Nevsehir Information

About Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

One of the characteristics of Cappadocia is having plenty of underground cities . It's known that there are more than a hundred of underground settlements in the region and many of them are not open for visits. The underground cities, which are guessed to be used since the Bronze Age, used to be a settlement mostly in Byzantine period, doubtless. In this period, increasing invasions forced local residents to build underground cities for protection and religious purposes.

Certainly the most interesting features of the Cappadocia area are the underground cities founded within. Until now even that have been determined about 40 underground cities just six of these have been opened for visit. Nobody can know how many underground cities there are in the Cappadocia area. Some say that there is one for every village and settlement in the region but certainly not all of the sites can be described as cities. Well known underground cities of Cappadocia area are Tatlarin Underground city Derinkuyu Underground City, Ozkonak Underground City, Mazi Village Underground City, Kaymakli Underground City and Gaziemir Underground City

The first inhabitants of Cappadocia area have opened deep cavities within the volcanic rocks due to escape from the attacks of the wild animals and hard winter conditions and then they have enlarged these cavities according to their daily needs, they opened new cavities and created the underground cities connecting these cavities with tunnel and labyrinths. Later the underground cities were the place of the hiding of the first Christians who escaped from the persecution of the Roman soldiers and were enlarged to able when were necessary an entire city to live and every kind of fixture necessary for the living of the people has been attached. When there wasn't any danger the people living on the ground in case of the danger have hidden in the underground cities. For this reason all the homes at that time were connected to the underground cities with a tunnel.

In all of the underground cities there are ventilation chimneys reaching place by place to a depth of 80 and until the underground waters. These chimneys were opened due to meet the need of both the ventilation and water. Within the cities that are tepid in winters and cool in summers there are kitchens, cribs, wine houses, depots for cereals, meeting saloons, toilets shortly every kind of living space necessary for living. Within all the cities there are locking stones which can be opened and closed only from inside against to the threats which may come from outside.
The oldest written source about underground cities is the Anabasis named book of Xenophon (Written around B.C. 4). In the book is mentioned that the people living in Anatolia have caved their houses underground and that the houses are connected to each other with holes: "The houses were built underground; the entrances were like wells but they broadened out lower down. There were tunnels dug in the ground for the animals wkile the men went down by ladder. Inside the houses there were goats, sheep, cows and poultry with their young..."


Sultanhan was built in the years 1228 to 1229 by Alaattin keykubat, this han is an exceptional example of architectural stone work and decoration art from the Seljuk period. It was constructed to provide security for the road from Konya to Aksaray that was an important trade and military route. It is a classic Seljuk han with summer and winter quarters plus a mescit and stables. The hans built in the Seljuk period under the direction of the Hanbeyi (Lord of hans). His duty was to make sure that the trade routes were secure. There was always a cavalry force in each han and in times of war these forces joined those of the Sultan. The han is 40 km along the Aksaray Konya highway.


Agzikarahan is located 15 km along Aksaray to Nevsehir highway in Cappadocia, it is mentioned as the Hoca mesud han in the Ottoman sources. Building was started in 1231 under Alaattin Keykubat and was completed under Giyaseddin Keyhusrev in 1239. It consist of a bath house (hamam), soup kitchen and summer and winter residences. The entrance has all features of stonework and decoration peculiar to the Seljuks.


Aksaray offers the traveller unique journeys into one of nature's showcases. It boasts beautiful geological formations and a rich history. It is a charming town at the heart of the Cappadocia region.

The Ihlara Valley is a wonderful example of nature, people, history and art being bound togother in one place. The innermost secrets of it come slowly to light when you begin to explore.

The first civilisation at Aksaray on the volcanic tufa-rock lands of Cappadocia was at Asikli and dates from 8.000 years B.C. At Asiklihoyuk (mound) is the oldest village belonging to the Neolithic Period in Anatolia and the Near East.

In its long history Aksaray has been the cradle to various civilisations. From 3000 B:C. to 2000 B.C. the Hatti tribes lived in Anatolia. During this period Assyrian merchants traded in this area.

Towards the end of the period of colonisation, the Hittites coming from the Caucasus around 1700 B.C. founded small city-states and made Anatolia into a military state.

In the 1st C. A.D. St Paul and the disciples began to spread Christianity provoking the polyheistic Romans. For the sake of safety the early Christians started to seek out less confrontational places to settle. Also many religious men seeking solitude came to this region.

