The region of Cappadocia is located in the middle of a once-active volcanic area of central Anatolia. Millions of years ago three of its mountains - Erciyes, Hasandağ and Güllüdağ - were active volcanoes; indeed this activity persisted intermittently at least into the Neolithic period according to the prehistoric paintings.
The volcanic eruptions were so strong that in some places the lava was up to 150m in thickness. Over many millions of years, volcanoes, wind, rain and ice sculpted the region which we now know as Cappadocia. As the landscape was eroded, basalt stones remained and formed conical structures with some reaching as high as 45m. The local people referred to these unique rock formations ‘fairy chimneys’, a name that has endured throughout the ages. If nature was the first artist to arrange the decor, it was Anatolian man who carved the rock and built houses, churches and over 250 underground cities out of it over the centuries.
A unique heritage of nature and humanity Cappadocia offers visitors an extraordinary and lavish banquet of natural wonders that exceed their wildest imaginations. These wonders are elegantly graced with works created by the hand of man. With its unique natural features displaying a harmonious combination of natural and cultural landscape elements, Cappadocia is an enchanting open-air museum and an unparalleled example of the common cultural heritage of humanity.
Cappadocia incorporates the provinces of Aksaray, Nevşehir, Niğde, Kayseri and Kırşehir. For most people, the name Cappadocia suggests the towns of Uçhisar, Göreme, Avanos, Ürgüp, Derinkuyu,
Kaymaklı and Ihlara, where the land has been shaped into fantastic forms over the course of millions of years. Fairy chimneys that seem mysterious and cities and houses of worship that extend many meters deep into the earth are all enveloped
in an atmosphere that is ethereal and unworldly. Prepare yourself to take a brief journey into the Cappadocian region, where Mother Nature painstakingly worked miracles that defy the imagination and where the living elements of history, culture, art and society are inextricably linked.
A visit to Cappadocia is highly recommended for those who want to bathe in its atmosphere, colours and luminance.
Crossroad of Civilizations The Cappadocian region has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with the best examples of it having been unearthed at Köşk Höyük in Niğde, Aşıklı Höyük in Aksaray as well as the Civelek Cave in Nevşehir. During the Middle Bronze Age Cappadocia came under the influence of Assyrian civilization due to extensive trade. During this period writing was introduced, too. Researchers have found
hoards of ‘Cappadocian tablets’ – clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform writing – whose texts speak of tax regulation, interest rates, marriage contracts, trade disputes and much else besides. The Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans were all enchanted by the allure of Cappadocia and left the imprints of their presence here.
Due to its location Cappadocia has been a critical and strategic region throughout the years. Important trade routes, including the illustrious Silk Road, traversed it both east and west and north and south. As a result of this heavy traffic, the region has been a complex web of historical and cultural influences, a region where different faiths and philosophies have met and influenced one another. Cappadocia’s trade and resources were tempting and so the region was frequently invaded, raided and looted.
To protect themselves from such incursions, the locals took to living in the region’s caves and grottos whose entrances could be concealed so as not to be noticed by trouble-making outsiders. Since it might be necessary to lie low for extended periods of time, these troglodytic dwellings eventually became subterranean cities that included sources of water, places to store food and had wineries and even temples. Some of these subterranean cities date back to pre-Christian era.
Sanctuary of Christians In the early years of the first millennium, groups of Christians fleeing Roman persecution began moving into the inaccessible wilds of Cappadocia seeking refuge. One group which arrived from Jerusalem via Antioch (Antakya) and Caesarea (Kayseri) in the second century settled down in the area now known as Derinkuyu. Finding the soft volcanic tuff easy to carve, they began to expand the natural caves and link
them together, creating dwellings, chapels, churches and monasteries through which these people found the peace and security they had so desperately sought. It is said that there are around 500 churches and chapels in Cappadocia. The variety and artistry of their architecture, layout and decoration are fascinating and amazing. Basilicas with single, double or triple naves, cruciform plans, vestibules, aisles, apses, domes, columns, pillars and more – can be found in these churches, with all having been hollowed out of stone. Many of the churches are also decorated with painstakingly-painted frescoes. The monumental task of restoring, repairing and maintaining these churches and underground cities goes on even while they receive thousands of visitors a year.
Aksaray, with its riches including the Ihlara Valley, spots for faith tourism, underground cities, Salt Lake, Mount Hasandağı, ancient cities and spa centres, is one of the glorious cities of Cappadocia.
