CAPPADOCİA , ancient region of Asia Minor, watered by the Halys River (the modern Kizil Irmak), in present E central Turkey. The name was applied at different times to territories of varying size. At its greatest extent Cappadocia stretched from the Halys valley E to the Euphrates River, from the Black Sea S to the heights of the Taurus and Anti-Taurus ranges. Mostly a high plateau, it was famous for its mineral resources, particularly its copper and iron. Cappadocia maintained its local Asian traditions in contrast to the Mediterranean seacoast of Asia Minor, which was dominated by the Aegean culture. Several thousand tablets, written in cuneiform by Assyrian colonists in Cappadocia, have been found at Kültepe (Kanesh); they show that a highly developed trade existed between Assyria and Asia Minor before 1800 B.C. At that time Cappadocia was the heart of an old Hittite state. Later the Persians controlled Cappadocia. It did not yield fully to the conquest of Alexander the Great, and during the 3d cent. B.C. it gradually developed as an independent kingdom. Pontus now became completely separated from Cappadocia. The kings had their capital at Mazaca (later Caesarea Mazaca); the only other important cities were Tyana and Melitene, though Iconium was at times in Cappadocia. In the 2d and 1st cent. B.C. the Cappadocian dynasty maintained itself largely by siding with Rome. Invaded in 104 B.C. by Mithradates VI and c.90 B.C. by his son-in-law, Tigranes of Armenia, Cappadocia was restored by Pompey. Antony replaced the king, who had been disloyal to Rome in the Parthian invasion at the time of Julius Caesar, and in A.D. 17 Rome annexed the region as a province and Cappadocia became prosperous….More


Urgup is a town and a district of Nevsehir Province in Cappadocia, Turkey. It is renowned for its nightlife, and its better adjustment to tourism than nearby Goreme, making it a popular night stop for Cappadocia tourists.Urgup which was founded on the outskirts of the hill named as Hill of Wishes is located about 20 km north of the Nevsehir province in one of the first settlement areas of Cappadocia region. In the Byzantine period it was called Osiana, Hagios, Prokopios. During the Seljuks period it was referred to as Bashisar and in the period of Ottomans as Burgut Castle. Until the first years of the Turkish Republic it was called Urgup. Urgup was also the patriarchate center of the Cappadocia region during the Byzantine period. The Uzumlu Church, Cambazli Church and Sarica Church in Ortahisar are the oldest rock churches from the region. Furthermore the Tavsanli Church and Church of Saint Basileious are also spectacular places. Urgup known for it’s famous cave hotels, wines and hand made carpets is the most important tourism center of the Cappadocia Region. The old cave houses were restored as touristy cave hotels. They can be rented and used without damaging their historic structure. Among the cave hotels some of the caves have converted to nightclubs and bars.


Goreme (Greek: Κόραμα (”Korama”)), located among the “fairy chimneys” rock formations, is a town in Cappadocia, a historical region of Turkey. It is in the Nevsehir Province in Central Anatolia. The Goreme National Park (Goreme Milli Parklar in Turkish) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.The first period of settlement within the region reaches to Roman period of Christianity era. Among historical sites are Ortahane, Durmus Kadir, Yusuf Koc and Bezirhane churches in Goreme, including Tokali Kilise, the Apple Church, houses and shafts engraved from rocks.

