered the surrounding
plateau with tuff. From the brittle rock the wind and rain
have eroded Cappadocia's spectacular, surrealist landscape
of rock cones, capped pinnacles and fretted ravines, in
colors ranging from warm reds and gold to cool greens and grays.
Cappadocia is one of those rare regions in the world,
where the works of man blend unobtrusively into the
landscape. Dwellings are known to have been hewn from the
rock as far back as 400 BC, when Xenophon mentioned them
in his Anabasis.
During Byzantine times, chapels and monasteries were
hollowed out of the rock, and their ochre toned frescoes
simply reflect the hues of the surrounding landscape. Even
today, troglodyte dwellings in rock cones and village
houses of volcanic tuff merge harmoniously into the
The most interesting sites of the region include the rock
chapels of Goreme, the troglodyte village of Avcilar, the
red-coned monastic complex of Zelve, villages of Ortahisar
and Uchisar clustered around rock pinnacles, the canyon of
Ihlara and underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu.
The center of the region are the town of Nevsehir and the
village of Uegup.
On the fringe of the volcanic plateau are the cities of
Kirsehir, Kayseri and Nigde, all once centers of Seljuk
Turks, whose arts add different dimension to the region.
It is intriguing that just as the region was the center
for the development of Christian monasticism in 4th
century, so too is proved fertile area for the development
of Islamic mysticism, science and art.
Two humanitarian Moslem sects, Ahi Brotherhood and
Bektashi Dervishes, originated in Kirsehir and Hacibektas
respectively, and several interesting buildings associated
with these sects can still be seen.