Aksaray came under Seljuk sovereignity in 1142 during the reign of Kilicaslan II. At this time palaces, madrasas, lodged and caravanserais were built. Kilicaslan II. built a palace and changed the name from Arkhelais to Aksaray (lit. pure palace) and it became a virtual second capital city. The city did not allow bad people to enter. And because of this it was known as "Sehr-i Suhela" meaning the place where goog people live. Aksaray became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1470 when it passed to Ishak Pasha. After the conquest of Istanbul the city was under populated and many Aksaray people were resettled in Istanbul, which is the reason that there a district of Istanbul named Aksaray.

In 1920 Aksaray became a province. In 1933 that status was annulled and it became of the province of Nigde. On June 15th, 1989 it became a province once more. The region has been home to different religious artefacts found here belonging especially to the Islamic and Christian periods. Of hundreds of examples 29 have been chosen as being especially valuable from the point of view of religious tourism. Of these eight are Islamic, each a masterpiece in its own right that attract hundreds of thuosands of visitors. The examples are:
Ulu Mosque, Egri Minaret, Tapduk Emre Turbe, Seyh Hamid-i Veli Turbe, Kilicaslan Turbe, Yunus Emre Turbe, Selime Sultan Turbe and Kaya Mosque.


Alayhan is situated 40 km along Aksaray to Nevsehir highway within the village of Alayhan in Cappadocia area of Turkey. There is no inscription. The front and courtyard sections ar in ruins. It is guessed that it was built by Pervane bey during the reign of Kilicaslan II. It displays all architectural features of a traditional Seljuk caravanserai.


Avanos taking place at 18 km in the north of center of Nevsehir has been settled on the coast of the Kizilirmak River. Its name from antique periods is Venessa. The most important feature of the region is the manufacture of clay jugs, biscuits, and jars. The jar makers continuing since the period of the Hittites are still continuing their traditions. At the archeological diggings made in the Zank Mound near the town Sarilar of Avanos there has been discovered the ruins belonging to the different culturs from the Old Bronze Age and until to Late Roman Period. Sarihan which is 5 km far away from Avanos is one of the most beautiful examples of the classical Seljuk architecture. At Sarihan which in our days is used as a touristy place every night are made Mevlevi ceremonies.

    Central Anatolia
    The central Anatolia plateau was also cradle of human civilization. At Catalhoyuk, remains of settlements as old as the eight millenium BC have been unearthed. Here in the homeland of many civilizations and the historic battleground between East and West, the Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Galatians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottoman all fought for their sovereignty and established their rule. In the 11th century, migrating Turks from the east made the plateau their own. During its turbulent history, Central Anatolia has endured invasion by great conquerors, such as Alexander the great and Tamerlane. In the course of ten millennia of habitation, the denizens of the area have reflected in their art the dramatic contours of the surrounding landscape, from the vigorous paintings of Catalhoyuk and the confident lines of Seljuks architecture, to more recently, the impressive modern from of Ataturk's mausoleum.
    The most important city of central Anatolia is Ankara. Ankara is capital of Turkey. The city of Ankara lies in the center of Anatolia on the eastern edge of the great, high Anatolian Plateau, at an altitude of 850 meters. The province is a predominantly fertile wheat steppeland, with forested areas in the northeast. It is bordered by the provinces of Cankiri and Bolu to the north, Eskisehir to the west, Konya and Aksaray to the south, and Kirikkale nar Kirsehir to the east.
    Mevlana Museum, Konya
    The region's history goes back to the Bronze Age Hatti Civilizaion, which was succeeded in the 2nd milliennium BC by the Hittites, in the 10th century BC by the Phrygians, then by the Lydians and Persians. After these came the Galatians, a Celtic race who were the first to make Ankara their capital in the 3rd century BC. It was then known as Ancyra, meaning "anchor" one of the oldest words in the language of the sea-loving Celts. The city subsequently fell to the Romans, and to the Byzantines. Seljuks Sultan Alparslan opened the door into Anatolia for Turks at the victory of Malazgirt in 1071. Then in 1073, he annexed Ankara, an important location for military transportation and natural resources, to Turkish territory

