Five Cities, One Cappadocia
Cappadocia is situated in the middle of Turkey, in central Antolia. The region is mostly known by the three popular towns of Goreme, Urgup and Uchisar but actually it is the name of the very big region spread through the cities of Nevsehir, Kirsehir, Nigde, Aksaray and Kayseri. So we can say that Cappadocia can be considered as Five Cities, One Cappadocia… The narrowed rocky region of Cappadocia include; Uchisar, Urgup, Avanos, Goreme, Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, Ihlara and surrounding areas…

Cappadocia is situated about 3 hours drive from capital Ankara. There is an airport in Gulsehir town, the Cappadocia Airport, and there are flights to Cappadocia Airport from Istanbul and Antalya.

The Persian name “Kappa Tuchia” which means “The land of beautiful Horses”… Cappadocia offers outstanding landscape, natural beauties, fairy chimneys and rock-cut houses, the picturesque valleys, scenic lunar hills, incredible monuments from the Goreme Open Air Museum to Kaymakli Underground City, Uchisar Castle, Devrent Imagination Valley and Pasabag Monks Valley and more…
Cappadocia is situated in the middle of Turkey, in central Antolia. The region is mostly known by the three popular towns of Goreme, Urgup and Uchisar but actually it is the name of the very big region spread through the cities of Nevsehir, Kirsehir, Nigde, Aksaray and Kayseri. So we can say that Cappadocia can be considered as “Five Cities, One Cappadocia”… The narrowed rocky region of Cappadocia include; Uchisar, Urgup, Avanos, Goreme, Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, Ihlara and surrounding areas…
Cappadocia is situated about 3 hours drive from capital Ankara. There is an airport in Gulsehir town, the Cappadocia Airport, and there are flights to Cappadocia Airport from Istanbul and Antalya. The narrowed rocky region of Cappadocia include; Uchisar, Urgup, Avanos, Goreme, Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, Ihlara and surrounding areas…
The secret of Cappadocia is hidden with the geographical formations dating back to 60 million years. The smooth layers formed by the lava and ashes spewed out from the Mount Erciyes, Mount Hasan and Mount Gulludag has become rocky formations first and than corroded with the rain and wind for million years and finally showed up today’s geographic formations. Cappadocia has also been home to many civilizations since the stone age throughout history. Using the advantage of this structure of the region, many rock-cut settlements, houses, monasteries, churches, chapels and underground cities were built. This is how most of the fairy chimneys are located inside. Today’s formations in the region that can easily be carved, so called fairy chimneys by locals, allow the inhabitants make rock-cut cave houses and underground cities and has become a real shelter during the repressive eras. All these were built in an invisible way to hide the people living here during the period, especially from the pressure, persecution and invasion of the Roman Empire and became the living space of hundred thousands of people.
If we have a quick look at the history of Cappadocia, we see that the region was active during the Hittites period. Since it was located on the historical Silk Road route, the region was a kind of commercial center at that time. It continues until the fall of the Hittites in the 12th century BC. Afterwards, the Persians in the 6th century BC, the Kingdom of Cappadocia during the time of Alexander the Great in 332 BC, and the Roman Empire reigned in the region until 17 AD. When the last King of Cappadocia died in 17 AD, the region becomes a Roman province. After the settlement of the Christians here in the 3rd century AD, the region became a center of education, religion and thought. However, between the years of 303-308, the pressure of the Roman Empire increases and the people make shelters and settlements carved to the rocks in the deep valleys, that are invisible from the outside. Again during the 11th and 12th centuries, Arab raids dominated the region, and then the Seljuks. Peace was dominant in the region during the Ottoman Empire, and after the Treaty of Lausanne, the Christians migrated and left Cappadocia between the years 1924-1926.
