Cappadocia (Kapadokya) is a region of exceptional interest,
because of the fantastic and almost unreal
character of its landscapes, because of its
history and because of the way of life of
its populations. Cappadocia covers a triangle
area between Kayseri, Nigde
and Nevsehir where two volcanoes, the
Erciyes Dag (Mount Argaeus) and the
Hasan Dag reach 3916m /12,850 ft and
3268m / 10,720 ft at their highest point.
Cappadocia is a vast tuff plateau which relief
has been ragged by thousand million years
of erosion: wind, rain water and snow have
sculpted this unique scenery with canyons
and fairy chimneys (Peribacalari) which are
soft conical formations with hard basalt caps
that defy the laws of balance... Troglodytism
which has been a way of living for centuries,
can be seen everywhere: cave-dwellings, caves,
pigeon houses, churches, monasteries.
Cappadocia has been declared by the
UNESCO to be one of the Eminent
Cultural Heritages of the World.
domination succeeded to one another
the Great came to Asia Minor. The kingdom
of Cappadocia was founded, but the native
rulers joined Rome
in the 1C BC. The penetration of Christianity
came early with
St Paul who passed through Caesarea (Kayseri).
Later in 396, its annexation to the Eastern
Roman Empire favoured the complete conversion
of the region to Christianity. In spite of
the Arab invasions, local populations remained
faithful to Christianity and kept close contacts
Many religious communities and monasteries
developed in remote places of retreat where
they could lead an ascetic life. Men used
the geological formations to shelter their
churches and monasteries. The hermits prefered
to distance themselves from the world by cutting
into remote cones or fairy chimneys. Beautiful
early-Christian and Byzantine frescoes reveal
their sacred art and the succession of the
periods. The apogée of Christian Cappadocia
took place approximately between 915 and 1065.
After the arrival of the Seljuk
Turks in the 12th century, lots of mosques,
and other monuments rose in the region which
entered a period of economic prosperity. Under
the Ottomans, the
region became very peaceful, but arts and
trade declined. The monasteries were abandoned
but a Christian population continued to live
here until 1923, when the exchange
of populations took place between Greece
Sunset on the red Valley
Sahinefendi Valley with Erciyes Daği as background
In addition to the usual visits, Cappadocia
offers opportunities for hiking, horse or
donkey and mountain-bike riding.
It is highly recommended to experience
a hot-air balloon trip that will
take you for a breathtaking flight over
the lunar-shaped landscapes of Cappadocia.
is one of the most interesting 12C Seljuk
caravanseraiwhich has thick walls reinforced with
is the county-town of the region. Grand vizier
Damat Ibrahim Pasha of the Tulip
Period (Lâle Devri beginning of the 18C),
embellished his birth place, at the time called
Muskara, with the Kursunlu Mosque ("the
mosque covered with lead"), with a medrese,
hans and hammams. Since then the place has
been called Nevsehir which means "new
town". A Byzantine fortress restored
by the Seljuks
and the Ottomans,
overlooks the city. The local museum has interesting
Archaeoligical and ethnographical sections.
North of Nevsehir, outside Gülsehir
is a place called "Açik Saray"
which means the "open palace" and
which in fact was a cave-village with rock-cut
dwellings and monasteries probably dating
back to the 10 or 11 century. It is preferable
to visit the place in the morning when the
sun shines on the remarkable facades and the
The most outstanding historical monument in
Gülsehir is the "Külliye"
complex built by Kara Vezir Pasa in 1779 in
the Ottoman Baroque style. It consists of
a mosque, a medrese and fountain.
of Gülsehir is Hacibektas, famous
through mystic Haci
Bektas Veli who is the founder
of the Order of the Bektasi Dervishes.
The Convent has become the place of
pilgrimage of Alevi
Islam. Every year between 16-18
August, ten of thousands of people from
communities which follow the teachings
of Haci Bektas Veli attend the commemoration
ceremonies. Conferences, exhibitions,
bard contests, "semah" rituals,
concerts are organized during this Festival.
The Tomb of Haci Bektas Veli
is situated in the "Pirevi"
(the House of the Founder) inside the
"Külliye" complex which has
been transformed into the Haci Bektas-i