Undergrand Cities in Capadocia

    Derinkuyu Underground City in Capadocia
    Derinkuyu is situated on Nevsehir-Nigde roadway at 30 km in south region of Nevsehir. The history of the district of Derinkuyu named as Melagobia (Malakopi) which was meaning in the period of Eti the hard living is very old. In the district there are many underground cities and churches. As all of the underground cities from region of Cappadoccia it was the first place where the Christians have hidden. It has been used as hiding and refuge place at the time of wars occurred in the zone in the different periods of the history. The Derinkuyu Underground City with seven floors and depth of 85 mt has the dimensions of a city able to shelter thousands of persons. Inside there are found food stores, kitchens, stalls, churches, wine production places, ventilation chimneys, water wells and a missionary school.
    Gaziemir Underground City in Capadocia
    One of the Cappadocia area underground cities is Gaziemir underground city. Gaziemir underground city, which was opened on June 23, 2007, has an entrance hall built with stone and is 10 mt in lenght. This hall is built with overlap technique that we see another example in Hattusha, the capital city of Hittites. At the end of the hall there is an open area to reach the other partsof the underground city. The other parts of the stracture is located around this area. This stracture has kept being unavailable because this area was full of mud that was carried by floods.

    Many remains found during cleaning works indicate that the underground city was used during Byzantine period. Two churches, a winery, and many wine barrels are encountered in the underground city. Along with these remains, food stores, bams, tandoor fireplaces. Turkish baths, and various living areas can be seen. many of the corridors that link different areas are wide enough for a camel to pass through. Camel bones and animal tying places carved in walls, suggest that here was used as a public house, during following periods
    Kaymakli Underground City in Capadocia
    Kaymakli underground city is on the Ihlara valley roadway and 20 km far from Nevsehir province. Ancient name was Enegup. Kaymakli people were built their homes around the underground city tunnels for security reason. Kaymakli underground city has 8 storey and 5000 peoples can live in it, 4 storey is open yet. The deepest point of the visit is under 20 meters. Kaymakli was built in around a main ventilation chimney. Ventilation system is so successful that not feel a problem even the fourth floor. Has all housing conditions for crowdy group temporary housing. There are rooms and halls connecting to each other with narrow corridor, wine tanks, water cistern, kitchen and food stores, ventilation chimneys, water wells, churches and large lock stones for any danger from out.

    First floor is used for animal shelter. Usually first floor of underground cities uses as animal shelter for difficult to take animals the downstairs. Second floor has a church with two abscissa. There are baptism stones front of the abscissas and a cemetery for important persons near the church. Moreover this floor has a big lock stone for close passing. Lock stones are circular and has a hole in the middle, 55-60 cm thick, 170-175 cm long and 200-500 kg weight. Lock stones closes the entrance by ronunding vertical position in the special section at the entrance of the tunnel. There are labyrinths, hasn't exit tunnels and so many ambushes and secret passages for escape. Third floor is larger ans spacious than the others and used as a food store, has so many sections for keep back wine, wheat and flour. Moreover there are winnery and kitchen. There are big food stores in the fourth floor. This is show that underground city people has a regularly economy living.
    Mazi Village Underground City in Capadocia
    Mazi Village which the ancient name "Mataza"" 18 km south from Urgup and 10 km east from kaymakli underground city. There are early Roman period king tombs both perpendicular slope of the valley. Plateau has so many Byzantium period.

    Mazi underground city has been carved west perpendicular slope of the village into the valley. Detected in 4 different locations input, main entrance hall is built with irregular stones. Big circular stone in the short corridor for control input /output of the underground city.

    Acroos the entrance space is barn, barns which spread to large areas of the underground city, is indifferent from others. However, there is a carved rock basin middle of a barn is the different speciality from the others. So many barns indicates that welfare level is so high because of the abundance of animal production.

    Via a short corridor is reached to underground city church from barns. Entrance of this place can be closed with a circular stone. Church abscissa has been carved in the corner and the front is decorated with relief.

    A space between the barns were used as winery. There is a chimney top of the winery for.
    Ozkonak Underground City in Capadocia
    Ozkonak town of Nevsehir city which 14 km northeast of Avanos is located on the northern slopes of the Idis Mountain, there are supernormal underground structure of Ozkonak underground city. There is only a single main passage, and the whole city is built along it by cut volcanic granite. Ozkonak underground city has long, narrow connections, about 5cm in diameter, connect the different levels and naighbouring chambers. They were used for communication between the levels and for ventilation. There are ten rooms, four big salloon, eight water well, four tombs, ventilation system, winery and closeable doors via circle stone like millstone for security reason. Additionally there are so many ambushes in the long narrow tunnels for to mislead enemy in the Ozkonak underground city.