 Avanos is a town and district of Nevşehir Province in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey, located 18 km (11 mi) north of Nevşehir, the capital city of the province. It is situated within the historic and tourist region of Cappadocia. According to 2000 census, population of the district is 35,145 of which 12,288 live in the town of Avanos.The district covers an area of 994 km2 (384 sq mi),and the average elevation is 920 m (3,018 ft), with the highest point being Mt. İsmail Sivrisi at 1,756 m (5,761 ft). The old city of Avanos, whose name in ancient times was Venessa, overlooks the longest river of Turkey, the Kızılırmak (Red River), which also separates Avanos from the rest of Cappadocia. The most famous historical feature of Avanos, which is still relevant and very visible today, is its production of earthenware pottery; it is also the most economic activity in the town. The ceramic trade in this district and its countless pottery factories date right back to the Hittites, and the ceramic clay from the red silt of the Kızılırmak has always been used. It is a popular destination because of its attractive old town with cobbled streets, and views over the river. Archaeology An approximately 5,000-year-old three-story underground town which referred as “Gir-Gör” (Enter and See) by locals was revealed in 2019. The five-kilometer-long city consisted of three floors, homes, tunnels, places of worship and a small human figurine. According to the locals, site was considered a source of "healing water” and “Ceasar’s bath.”

About 5 km (3 mi) from Avanos and 1 km (1 mi) from Paşabağları, the site of Zelve was founded on the steep northern slopes of Aktepe. Consisting of three separate valleys, the ruins of Zelve is the area in Cappadocia with the highest concentration of fairy chimneys. Here, they have particularly sharp points and thick trunks. It is not known exactly when people began living in the dwellings carved into the rock, a lifestyle also common to other places in the region such as Uçhisar, Göreme, Cavuşin other than Zelve. What is known is that an important Christian community lived in Zelve and it was the religious center of the area from the 9th to the 13th centuries, and the first religious seminars for priests were held in the vicinity.
Çavuşin (Nicephorus Phocas) Church
This church is located alongside Göreme-Avanos road at a distance of 2.5 km (1.6 mi) leaving from Göreme. The church's narthex is missing. It has tunnel vaults, a high nave and 3 apses. It dates back to 964-965 AD.

Güllüdere (St. Agathangelus) Church
It is located in the far left draw of the Güllüdere valley about 2 km (1 mi) from the village of Çavuşin. It was founded at the mouth of the draw on top of a steep slope. The design of the nave is square with a flat ceiling and it has a single broad apse. The apse was added in the 9th or 10th century to the main structure dating back to the 6th - 7th century. There are two or three layers of frescoes in the apse which indicates that it was painted regularly. Symbols of Gospel authors are drawn symmetrically and are sitting on the right and left of an enthroned Jesus. In the middle of the flat ceiling is the relief of a cross in the middle of a circle surrounded with palm leaves and garlands. This sort of relief most likely belongs to the Iconoclastic period. The people of the area had a great love for the cross and it continued to be used as a motif after the Iconoclastic era because it symbolized the "Holy Cross" in Jerusalem.

Özkonak Underground City View of Özkonak 
   Located 14 km (9 mi) northeast of Avanos, this underground city was built on the northern slopes of Mt. Idis in an area with many volcanic granite strata. The extensive galleries of the city are spread out over a large area and connected to each another by tunnels. Unlike the underground cities in Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu, there are very narrow (5 cm) and long holes between the different levels of the city that used to provide communication between the different levels of the city. The ventilation of these neatly carved out rooms was provided by these holes when the city was sealed up against enemies. The city was discovered in 1972 by the local muezzin and farmer Latif Acar, when trying to find out where the water disappeared to when tending to his crops. He first found an underground room which, when later excavated, revealed a whole city which housed an incredible 60,000 people for up to three months. A total of 10 floors were discovered, to a depth 40m, although now only four are open. Unlike the other underground cities in this area, besides the rolling stone doors, there were holes above the tunnels used for dumping hot oil on the enemy. Similar to Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu, Özkonak has a ventilation system, a water well, a winery and rolling stone doors.
Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia 
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.Located on the central Anatolia plateau within a volcanic landscape sculpted by erosion to form a succession of mountain ridges, valleys and pinnacles known as “fairy chimneys” or hoodoos, Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia cover the region between the cities of Nevşehir, Ürgüp and Avanos, the sites of Karain, Karlık, Yeşilöz, Soğanlı and the subterranean cities of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu. The area is bounded on the south and east by ranges of extinct volcanoes with Erciyes Dağ (3916 m) at one end and Hasan Dağ (3253 m) at the other. The density of its rock-hewn cells, churches, troglodyte villages and subterranean cities within the rock formations make it one of the world's most striking and largest cave-dwelling complexes. Though interesting from a geological and ethnological point of view, the incomparable beauty of the decor of the Christian sanctuaries makes Cappadocia one of the leading examples of the post-iconoclastic Byzantine art period. It is believed that the first signs of monastic activity in Cappadocia date back to the 4th century at which time small anchorite communities, acting on the teachings of Basileios the Great, Bishop of Kayseri, began inhabiting cells hewn in the rock. In later periods, in order to resist Arab invasions, they began banding together into troglodyte villages or subterranean towns such as Kaymakli or Derinkuyu which served as places of refuge. Cappadocian monasticism was already well established in the iconoclastic period (725-842) as illustrated by the decoration of many sanctuaries which kept a strict minimum of symbols (most often sculpted or tempera painted crosses). However, after 842 many rupestral churches were dug in Cappadocia and richly decorated with brightly coloured figurative painting. Those in the Göreme Valley include Tokalı Kilise and El Nazar Kilise (10th century), St. Barbara Kilise and Saklı Kilise (11th century) and Elmalı Kilise and Karanlık Kilise (end of the 12th – beginning of the 13th century).

 Owing to their quality and density, the rupestral sanctuaries of Cappadocia constitute a unique artistic achievement offering irreplaceable testimony to the post-iconoclastic Byzantine art period.
The rupestral dwellings, villages, convents and churches retain the fossilized image of a province of the Byzantine Empire between the 4th century and the arrival of the Seljuk Turks (1071). Thus, they are the essential vestiges of a civilization which has disappeared.
 Cappadocia is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement which has become vulnerable under the combined effects of natural erosion and, more recently, tourism.
 In a spectacular landscape dramatically demonstrating erosional forces, the Göreme Valley and its surroundings provide a globally renowned and accessible display of hoodoo landforms and other erosional features, which are of great beauty, and which interact with the cultural elements of the landscape. Integrity Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, having been extensively used and modified by man for centuries, is a landscape of harmony combining human interaction and settlement with dramatic natural landforms. There has been some earthquake damage to some of the cones and the pillars, but this is seen as a naturally occurring phenomenon. Overuse by tourists and some vandalism have been reported and some incompatible structures have been introduced. The erosional processes that formed the distinctive conical rock structures will continue to create new fairy chimneys and rock pillars, however due to the rate of this process, the natural values of the property may still be threatened by unsustainable use. The cultural features, including rock-hewn churches and related cultural structures, mainly at risk of being undermined by erosion and other negative natural processes coupled with mass tourism and development pressures, can never be replaced. threats Some of the churches mentioned by early scholars such as C. Texier, H.G. Rott and Guillaume de Jerphanion are no longer extant. Authenticity The property meets the conditions of authenticity as its values and their attributes, including its historical setting, form, design, material and workmanship adequately reflect the cultural and natural values recognized in the inscription criteria. Given the technical difficulties of building in this region, where it is a matter of hewing out structures within the natural rock, creating architecture by the removal of material rather than by putting it together to form the elements of a building, the underlying morphological structure and the difficulties inherent in the handling of the material inhibited the creative impulses of the builders. This conditioning of human effort by natural conditions persisted almost unchanged through successive periods and civilizations, influencing the cultural attitudes and technical skills of each succeeding generation. Protection and management requirements The World Heritage property Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia is subject to legal protection in accordance with both the Protection of Cultural and Natural Resources Act No. 2863 and the National Parks Act No. 2873. The entire territory between the cities of Nevşehir, Ürgüp and Avanos is designated as a National Park under the Act No. 2873. In addition, natural, archaeological, urban, and mixed archaeological and natural conservation areas, two underground towns, five troglodyte villages, and more than 200 individual rock-hewn churches, some of which contain numerous frescoes, have been entered into the register of immovable monuments and sites according to the Act No. 2863. Legal protection, management and monitoring of the Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia fall within the scope of national and regional governmental administrations. The Nevşehir and