Cappadocia, an ancient area in eastern central Anatolia. Located on a rocky plateau north of the Taus Mountains, in the center of modern Turkey. The boundaries of the region varied throughout history. The landscape includes dramatic spaces on a soft volcanic rock. Shaped by erosion in towers, cones, valleys and caves. The churches in rock formations and underground tunnel complexes from the Byzantine and Islamic era are scattered all over the countryside.
Neolithic ceramics and tools found in Cappadocia confirm early human presence in the region. Excavations in the modern city of Cultepe discovered the remains of the Hiteit-Assyrian city of Kane, dating back to the 3rd millennium. Tens of thousands of clay tablets found from the remains of the Assyrian trade colony in Kanesh are among the oldest written documents discovered in Turkey.
The earliest appearance of the name Cappadocia dates back to the 6th century BC when the feudal nobility of Cappadocia was dominated by Persian satrapies and Zoroastrian temple cults were widespread. Due to its harsh terrain and modest agricultural production, the area remained undeveloped in antiquity, with only a few significant cities.
Alexander the Great bypassed Cappadocia, but sent troops under the general Perdiccas (322 BC). After the battle for power after Alexander’s death, Cappadocia fell into the dynastic orbit of the Seleucids. Although the local aristocracy that originated in the Persian satraps continued to rule, and Persian religious practices persisted.
Position during the Roman period:
Cappadocia transferred its faithfulness to Rome after the Roman victory in Magnesia (190 BC). Remained faithful despite the attacks of Ponteks and Armenians from the 1st century. Cappadocia was retained as a Roman client state. Until Emperor Tiberius annexed it in the 17th year of her command of the strategic passage in Mount Taurus. The region had early contact with Christianity.
Acts of the Apostles announce that the Cappadocian Jews were present in Jerusalem during the fall of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2: 9). And the First Epistle of Peter mentions Cappadocia among the exiled Christian communities of Asia Minor (1 Peter 1: 1) . In the 4th century, three Cappadocian theologians – Basil the Great, Gregory Niss, and Gregory of Nazareth – made important contributions to the Christian thought in their works, refuting Arianism and explaining the doctrine of the Trinity.
Position during the Byzantine Empire:
The position of Cappadocia on the east side of the Byzantine Empire left open for attack. Battles of tribal groups in the 5th century prompted the construction of heavier fortifications in the area. In 611, the demolition of the Sasanian army ravaged the capital, Cappadocia, Caesarea (modern Kayseri).
Arab raids began in the 7th century and continued in the 10th. During these periods of instability, large complexes of Cappadocia of artificial caves and tunnels can be built or expanded from existing structures for use as shelters. However, the establishment of precise dates for their construction proved difficult.
Cappadocia enjoyed a period of prosperity in the 10th and 11th centuries. This led to an increase in the construction of churches and monasteries. Many of the surviving churches of this period are richly decorated. The Byzantine Empire permanently lost Cappadocia when it came under the control of Turks Seldjik. For the time they defeated the Byzantine army in the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
The name Cappadocia is now commonly used in the tourism industry to refer to an area extending from the western part of Kayseri to Aksaray (150 km). Also there are most of the monuments. The most visited attractions include stretching underground allegations of Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı and Göreme National Park.
There can be found a large number of rock-cut churches and apartments. In 1985, the Herem National Park and other rocky locations in the area were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.