    Common among the underground cities are huge millstone doors. The millstones were rolled into narrow sections of the passage and wedged from behind. Here at Ozkonak, they have a special feature in front of the millstone doors on the ceiling are small holes. They are connected with a tunnel above, and were used to pour hot oil on the enemy or to spear them.

    Ozkonak underground city was discovered in 1972, there are ten floors totally but only four floors open now because of has not been completely cleaned yet.
    Tatlarin Underground City in Capadocia
    Tatlarin underground city, which was one of the most important underground cities of the Cappadocia region, could only be discovered in 1975 because its original entrance had collapsed and had gone underground to be opened to the visits of tourists in 1991.

    The toilet in it demonstrates that toilets were being used in Anatolia around 3000 years ago. There are many food storage areas and churches within it. It is believed to have been used as a center for religious or military purposes judging by the large size of its rooms. Only two floors of the Tatlarin underground city which has spread over a pretty large area can be visited currently, however works continue to open the other floors to visits as well. Although there is a large number of churches around and within the Tatlarin underground city which is near the Acýgöl district of the Nevþehir province a major part of them have collapsed due to natural causes.

    The Tatlarin underground city is entered through a passageway that is approximately 15 meters long, and the entrance passageway opens to a relatively large hall. There is a sliding stone which has the purpose of sealing off the entrance in the event of an enemy attack. This sliding stone which could only be opened from the inside was used as an instrument of defense against animals and enemies.

    Three skeletons were found in the section leading downwards from the right side of the hall. The kitchen found on the right side of the hall provokes the idea that this section was used as a burial ground in the Roman period and as a kitchen in the Byzantine period. That is so because the burial places in which the skeletons were found are identical with the burial places used in the Roman period. However, the interior part of the burial places were deeply carved out later so as to put food supplies in them. This large hall at the entrance is connected to a second large area with a zigzagging corridor. There is a trap and a sliding stone against intruders. There is a stable and five food supply storages carved into the floor in this second section which is supported by strong columns. And in the ceiling there is a ventilation well which provides access to the other parts of the city.

Valleys in Capadocia

    Ihlara Valley
    The volcanic eruption of Hasandagi led to tectonic movements that left the surface of the region covered with a layer of volcanic rock. The same volcanic activity led to pressure and heat being put upon the limestone causing it to crack and create naturally spouting springs of hot water, these can be seen at the Ziga Thermal Springs between Ihlara and Yaprakhisar. The structural characteristics of the region due to volcanic eruption produced tufa outcrops which were moulded by wind, erosion and other natural phenomena and created the strange and colorful Fairy Chimneys that are also encountered at Selime and Yaprakhisar. The tectonic movoments produced tufa rock that in some places is soft and in others is coloured grey, green and brown. Huge areas of crumbling rock completely covered the area in its debris. The Ihlara valley alogside the melendiz River is a result of this disintegration that created a canyon with a deep base. The fast flowing river is in places between 100 and 200 m deep and it divides the valley into two; it continues towards Aksaray with the name Ulunmak until reaches Tuz Golu (Salt Lake).
    Aksaray Province of Cappadocia region was an important religious centre in Christianity's very earliest days. Founders of orders like Basilof kayseri and Greegory of Nazianos lived here in the 4th century. A different set of monastic rules than the system used in Egypt ad Syria was determined here. Although the monks in Egypt and Syria cut themselves off from relationships with the wordly things the monks under Basil and Gregory did not. The birthplace for this concept was Belisirma.
    Gregory, offering a new explanation for the Holy Trinity, brought about a debate concering the divinity of Christ. His ideas prevailed at the Council of Iznik. Thus an innovator became a saint for the the rock region of Belisirma, Ihlara and Gelveri where Gregory lived. With the defensive castles of Mount Hasan providing defence against Arab invasions the churces were able to continue in peaceful worship.
    The Ihlara Valley has protected these rock-cut dwellings ad churhes with frescoes and they come down to us a unique historical treasury. These frescoed churches and dwellings easily carved into rock from the early years of Christianity are scattered all along the way from Ihlara to Selime through the Ihlara valley.
    Ihlara valley has been formed at an approximate depth of 150 due that the erosion made by Melendiz river coming from the mountains of Melendiz to the volcanic rocks. Due that the richness of the watering possibility and its hidden form and easily to hide structure it was the first settlement place of the first Christians escaping from the Roman soldiers In the Ihlara Valley there are hundreds of antic churches caved in the volcanic rocks. The most known Ihlara valley churches are Agacalti Church with cross plan, Sümbüllü Church, Pürenliseki Church, Kokar Church, Yilanli Church, Karagedik Church, Kirkdamatli Church, Direkli Church, Ala Church, Kemerli Church and Egritas Church.
    Ihlara Valley Churches
    The earliest period for these churches dates back to the 4th century. The painting technique of the Churhes of the Ihlara Valley can be divided into two. The ones around Ihlara show all the peculiarities of the type known as Cappadocia Style. On the other hand, the ones around Belisirma are decorated with paintings in the Byzantine Style. Therefore the region has no to be divided into two because the two parts have distinct influances. In the fist group are counted the churches of Egritas, Agacalti, Kokar, Purenliseki and Yilanli.

