CAPPADOCIA (Land of early Christian churches)


Here the Romans tortured the first Christians. Religious cave paintings display evidence of early Christianity. These caves were also used as hiding places. This is the most unique natural environment in Turkey with its magical, fairy like landscape.

Mount Erciyes, previously known as Argaeus, is only 50 Kms away to the south of Cappadocia is a former volcanoe. The previously violent eruptions of the volcanoe caused sedimentation of large quantities of ash layers in whole area. The ash layers were solidified during the following centuries, at the same time rivers and brooks gouged grooves and wind and rains eroded the top level in different shapes and depth. The result was the cone structures here and there and sometimes a large group of them concentrated in one area. Some of them hide below a harder stone hat, under which they can better resist erosion.

At the bottom of these stone formations and cones, churches, cathedrals, homes and storage facilities were hewn out. During the early ages of Christianity, this place was a refuge for first Christians of Asia Minor. More recently, the area was a safe-haven for the Christians, under the threat of Muslim Arabs, between 7th and 13th centuries. There are hundreds of churches carved on rock formations in the area. Urgup, Goreme, Zelve, Avanos, Soganli, Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, Ihlara Valley, Cavusin, Pasabag, Ortahisar, Uchisar are among the famous places with large numbers of early Christian settlements and churches in Cappadocia region.

It is also known that St.Paul established one of the first Christian colonies in this region with his followers.


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