A Brief Introduction to Cappadocia
Cappadocia, or “the land of the beautiful horses” of the Hittites is defined by Strabon in the ancient times. According to Strabon, the region used to be limited by the Eufrates River on the east, Galatia (Ankara) and the Salt lake on the west, North Anatolian mountains and the Taurus chain on the North and South. However, the historical content of the Cappadocia was subjected to chang throughout the history. Actually, The great Cappadocia is considered to be the region between the Central Anatolian cities of Kayseri, Nigde and Kırsehir and The Small Cappadocia is the area between Nevşehir, Avanos and Urgup which is marked with the presence of the fairy chimneys.
The ethimology of the word “Cappadocia” is still to be discussed among historians. Altough the majority of them considers that the word is derived from Persian “Katpaduka” which meant “the land of beautiful horses”; the presence of a small river called “Cappadocs” that flows into Kizilirmak in this region and the son of a mighty Asyrrian King who was called as “Cappadocs” are considered to be the two confusing factors about defining origin of the name.
The unique region of Cappadocia which is found more or less one thousand meter from the sea level was formed by the eruptions of the volcanoes like Erciyes, Melendiz, Hasan and Golludag more or less 25 million yeras ago. However, the secondary volcanoes and craters played a significant role in the formation of the superficie as well.
During the millions of years of activity, volcanoes and craters erupted, lava flowed over the soil, the lava layers covered with ashes, ashes turned into “tuff” by rains and the winds, lava formed another layer and the basaltic rocks called volcanic bombs remained on top of all those layers. Then again the wind blowed, the rain and the snow fell down, the water and the erosion with the cracks caused by temperature changes, all together formed a natural artist that sculpted a fairy tale out of volcanic rock. Then the human hand touched the same rock...
Cappadocia throughout the history
Cappadocia after being known as Hatti in the bronze age, became one of the most important Hittitian provinces. Much after the fall of the Hittitans it was conquered by the Lydian King Croissos, later ruled by local feudal aristocracies during the Persian period.
After the defeat of the Persians by Alexander the Great. In 332 BC, Ariarathes who was from Persian origin founded the Kingdom of Cappadocia and extended the borders of his country. The Pergamum king Eumenes started to rule the divided country after the death of Alexander the Great. Later the son of Arairathes seized the power. However, in this period Cappadocia became the battleground of the wars between the Roman, Armenian and Pontus empires but had always a definite authonomy.
Finally, in the period of Tiberius Cappadocia has converted to a Roman province. After a long Roman rule in which the Christianity was spreading all over the region, the empire was divided and Cappadocia remained under the hegemony of the Bizantynes. During this long period before coming to an end with the Manzikert War in 1071, Cappadocia had become an outstanding zone in the Christian belief although those believers had to take refuge in the underground cities during the Sasanid incursions throughout centuries.
The region mostly inhabited by the Armenians and Greeks, after the Manzikert war started to be a hometown for the Turks as well. Starting from the Seljuks, the Karaman principality and after the Ottomans had become the rulers of ancient Cappadocia which is now one of the most important historical and natural beauties of the Turkish Republic.
Cappadocia, is one of the world's unique territories that combines a long history starting from neolitic period; fascinating natural beauties spreaded all over the region including fairy chimneys, volcanoes and valleys; cultural heritages especially from Ottoman, Greek and Seljukian periods and an animated daily life of the cappadocians producing a variety of products from grapes and apricots to world famous carpets and ceramics...
Starting the day early experiencing a wonderful hot air baloon flight, going to the depths of of the volcanic tuff discovering where the early christians took refuge from Roman persecutions in an underground city, stare at the relaxing scenery of the the Erciyes volcano behind the fairy chimneys in Goreme valley, visiting the rock cut churches from the Greek period ornamented by the wonderful frescoes and dining with a glass of local wine are the daily routines of a unique experience in Cappadocia and the night hours is the time for folcloric dances and a whirling derviches ceramony.
“The country of beautiful horses” of the Hittites is a call for peace, relax, amazement and totally well being.
You will feel good in Cappadocia.