    Dating from the earliest Christian Period these churches have scenes from the Bible influenced by the teachings od basil and Gregory. There are long texts included. There are influances in the details from Egypt and Syria. The agacalti Church, being more influanced by late Roman and Sassanid Empire, has a more eastern flavour. The portrayal of the saints is very different from the Byzantine and Cappadocian styles. The layout is consistent with the ones built in the 5th or 6th century. The other three churches in this section are calssed differently. The representation of the saints are similar but they are much more Mediaeval. There are few texts from the Bible. And they have a definate Syrian inspiration. They are comparable to the churches in and around Goreme. It is noticeable that all the Biblical scenes are done in a symbolic style. In these scenes evil is represented as coming from the devil and woman. The style of clothes is Syrian and Persian, the clothes are of the style worn in the regions under the Islamic Caliphs of the 9th and 10th century. The trappings of the Last Supper, the animals ridden etc are far removed from the Byzantine and cappadocian styles and have more in common with Egyptian, Christian and Romanesque art.

    Only two of the churches have definite dates. The Direkli (Columned) Church dates from 976 - 1025 and St. Georges is a typical example of the art of the period. The representation of a Seljuk Sultan in typical dress demonstrates that this church was constructed with the protection and support of the Seljuk authorities.

    When the Byzantines got the control of the Taurus Mountains and Cilicia back in the middle of the 10th century, new churches were built in the Ihlara valley. The paintings in Bahattin Church, Sumbullu Church and Direkli (Columned) Church were done in that century. The art of Ala Church, Canli Church (in Akhisar) and Karagedik Church was done in the early 11th century and is typical Byzantine. Byzantine style paintings were later additions to the old churches. This practise ended with the arrival of the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century. But religious life in the region continued. Attendance at churches in the region ended with the exchange of populations in 1924.
    Devrent Valley Cappadocia Turkey
    Devrent Valley is known as Imaginary Valley and also as Pink Valley does not have cave churches like the other valleys of Cappadocia. There are no Roman castles or Roman tombs in Devrent Valley, either. Actually it was never inhabited. So what makes it so famous? The lunar landscape!

    Devrent reveals many different rock formations and is only a 10 minute drive from Goreme. The small fairy chimneys in the valley form a lunar landscape, or moonscape, by their strange look. The valley also has many animal shaped rocks. It looks like a sculpture zoo made by nature. Some of the most important, or the easiest seen animal shapes are camel, snake, seals, and dolphin. If you let your imagination run free you will find many others. It is like looking at clouds and seeing a dragon. There is even a rock pillar which looks like Virgin Mary, holding Jesus Christ.

Open Air Museums in Cappadocia

    Goreme Open Air Museum
    First structure is monastery of nuns at the Goreme open air museum. In fact, the monastery of nuns known as six or seven floors but can be visited only three floors yet. The connection between the floors of the monastery is provided with tunnel and tunnel entrance are closed with sliding stones like underground cities of Cappadocia. There is a dining hall in the first floor, second floor has a chapel which decorated with frescoes and third floor also has a church with geometric decoration. There is Monastery of Priests near the Monastery of the nuns. Only a few rooms on the ground floor can be visited for into the rock layers are destroyed. A little later there is Hagios Basileos church which is known a tomb chapel walls decorated with frescoes. Near this church there is Aynali monastery with places around a courtyard. Aynali monastery has a big room which suppositional meeting room, a church and tomb rooms. Elmali monastery, for many years been used as a loft, all entries have been closed and thus without destroying frescoes hardly reached today. Understanding that the church is decorated in two differnet periods by means of red paint figurative decorations bottom of the poured frescoes. There is Barbara Church behind the Elmali monastery, Barbara Church walls are decorated with geometric figures and animal pictures. Just ahead Church of Hagia Katherina' frescoes largely damaged. Yilanli church has a church, refectory, and other places. It has been named as Yilanli Church (Church with snake) for on one of the frescoes St. Georgios fight with a dragon on a horse

