Cappadocia underground cities locate in an outstanding plain formed by erosion of volcanic rocks. Ancient volcanic eruptions covered this area with thick ash, which then solidified into a soft rock called tuff. After a while, these tuff rocks eroded by wind and water and turned them into mushroom-shaped pillars called fairy chimneys.
The surface of Cappadocia consists of a plateau above 1000 meters in height surrounded by a volcanic peak, with Mount Erciyes (ancient Argaeus) near Kayseri (ancient Caesarea) being the highest point at an altitude of 3916 meters. In the south, the Taurus Mountains form a boundary with Cilicia and Cappadocia separated from the Mediterranean Sea. In the west, Cappadocia borders the historical area of Lycaonia to the southwest, and Galatia to the northwest.
The Black Sea coast separates Cappadocia from Pontus and the Black Sea, while East Cappadocia borders the Euphrates above. Before the river that turns southeast flows into Mesopotamia, and the Armenian plateau. Because of its place in the inland and highlands, Cappadocia has a striking climate with dry and arid summers and snowy winters. Rainfall is rare and most areas are semi-arid.
The underground cities in Cappadocia.
The gentle nature of tuff rocks in Cappadocia allows the first inhabitants to live here to sculpt caves as dwellings, churches, and hideouts, both above and below the ground, giving this place becomes the largest stone carving cities complex in the world. Some of the Cappadocia underground cities which are open to the public are Derinkuyu, Kaymaklı, Özkonak, Özlüce, and Gaziemir. Throughout the Province of Nevşehir, Turkey, it estimated around 30 underground cities in Cappadocia.
The Cappadocia underground cities have a depth reaching 60 meters below the surface of the earth, and able to be a shelter for thousands of families. It has around 150 underground cities. The cities can accommodate nearly 20 thousand people to live in underground cities. The inhabitants spent their lives in caves. Each cave is complete with home functions such as kitchen, gathering place, wells, rooms, and even a winemaking place.
Uniquely, until now there are still many local inhabitants who live in these stone caves. Some inhabitants open a restaurant or cafe in a stone cave. Almost all guest houses in this area occupy caves that were left over 3 million years ago.
The Cappadocia underground cities were once discovered and formed by the Hittites from the kingdom of Hittites more than 3,000 years ago. The kingdom of Hittites was one of the most advanced empires in the ancient world that ruled from 1700 BC to 1190 BC. Cappadocia in the local language is also called Kapadokya (Land of Beautiful Horses) or which means country with beautiful horses.
During the reign of Herodotus, the Cappadocia region stretched between Taurus Mountain and the Black Sea. At present, most tourist visitors recognize it as the Nevsehir province, which is part of the Turkey region. Cappadocia itself became known since Paul Lucas, a Frenchman who came to Turkey in 1712 and published a book about his trip to this place. In the book, Lucas tells of the uniqueness of this fairy chimney’s land until now.
The earliest records of the name Cappadocia were found at the end of the 6th century BC when they appeared in the three-language inscriptions of the two Achaemenid kings, Darius I and Xerxes, as one of the countries (Ancient Persia) of the Persian Empire. In this list of countries, the Ancient Persian name is Katpatuka, which is clearly not an authentic Persian name. The Elamite and the Akkadian version of the inscription contain the same name from the Akkadian side namely Katpa (katef) and the name of the leader or ancestor, Tuka.
Cappadocia is 12 hours away from Istanbul by bus. The closer one is from Ankara around 5-6 hours. Indeed, it does need an extra effort to reach this place, but once you get to the place, the feel of astonishment at the natural attraction of Cappadocia underground cities makes all of your fatigue will be paid off.
Also, read Hierapolis-Pamukkale Thermal Pools.
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