Aksaray’s first civilization is recorded as being at Aşıklı and dates from 8000 years BC. At Aşıklıhöyük (mound) can be found the oldest village of the Neolithic period in Anatolia and the Near East.
As an important centre of Christianity’s very earliest days, Aksaray was home to such pioneers as Basil of Caesarea (Kayseri) and Gregory of Nazianzus in the 4th century. A different set of monastic rules to the system used in Egypt and Syria came out of the region. Whereas the monks in Egypt and Syria cut themselves off from the world at
large, those under Basil and Gregory did not. Gregory, offering a new explanation for the Holy Trinity, triggered a debate concerning the divinity of Christ and his ideas prevailed at the Council of İznik. Thus, an innovator became a saint for the first time in the history of Christianity.
Rock-cut churches dot the rocky region of Belisırma, Ihlara and Gelveri where Gregory lived. Many rock-cut dwellings and churches with frescoes from the early years of Christianity are scattered along the 14km-long Ihlara Valley, one of the major tourist attractions of the area.
The formation of the valley began with the volcanic eruption of Mount Hasandağı leaving the surface of the region covered with a layer of volcanic rock. This same volcanic activity produced pressure and heat causing the limestone to crack and create natural hot water springs; these can be seen at the Ziga Springs between Ihlara town and the village of Yaprakhisar. The eruptions also produced tufa outcrops which were moulded by wind, erosion and other natural phenomena creating the indefinable but colourful fairy chimneys that can be seen at the town of Selime and the village of Yaprakhisar.
The Guardians of the Silk Road With the arrival of the Seljuk Turks in the area in the 11th century, madrasahs, dervish lodges and caravanserais started to appear. Caravanserais were the guardians of the Silk Road and held a prominent place among the glories of Seljuk architecture. Located between Kayseri and Konya which were two important cities of the Seljuk period on the Silk Road, Aksaray was famous for
its caravanserais which lent their names to the towns or villages that grew around them. It was also here that the earliest and largest examples of Sultans’ inns were built- structures which would exert a defining influence on Seljuk architecture. The Sultanhanı (Sultan’s Inn) of Aksaray, built in 1229, demonstrates how each Seljuk caravanserai was a work of art besides being a structure for trade and safety.
Nevşehir is undoubtedly the first city that comes to mind when travellers think of visiting the Cappadocia region.
Most of the region’s fairy chimneys and rock-cut churches are found in Nevşehir, scattered around the districts of Ürgüp, Avanos and Göreme. With 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. The area also contains the villages of prehistoric cave dwellers and underground cities of traditional human habitation dating back to the 4th century. Included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, Göreme keeps unique natural features that display a harmonious combination of natural and cultural landscape elements.
Located among the ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations, Göreme is a town in the Nevşehir province of Central Anatolia. With 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. The area also contains the villages of prehistoric cave dwellers and underground cities that include the remains of human habitation dating back to the 4th century. Göreme contains unique natural features and displays a harmonious combination of natural and cultural landscape elements.
Göreme and its environs, located 10km from Nevşehir, are thought to have been used as a necropolis by the inhabitants of Venessa (Avanos) during Roman times. The churches of Durmuş Kadir, Yusuf Koç, El Nazar, Saklı, Meryem Ana (Virgin Mary) and Kılıçlar cast a spellbinding effect on visitors. The Göreme Open Air Museum is where the ideas of Christianity were unified by St Basil the Great and his brothers.
The architectural details and frescoes of the Tokalı church, Convent of Monks and Nuns, Chapel of St Basil and the Elmalı, Yılanlı, Karanlık and Çarıklı churches seem as alive today as when they were new. Çavuşin, located 2km from Göreme, is one of the oldest inhabited places in the region and the fresco scenes of Çavuşin church are distinctive because of their unusual compositions.
In Ürgüp, 20km east of Nevşehir, the St Theodore (Tağar) and Pancarlık churches are elaborately decorated with religious art. Six kilometres south of Ürgüp is Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), a town justifiably famous for its splendid stone works. The Chapel of St Basil is decorated with motifs reflecting the Iconoclastic system of thought. A hot-air balloon in a voyage
unique to the Cappadocian region is an experience unlike any other as you race with the doves through the sky’s shades of blue and behold below the sinuous terrain extending into infinity, the enigmatic and artistically magnificent churches, and the pyramids, cones, mushrooms, and hats of the fairy chimneys. Ürgüp is also known for its wines that have been made in the area
for thousands of years and visitors can’t resist the taste of the crimson-red or misty-white wines from the fertile vineyards in which the grapes of the Cappadocia region flourish. Although some local vintners have adopted modern techniques of wine-making, there are still many that remain faithful to ancient and time-proven methods.