    Goreme Open Air Museum

    Goreme Open Air Museum is a member of Unesco World Heritage List since 1984. Open everyday between 8.00 a.m and 5.00 p.m. in winter months close earlier. Tel: 00 90 384 271 21 67 (From out of Turkey)

    How can you go: Goreme open air museum is near the Goreme town of Nevsehir province. Nevsehir is 670 km. far from Istanbul, 280 km. from Ankara, 750 km. from Izmir. Goreme is 15 km. from Nevsehir center, you can go by bus, minibus or taxi to Goreme from Nevsehir. You can go by walking to museum from Goreme in 20 minutes. If you have limited time and you want to visit all around cappadocia while you are there, you can join to our tour programes which are.
    Goreme Village
    Göreme which have the old names of Korama, Matiana and Maccan is 10 km far away from the center of Nevsehir province. The valley created from volcanic rocks is famous with the chimney rocks resulting from the erosion made by the natural factors to these rocks and with the historical richness. It has been an important religious place together with the intensive emigration of the first Christians escaping from the pressure of the Roman soldiers. The population escaped from the pressures has made many abbeys, churches and houses in the volcanic rocks from the valley where they were able to hidden easily. In our days in Goreme are found Elmali Church, Saint Barbara Church, Carikli Church, Tokali Church and Hidden Church and all of these are Goreme Open Air Museums. In the churches there are scenes from the life of Jesus, descriptions of the saints who written the Bible and pictures of Saint Barbara and Saint Georgius.

    How can you go: You can go to Goreme from Nevsehir province by roadway 13 km. Nevsehir is 670 km. far from Istanbul, 280 km. from Ankara, 750 km. from Izmir. I you want, you can use flights from some destation also buses are available. some destination to Cappadocia only bus connection.
    You can also join to the tours that we organize in cappadocia or to cappadocia from different destinations.
    If you have limited time and you want to visit all around cappadocia while you are there, you can join to our tour programes which are

In the past Cappadocia

Prehistoric Period

Traces of Prehistoric cultures in Cappadocia can most easily be found around KöskHoyuk / Nigde, Asiklihoyuk / Aksaray and in the Civelek cave near Nevsehir. Excavations in these three areas are still taking place.

Asikli Hoyuk (mound)
Archaeological excavations discovered the first brick living quarters in Cappadocia in Asikli Hoyuk (mound), an extension of Aksaray's Ihlara Canyon settlements. Yellow and pink clay plaster was used in making the walls and floors of the houses, some of the most beautiful and complicated architectural examples of first towns.
They buried the dead in the Hocker position, like a foetus in the womb, on the floor Tarih Öncesi Devirde Kapadokyaof their houses. According to Prof. U. Esin, who researched at Asikli Hoyuk, a population greater that had been previously theorised is revealed by the abundance and density of the settlements in these areas in the Aceramic Neolithic Period.
No where else in Anatolia can the unique obsidian tools be found like those from Cappadocian Tumulus. Figurines, made from lightly baked clay, were unearthed together with flat stone axes wrought in many fine shapes, chisels and coulters made from bones and ornaments made from copper, agate and other different kinds of stones. Evidence provided by a skeleton found here indicates that the earliest brain surgery (trepanation) known in the world was performed on a woman 20-25 years of age at Asikli Hoyuk.