Kayseri Regional Conservation Councils are responsible for keeping the register of monuments and sites, including carrying out all tasks related to the legal protection of monuments and listed buildings and the approval to carry out any restoration-related works. They also evaluate regional and conservation area plans prepared by the responsible national and/or local (i.e. municipal) authorities. Studies for revision and updating of the existing land use and conservation plan (Göreme National Park Long-term Development Plan) of 1981 were completed in 2003. The major planning decisions proposed were that natural conservation areas are to be protected as they were declared in 1976. Minor adjustments in the peripheral areas of settlements and spatial developments of towns located in the natural conservation sites including Göreme, Ortahisar, Çavuşin, Ürgüp and Mustafapaşa will be strictly controlled. In other words, the Plan proposes to confine the physical growth of these towns to recently established zones. Hotel developments will take into account the set limits for room capacities. Furthermore, the plan also suggested that local authorities should be advised to review land use decisions for areas that have been reserved for tourism developments in the town plans. Preparation of conservation area plans for the urban and/or mixed urban-archaeological conservation sites within the historic sections of Göreme are in place and provide zoning criteria and the rules and guidelines to be used in the maintenance and restoration of listed buildings and other buildings which are not registered, but which are located within the historic zones. Similar planning studies for the towns of Ortahisar and Uçhisar are in place. Once finalised, a conservation area plan for the urban conservation area in Ürgüp will be in place. All relevant plans are kept up to date on a continuing basis. Appropriate facilities aimed at improving the understanding of the World Heritage property have been completed for the subterranean towns of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu, and are required for Göreme and Paşabağı. Monuments in danger due to erosion, including the El Nazar, Elmalı, and Meryemana (Virgin Mary) churches, have been listed as monuments requiring priority action. Specific measures for their protection, restoration and maintenance are required at the site level. While conservation plans and protection measures are in place for individual sites, it is recognised by the principal parties responsible for site management that an integrated Regional Plan for the Cappadocia Cultural and Tourism Conservation and Development Area is required to protect the World Heritage values of the property. Adequate financial, political and technical support is also required to secure the management of the property.
Uçhisar is first mentioned in a 14th-century chronicle by Aziz ibn Ardasir. The general area had been occupied much earlier, however. The Hittites may have used the natural structures of the cliffs as refuges and strongholds against possible attacks. In the seventh century AD, the Byzantines created a 'buffer zone' in the area against Islamic expansion. The nature of the terrain was conducive to defence, while the camouflage of the buildings provided an improved defence against attackers. After their conquest of the region, the Muslims also made use of the defensive possibilities of the area, creating small centres with caravanserais in the region
Uçhisar, which is situated on the edge of Göreme National Park, is dominated by a 60-metre-high castle-mountain, which is visible over a wide distance and has the form of a large cylindrical tower. This massif is crisscrossed by numerous underground passageways and rooms, which are now mostly blocked or impassable. They served as residential areas, as well as cloisters in Byzantine times. Originally, around 1,000 people lived in the castle, but it is no longer inhabited today. The landscape is also marked by the fairy chimneys scattered through it. In the centre of the town there is an underground gallery, which extends for about 100 metres underneath some houses. It was cut in tuff (a type of rock) in earlier times and probably served as a link from the fortress to the outside world and to protect their water supply. Near the town is the so-called 'Valley of the Dovecotes', or Pigeon Valley (Güverçinlik Vadisi). Over the course of the years, many dovecotes were carved in the cliff-faces of the valley. These are structures with large frontal surfaces. Inside, there are many niches for local birds to roost in. The excrement from the nests in these dovecotes was mainly used as manure. Travelling through this valley from Uçhisar, it takes two hours to reach Göreme to the northeast. A majority of the population of Uçhisar today live off agriculture, but tourism plays an ever larger role. In particular, the French and Turks returning from France have begun to transform the painted cliff houses into tourist lodgings.
Urgup is region of Nevsehir. With a history going back to Hittites, it has been an important settlement area in every period. Its ancient name was Assiana. At the same time, it was one of the setttlements of the Christians; the sructures left from this period are very much ruined. Its single or grouped churches and monasteries are the oldest buildings (7th) century of Cappadocia region. The Saint Basil and Tavsanli Chruches in Mustafa Pasha (Sinassos), near this region, are buildings that are presently open to visitors. 18 km southwest of the region, in the Damse village, is the Taskinpasa Kulliyesi, which is the most interesting Islamic complez in the area. It has mained from the 14th century, the period in which the Karamanogullari reigned over this region. On the road from Urgup to Nevsehir, typical examples of tufa pyramid formations can be seen, which are the landmark of Cappadocia. Urgup is also famous for its wine and its rock houses.
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