Ortahisar, 6 km from Ürgüp, is home to the once strategically important Ortahisar citadel with fine examples of Cappadocia’s vernacular architecture clustered around its base. Another must-see sight is the Üzümlü church on the western side.
Visitors can also enjoy a mud bath experience in the caves of Cappadocia in Ortahisar
With the arrival of Islam in Anatolia, it also became the home of a number of famous Muslim scholars and philosophers. In the 14th century the Turkish and Muslim mystic Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli settled in the Nevşehir county known as Hacıbektaş today.
The core tenets of this sage’s philosophy, crucial to achieving unity among the different Turkish groups in Anatolia, embody the spirit and substance of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The town of Hacıbektaş, 45km from Nevşehir, has a 14th-century mosque complex that includes the tomb of Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli, a mosque, guesthouse, kitchen, wishing tree and an area for ascetics. The complex which is now a museum has been inscribed in the Tentative List of UNESCO’s World Heritage. On 16-18 August every year, activities commemorating Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli are held and draw large crowds of his disciples as well as interested visitors.
Pottery Making Located 18km from Nevşehir, Avanos is famous for its tradition of pottery-making that has been alive since the times of the Hittites. If you want to give it a try, call in at a workshop, and take up your position before the wheel. What happens next is up to the skills of your hands and the vividness of your imagination. Master potters standing nearby will lend you their support and maybe give you a few pointers. When you leave, don’t forget to pick up an example or two of the craftsmen’s work as a memento of your time there.
Niğde, Nahita of Hittite times, lies in a valley flanked by volcanic peaks that command the ancient trade route from Anatolia to the Mediterranean. The history of the city goes back to 7000BC and according to the inscriptions of the Hittites and the Assyrians, the former lived in the area for a thousand years as from 1800BC.
Alaeddin Mosque, built in 1223, is located in the southern part of the inner citadel, featuring the classical Seljuk Architecture. The 15th-century Akmedrese, which is a fine example of Seljuk architecture, now houses the Archaeology Museum.
Niğde’s castle owes its present form to the Seljuks. Dating from the 14th-century era of Mongol rule are the Sungur Bey Mosque and the Hüdavend Hatun Mausoleum, an excellent example of an Anatolian tower-tomb.
Ten kilometres out of town is Eskigümüş, a Byzantine monastery and church with massive columns and frescoes. These frescoes dating from the 10th and 11th centuries are among the best-preserved in the region.
Bor, south of Niğde, was once a Hittite settlement. The Ottoman bedesten is among the town’s historical buildings.
Good Choice for Nature Lovers The city is a good choice for nature lovers: the Aladağlar (Ala Mountains) National Park, 50km southeast of Niğde, is perfect for mountain climbing, trekking and simply relaxing. The best place to start your excursion in the park is at Çukurbağ. One of the highest peaks is Demirkazık. The Bolkar Mountains are also popular for trekking and skiing with their karstic forms and glacier lakes. Located 80km from Niğde is Narlıgöl, a beautiful tectonic lake with fairy chimneys and rock-cut dwellings along its shore.
In the west of Cappadocia lies Kayseri, the city known as Caesarea in Roman times. As with many human settlements in Anatolia, Kayseri has a long history and a rich cultural heritage.
Located 20km from the city centre, the Kültepe Mound is the most important example of this heritage with a history dating back 6000 years. Kültepe was an important trading centre during the 2nd millennium BC. Excavations have unearthed important artefacts from the Bronze Age, the Assyrian trading colonies and from the Hittite era. Among the artefacts are cuneiform tablets containing Anatolia’s oldest written documents, providing valuable insight into these periods of which little was known.
The trading that had started with the Assyrian trading colonies between 1950 and 1850BC continued over the Royal Road passing Kayseri on the way, connecting Sardes and Susa in the 5th century BC. During Seljuk rule, Kayseri became one of the crucial cities on the principal trading route: the Silk Road. Today Kayseri maintains its historical heritage as an important centre of commerce and industry.