Assyrian Trade Colonies Periods

Assyrian Trade Colonies PeriodsMining and metallurgy reached its peak in Anatolia during the Early Bronze Age. Major developments were observed in Northern Anatolia towards the end of this period.
Between 2000BC and 1750BC Assyrian merchants from northern Mesopotamia formed the first commercial organisations by establishing trade colonies in Anatolia. The centre of these colonies was at Kanesh Kharum near Kültepe in Kayseri province (Kharum: A commercial market place). Another important commercial market place referred in documents is the Kharum Hattush at Bogazköy.
Assyrian Trade Colonies PeriodsAnatolia was rich in gold, silver and copper, but lacked tin, essential for obtaining bronze as an alloy. For this reason tin was one of the major trading materials, as well as textile goods and perfumes. The merchants had no political dominance, but were protected by the regional Beys.
Fortunately for the Assyrian merchants, writing was seen for the first time in Anatolia. From the "Cappadocia tablets", cuneiform clay tablets on which ancient Assyrian was written, it has been learnt that merchants paid a 10% road tax to the Bey, received 30% interest from locals for, and paid a 5% tax to the Anatolian kings for goods they sold. The same tablets tell us that Assyrian merchants sometimes married Anatolian women, and the marriage agreements contained clauses to protect the women’s rights from their husbands.
Assyrian merchants also introduced cylinder seals, metallurgy, their religious beliefs, Assyrian Trade Colonies PeriodsGods and temples to Anatolia. Native Anatolian art flourished under the influence of Assyrian Mesopotamic art, eventually developing an identity of its own. During the following ages this developed into the fundamentals o

Hittite Period

Hittite PeriodPeople coming from Europe via the Caucasus, and settling in Cappadocia around 2000 BC, formed an Empire in the region merging with the native people of the area. Their language was of Indo-European origin.The capital of the Hittite kingdom was at Hattushash (Bogazköy), and the other important cities were Alacahöyük and Alisar. Hittite remains can be found in all the tumuli in Cappadocia.The Hittite Empire, which lasted for six centuries in the region, collapsed around 1200 BC when the confederacy of Hittite states was invaded by the Phrygian people from the Balkans

Late Hittite Kingdom

After the Phrygians destroyed all the important towns in Central Anatolia eliminating the Hittite Empire, fragments of the Late Hittite Kingdoms sprang up around central and southeast Anatolia.
The Late Hittite Kingdom in Cappadocia was the Tabal kingdom, which extended over Kayseri, Nevsehir and Nigde. Rock monuments from this age, with Hittite hieroglyphics can be found at Gulsehir-Sivasa (Gokcetoprak), Acigol-Topada, and Hacibektas-Karaburna.

Persian Empire and Cappadocia

CappadociaThe Cimmerians ended the Phrygian reign, and were then followed by the Medes (585BC) and the Persians (547 BC). The Persians divided the empire into semi autonomous provinces and ruled the area using governors who were known as ‘satraps’. In the ancient Persian language, Katpatuka, the word for Cappadocia, meant "Land of the well bred horses".

Persian Empire

The Persians gave their people the freedom to choose their own religion and to speak their native languages. Since the religion they were devoted to was the Zoroastrian religion, fire was considered to be divine, and so, the volcanoes of Erciyes and Hasandagi were sacred for them.
The Persians constructed a "Royal Road" connecting their capital city in Cappadocia to the Aegean region. The Macedonian King Alexander defeated Persian armies twice, in 334 and 332 BC, and conquered this great empire. After bringing the Persian Empire to an end, King Alexander met with great resistance in Cappadocia. He tried to rule the area through one of his commanders named Sabictus, but the ruling classes and people resisted and declared Ariarthes, a Persian aristocrat, as king. Ariarthes I (332 - 322 BC) was a successful ruler, and extended the borders of the Cappadocian Kingdom as far as the Black Sea.


The kingdom of Cappadocia lived in peace until the death of Alexander. From then until 17AD, when it became a Roman province, it fought wars with the Macedonians, the Galatians and the Pontus nation.

Roman Period

TRoman Periodhe wars came to an end in 17AD when Tiberius conquered Cappadocia and placed it under Roman rule. After the conquest, the Romans reconstructed the road to the west that was of both commercial and military significance. During the Roman era the area saw many migrations and attacks from the east. The area was defended by Roman military units known as "Legions". During the reign of Emperor Septimus Severus, Roman PeriodCappadocia's economy flourished, but the capital, Kayseri (Caesera) was attacked by Sassanid armies from Iran. Emperor Gordianus III ordered the construction of defensive city walls. During this time some of the first Christians were moving from the big cities to villages. In the 4th century, when Kayseri was a flourishing religious centre, the rocky landscape of Göreme was discovered. Adopting the teachings of St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (Kayseri), the Christians began to lead a monastic life in the carved out rocks of Cappadocia.

