CAPPADOCIA TOURS AND PACKAGES
Cappadocia is located in central Turkey inside the triangle of Aksaray, Kayseri and Nigde. Cappadocia's lunar landscape was formed from a vast volcanic plateau created millions of years ago by the eruptions of Mt. Erciyes (3916m) and Mt. Hasan (3268m).The forces of erosion and wind shaped the tuff (volcanic ash) into fantastic shapes cones, pyramids, columns, mushrooms, animals etc.) known as "Peribacalar" or "Fairy Chimneys" and sculpted out breathtaking valleys. Steep canyons of andesite and basalt join these valleys to the plateau. Soganli and Ihlara are canyons in this mold, attaining a depth of 200m in places. Cappadocia was already settled in ancient times. Neolithic settlements discovered at Hacilar, Canhasan and Catalhoyuk date back as far as ten thousand years! Sometime around 1900 B.C. a folk arrived in the land of the Hatti. They called themselves the Hittites. Because of the Hittites, who were excellent breeders and trainers of horses, the area became known as "Katpatuka" or "Land of the Beautiful Horses".
Early Christians seeking refuge from the world's distractions in wild remote areas, came here to pray, fast and to do penance. In the 4th century A.D., three prominent Cappadocian saints made the area one of the earliest major centers of Christian religious life in the world. They were St. Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus (Nigde) and Gregory of Nyssa (Nevsehir). There are estimates of more than one thousand churches, chapels and monasteries cut into the rock, nearly 150 of which have original frescoes or mural paintings. The largest concentration is found near Goreme, Urgup, Ortahisar, Soganli and Ihlara Valley. Sometimes the only way to really discover them is on foot. To see all the mysterious valleys, churches and rock dwellings in Cappadocia would take months, years and maybe a lifetime would not be enough.
During the 7th century Cappadocia was a battlefield of Arab-Byzantine confrontation. The Early Christians and others began taking refuge in underground cities originally carved thousands of years ago, by people whose origins are still unclear. They re-developed ingenious defense systems such as stone doors in the shape of a millstone which could be rolled across an entrance to seal out intruders, wells that could not be accessed from above ground, and labyrinth escape routes. There are more than thirty underground cities in Cappadocia, some of which may be visited by the public. Here also, the Seljuk Turks left behind a legacy in the excellent architecture of the caravanserais on the Old Silk Road. Cappadocia is a wonder of nature and man, unique in its history at the crossroads of civilization.