Open Air Museum

Goreme is a district of the Nevsehir Province in Turkey. After the eruption of Mount Erciyes about 2000 years ago, the lava formed soft rocks in the Cappadocia Region. People of Goreme, at the heart of the Cappadocia Region, realized that these soft rocks could be easily carved out to form houses, churches, monasteries.
Tokalı Kilise (or the Church of the Buckle), is the largest church in Goreme. Restoration of the church was completed during the 1960s. One noted feature of the church is the main nave containing ninth century frescoes in “provincial” style, the more recent additions are three apses of the 11th century frescoes, which are rendered in “metropolitan” style. The church contains frescoes of the twelve apostles, the saints and scenes from the life of Jesus (963-969 and 11th century respectively). The church also has a crypt underneath the nave. The Buckle Church is formed of four chambers: the Old Church, the New Church, the Paracclesion, and the Lower Church. The older Church dates to the 10th century, with pale hues of red and green painted in strips to represent scenes from the New Testament. Panels of rich indigo painted with pigments from the lapis stone dominate the New Church, carved out of the eastern wall of the Old Church and decorated with Eastern-style arches and a series of arcades. The Paracclesion is a chapel with a single apse, and the Lower Church has three aisles and a burial space or krypto.
Elmalı Kilise (or the Apple Church) a smaller cave church. Was built around 1050AD and has carved into four irregular pillars the sign of a Greek cross with these pillars support it’s central dome. Restoration on the church was completed in 1991, but the frescoes continue to chip off, revealing a layer of earlier paintings underneath. The church’s paintings depict scenes of the saints, bishops, and martyrs. and to the right of the altar, a Last Supper with the symbolic fish (the letters of the word fish in Greek, ΙΧΘΥΣ, stand for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Savior”). The name of the church is believed to refer to a reddish orb in the left hand of the Archangel Michael in the dome of the main apse, or possibly to an apple tree that grew in the vicinity.
Barbara Kilise, (or the Church of Saint Barbara) Barbara was an Egyptian saint who was imprisoned by her father in order to protect her from the influences of Christianity. Barbara nevertheless found a way to practice her faith and her father tortured and killed her. Built in the late Eleventh Century A.D, the church was possibly built as a tribute to the Martyr-Saint. The church has the same layout as Çarikli Kilise. The church has a cross-domed with three apses, the dome containing Christ on the Throne. with geometrical patterns painted in red ochre believed to be symbolic in nature. Another frescoe with the large locust possibly representing evil, which is warded off by the protection of two adjacent crosses. The north wall of the church contains a frescoe of St. George and St Theodore on horse-back struggling against the dragon and snake.
Yilanlı Kilise(or the Snake Church) is a simple barrel-vaulted church with a low ceiling and long nave. It is name for the frescoe of Saints Theodore and St George slaying the dragon (or snake as depicted in the frescoe). The church also has a frescoe of Emperor Constantine and his mother Saint Helena depicted holding the “True Cross.” Legend has it that she discovered the cross upon which Jesus was crucified after seeing it in a dream, and that a piece of the cross is still buried in the foundations of the Ayasofya in Istanbul. Other sections of the cross are in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and in St. Peter’s in Rome. Another interesting portrait is the one of Saint Onuphrius on the upper wall to the right of the entrance. The saint, lived the life of a hermit in the Egyptian desert near Thebes, Egypt and is usually depicted with a long gray beard wearing only a fig leaf.
Karanlık Kilise (or the Dark Church) was a monastic compound built in the 11th century. After the Turkish expulsion it was used as a pigeon house until 1950s. After 14 years of scraping pigeon droppings off the walls, these newly restored frescoes, depicting scenes from the New Testament, are the best preserved in all of Cappadocia and a fine example of 11th-century Byzantine art. Part of the narthex or vestibule however collapsed opening part of the church’s roof to the sky. This caused damage to the fresco with Christ’s Ascension and the Benediction of the Saints, whereas the other scenes are only partially remain where the wall collapsed. The church’s name possibly comes from a small oculus looking out of the narthex which only lets in a very small amount of light. This feature is what has preserved the richness of the pigments and allowed them survived the test of time.
Carıklı Kilise (the Church with Sandals ) the name is comes from the two footprints at the bottom of the Ascension fresco at the church’s entrance (this fresco is said to be an exact copy of the one contained at the Church of the Ascension in Jerusalem). The church is cut into the same rock as Karanlik Kilise. The footprints themselves, have many unconfirmable legends attached to them. The church is carved into a cross floor plan with intersecting vaults. The church’s frescoes, which date to the 11th century, contain the four Evangelists, the Nativity and and the Crucifixion, the Baptism, the Adoration of the Magi, and other New Testament themes


