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Göreme National Park & Rock Sites of Cappadocia

Brief Description

In a spectacular landscape, entirely sculpted by erosion, the Göreme valley and its surroundings contain rock-hewn sanctuaries that provide unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post-Iconoclastic period. Dwellings, troglodyte villages and underground towns – the remains of a traditional human habitat dating back to the 4th century – can also be seen there.

Land of Beautiful Horses

Although horses will not capture your attention any more but Cappadocia means the land of beautiful horses and has a unique historical and cultural background.  The Cappadocia region is generally regarded as the plains and mountain regions of eastern central Anatolia, around the reaches of the River Kizlirmak (Red River), to the Black Sea.  Several ancient roads ran through this area, allowing for cross cultural contact.  It is this contact that caused the creation of many underground cities to help people forced into religious exile.

The underground cities of Cappadocia have several things in common, including; rooms for food storage, kitchens, stables, wine or oil presses and shafts for ventilation.

Cappadocia’s history dates back to the Bronze age and was the Hittite power centre of Hattusa.  There were several exchanges of power, from the Mushki, Assyrians, Phrygians, Lydians and finally the Roman Empire took control of the area.  During the Roman and Byzantine rule, Cappadocia became a refuge place for Christians.  It is for this reason that Cappadocia contains several underground cities.  These cities flourished throughout the 4th and 11th century, when Cappadocia came under attack from Turkmenistan, Arabs, Mongolia, Seljuks and the Ottomans. 
Cappadocia slowly lost its importance in Anatolia, until a French Priest rediscovered the churches in 1907. In 1985 this spectacular landscape, entirely sculpted by erosion, the Göreme valley and its surroundings contain rock-hewn sanctuaries that provide unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post-Iconoclastic period come to the attention of Unesco and the entire area has entered Unesco World Heritage list on cultural and natural criterias which there are only a few locations in the world. 

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