Byzantine Period

When the Roman Empire divided into two, Cappadocia fell under theByzantine Period eastern region. In the early 7th century there were severe wars between the Sassanid and Byzantine armies, and for 6 or 7 years the Sassanids held the area. In 638 Caliph Ömer ended the domination of the Sassanids, and the Arab Ommiades began to attack. The long lasting religious debates among sects reached a peak with the adoption of the Iconoclastic view by Leon III, who was influenced by Islamic traditions. Christian priests and monks who were in favour of icons began to take refuge in Cappadocia. The Iconoclastic period lasted over a centuryByzantine Period (726-843). During this time, although several Cappadocian churches were under the influence of Iconoclasm, the people who were in favour of icons were able to continue to worship comfortably.

Seljuk Period

The arrival of the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia marked the beginning of a new era in history. After their victories in Iran and Mesopotamia, Turks rapidly spread throughout Anatolia, settling there in the second half of the 11th century. In 1071 the Byzantine emperor Romanos Diogenes, who was of Cappadocian origin, was defeated and captured by the Seljuk ruler Alparslan at Malazgirt. In 1080 Suleiman Shah founded the Anatolian Seljuk State, the capital of which was Konya. In 1082 Kayseri was conquered by Turks. Cities such as Nigde and Aksaray were reconstructed, and caravanserais, mosques, Madrasah, and tombs were built. The Seljuk Turks' conquest of Anatolia did not affect the administrative authority of the Patriarchy. It was only after the 14th century that its size and status were diminished.

Ottoman Period

The Region of Cappadocia was very peaceful also during the Ottoman Ottoman PeriodPeriod. Nevsehir was a small village in the province of Nigde until the time of Damat Ibrahim Pasha. At the beginning of the 18th century, especially during the time of Damat Ibrahim Pasha, places like Nevsehir, Gulsehir, Ozkonak, Avanos and Urgup prospered and mosques, kulliyes (a collection of buildings of an institution, usually composed of schools, a mosque, lunatic asylum, hospital, kitchen, etc.) and fountains were built. The bridge in the centre of the town of Ozkonak, which was built during Yavuz Sultan Selim’s campaign to the east (1514), is important in terms of being an early Ottoman Period building. The Christian people living in the area were treated with tolerance in the Ottoman Period as in the Seljuk Period. The 18th century church of Constantine-Helena in Sinasos-Urgup, the 19th century church built in honor of Dimitrius in Gulsehir and the Orthodox Church in Derinkuyu are some of the best examples of this tolerance.

First Travelers at Cappadocia

First Travelers at CappadociaEuropeans discovered the Region of Cappadocia, which has been occupied by many civilisations at the beginning of the 18th century. Paul Lucas, who was sent by the French King Louis XIV in 1704, stated that he saw many strange pyramid like houses near the Red River (the ancient Halys) and that these houses had conspicuous entrances and stairs and big windows to light all the rooms. With his imagination, he likened the fairy chimneys to "monks with hoods" and the rocks on the fairy chimneys to busts of "Mother Mary holding Baby Jesus". He thought that these interesting rock-cut houses were the ones of the Christian monks. In his engraving, the tops of the serial conical shaped fairy chimneys were depicted, in an exaggerated way, as the busts of people and animals.

When Lukas examined Cappadocia again in 1719, he described these fairy chimneys as a graveyard near Caesarea (modern Kayseri). Paul Lucas's fantastic description of the place was met with both great interest and suspicion in Europe. C. Texier, who visited Cappadocia between 1833 - 1837 after Paul Lukas, stated that nature had never displayed itself in such a way before the eyes of a stranger. English traveler Ainsworth, who visited Cappadocia in the 19th century, expressed his astonishment as:"Turning up a glen which led from the river inland, we found ourselves suddenly lost in a forest of cones and pillars of rock, that rose around us in interminable confusion, like the ruins of some great and ancient city. At times these rude pinnacles of rock balanced huge unformed masses upon their pointed summits, but still more frequently the same strangely supported masses assumed fantastic shapes and forms at one moment suggesting the idea of a lion, at another of a bird, and then again of a crocodile or a fish." W. J. Hamilton, English geologist, expressed his amazement saying, "The words are never enough to describe the scenery of this extraordinary place." Scientific researches and publications started at the end of the 19th century. G. De Jerphanion, the French explorer/priest, who did some researches in Cappadocia between 1907 - 1912, systematically examined the monumental rock-cut churches, rock-cut monasteries and the wall frescoes in these.

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