Uchisar is situated at the highest point in the region, on the Nevsehir-Goreme road, just 7 km from Nevsehir. It is not known when Uchisar was first inhabited , however, in style, it resembles Ortahisar and the Selime Kalesi (castle) in the Ihlara Region.
The top of the citadel provides a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area. Many rooms hollowed out into the rock are connected to each other with stairs, tunnels and passages. At the entrances of the rooms, there are millstone doors, just like the ones in the underground settlements, used to control access to these places. Due to the erosion in places of this multi-leveled castle, it is unfortunately not possible to reach all the rooms.
The fairy chimneys to the west, east and north of Uchisar were hollowed out and used as graves during the Roman period. Inside these rock cut tombs, the entrances of which generally face west, are klines or stone slabs on which the bodies were laid. Many rock cut churches have been discovered not only on the skirts of the castle but also inside it. The reason for this may be the fact that Goreme, having numoreus churches and monasteries, is very close to Uchisar. The simple Byzantine graves on top of the castle are not very interesting due to the fact that they have been eroded and ransacked. It is said that in towns with citadels, e.g. Uchisar, Ortahisar and Urgup (Bashisar), long defense tunnels reached far into the surrounding areas. However, since the tunnels have collapsed in places, this theory cannot be confirmed, but is a popular myth as to the great distances they cover.


Mustafapasa, 6km to the south of Urgup, was inhabited by Greek Orthodox families until the beginning of the 20th century. The houses dating back to the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries display fine examples of stonework.
Gomede valley, to the west of Mustafapasa, resembles a small version of the Ihlara Canyon. As at Ihlara, the walls of the valley house churches and shelters carved from the rock, and a river runs through the valley. The important churches and monasteries around Mustafapasa are, the Church of Aios Vasilos, the Church of Constantine-Elene, Churches in the Monastery Valley and, the Church of St. Basil and Alakara in Gomede valley.There is also a Medrese built during the Ottoman period and displaying fine examples of stone masonry and woodcraft.


Avanos is a town and a district of Nevsehir Province of Turkey, located 18 km north of Nevsehir. It is situated at the heart of the historic and touristic region of Cappadocia. With its rich architectural heritage, Avanos is a member of the Norwich-based European Association of Historic Towns and Regions (EAHTR) [1]. The old city of Avanos, whose name in ancient times was Venessa overlooks the longest river of Turkey, the Kızılırmak (Red River), which also separates it from the rest of Cappadocia.
The most famous historical feature of Avanos, which is still relevant and very visible today, is its production of earthenware pottery. The ceramic trade in this district and its countless pottery factories date right back to the Hittites, and the ceramic clay from the red silt of the Kızılırmak has always been used. It is a popular destination because of its attractive old town with cobbled streets, and superb views over the river.


Zelve located in the valley of Damsa, 5km southeast of the town of Avanos in the vicinity of Nevsehir and 6 km north of Urgup. The han is on the Aksaray-Kayseri route in the east-west connection.
Saruhan, built during the reign of Izzettin Keykavus I -maybe upon his orders- in 1249, covers an area of 2000 m square. Yellow, reddish pink and light brown regular stone blocks were used as building material in Saruhan.
A decorative look was achieved by using stone of two different colours in the arches of both the monumental portal and the inner portal. In the outer portal, the upper parts of which partly collapsed, mainly geometrical decorations were used like in the other sultanhans. Its domed mescid, unlike other caravanserais, was built above the monumental portal. The doorway of the mescid, facing the courtyard, is decorated with squinches with mukarnases. To the left of the large courtyard is a portico with a fountain and to the right are the places for accommodation and bathing. The small lines on some of the stones used in the porticoes are stonemasons’ marks. The hall where animals and their keepers stayed is similar to the ones in Aksaray Sultanhan and Agzikarahan. The oculus, seated on pendentives is quite plain.
The Han, the upper parts of which have collapsed in places, was returned to its original state with the completion of its restoration in 1991. After Saruhan, one of the latest examples of Sultahhans, the Seljuk Sultans did not have hans built.