Cappadocia is a geographical term rather than a province in Turkey. It is the volcanic land between the two great volcanoes, Mt. Hasan and Mt. Erciyes, to the east and west respectively; the Aladaglar (Crimson Mountains) range to the South, and Kizilirmak river in the North.
Thanks to the soft volcanic material, (tuff) and the erosion of millions of years by the wind and the rain, whole area looks like a fantastic, fairy-tale land. Strange rock formations take the form of huge boulders jutting out from the ground at some places and at others times they form, eye pleasing, smoothly curved valleys. Varying in colour and shape, these “fairy chimneys” (as they are called in Turkish) and the beautiful valleys make one of natures most surprising masterpieces.
Cappadocia has three defining characteristics..
First and by the far the most striking is the geologic characteristic. The erosion of the “tuff” (volcanic ash) that is abundant in the area, a relic of the series of many eruptions from 15 million years back, has created an amazing landscape here. Apart from all other features of the area, only this incredible landscape is enough reason to be here.
Second is the incredibly rich historical background.
The first settlement in the area goes back to prehistorical ages. Pottery making is known to be an ancient art since Hittite times (1800 BC) in this area and is continued in the ancient traditional ways. But the most prominent historical characteristic of the region is from the early Christian period. The first communities started to form in Cappadocia as early as 60 A.D. And Cappadocia has become a refuge for the early Christians escaping Roman persecution. Many of the caves and rock cut churches still have nice decorations and icons from very early Christian art.
Third is the rich cultural traditions that continue to live in the area among villagers despite the great amount of tourism going on. You can easily see villagers riding their horse carts to their vineyards or tending their orchards in the old traditional ways. In autumn you can come by people drying fruits or making grape molasses and many other village activities as they have done for hundreds of years.
These three characteristics make Cappadocia a very interesting destination for travelers who enjoy experiencing, nature, history and culture. Cappadocia is hard to put into words. Unique and pretty much incredible, it is one of those places that you must see with your own eyes to believe!