Rich heritage Due to its strategic location Kayseri changed hands between states competing for domination over the years, and many civilizations that played a role in its history have left their imprint on its cultural treasures. These include the mounds with thousands of years of history, some of which have been excavated and are now open air museums; the rock-face reliefs sculpted by the Hittites; the Roman burial structures; the rock-cut churches from Christianity’s early periods; and the structures adorning the city centre built during the Danishmend, Seljuk and Ottoman eras. All changed Kayseri into a city where ancient and modern live in harmony – a cultural heritage site well worth a visit.
The pre-Islamic past of Kayseri province can be traced in its counties and villages. One of the most visited sites in Kayseri is the Soğanlı Village of Yeşilhisar County. The village is an important centre of Cappadocia and there are about fifty rock cut churches in its environs. Due to the nature of the local rock some of the churches were built with such features as domes, vaults and columns. Those built in the period between the 4th and 11th centuries are adorned with frescoes depicting Biblical stories. While each deserves a visit in its own right, the most striking churches are the Kubbeli, Karabaş and St Barbara churches with regards to their architectural features and frescoes.
Soğanlı is by no means the only place for rock cut churches; there are a number of rock-cut churches and monasteries to be found in the village of Erdemli in the Erdemli Valley of the county of Yeşilhisar, in the Derevenk Valley of the county of Talas, at Tavlasun, in the village of Germir and in Gesi, some of which are adorned with Biblical stories and are as splendid as the well-known examples in Kayseri. Another important settlement where churches and monasteries from different eras can be seen together is the county of Ağırnas. The county also has the distinction of being the birthplace of Mimar Sinan, the architect royal who built masterpieces in İstanbul as well as in other principal urban centres, defining the cityscapes of most of those cities. The house where he was born is now a museum situated in the Aşağı Pınar neighbourhood. A subterranean city used by the first Christians is located in the same area, too. As seen by the spaces for worship, the subterranean city was used up to the 13th century.
In the north of Tekirdağ on the border between Greece and Turkey, Edirne (Adrianople) is located, which was for some years the O oman capital.
The city is spread out at the foot of the extinct volcano Mount Erciyes, where in winter the ski centre offers excellent runs for downhill skiers and several pleasant hotels.
Kapuzbaşı Waterfall is 176km south of Kayseri and it is a beautiful site of seven mountain-face springs which fall from heights ranging between 30m and 70m.
Carpet and Kilim Weaving Kayseri is one of the most important carpet and kilim (rug) production centres in Anatolia. The town of Bünyan is most famous for carpets while Yahyalı is most renowned for rugs. Rugs woven in finely knotted floral patterns retain a centuries-old tradition and locally produced items can be purchased from Kayseri’s carpet shops. Kırşehir was settled by the Hittites, Phrygians, Romans, Seljuks and Ottomans during its 5000 years of history owing to its important location between east and west.
Founded in the ancient times, in the Middle Ages the city became the centre of the Ahi Brotherhood, a Muslim sect whose moral and social tenets played an important role in the spiritual and political life at the towns of Anatolia. Founded by Ahi Evran in Kırşehir, Ahi Brotherhood, was the organized brotherhood of trade and craft guilds, sowing the seeds of love in the hearts of people everywhere in Anatolia.
Kırşehir owes much to the Anatolian Seljuks: After the 11th century, the city gained great importance in science and the fine arts in particular. Among Kırşehir’s many fine Seljuk buildings are the Cacabey Astrological Observatory Madrasah of 1272 (then used as a mosque), the Alaeddin Mosque of 1230 and the Ahi Evran Mosque, near the tomb of the founder of the Ahi sect. Out of town on the road to Kayseri is the attractive Aşık Paşa Mausoleum which was built during the period of Mongol rule in 1333.
A major archaeological centre at Kalehöyük in the county of Kaman in Kırşehir province is still being excavated. The Kaman Kalehöyük Museum, designed after the mound seen in the local excavations, attracts a large number of local and foreign tourists and houses objects mostly from Kalehöyük. Near Kalehöyük, at a location of Hatti and Hittite settlements, is one of Turkey’s largest parks, the Mikasanomiya
Japanese Garden with 16,500 trees of 33 different species. Üçayak is a historical place of worship, important to Christianity. The underground cities of Mucur, Kepez, and Dulkadirli are impressive in their extent and layout, and were all used as shelters for lengthy periods. Having undergone restoration works, they are now open to visitors.
Gift of the Nature The city also offers much natural beauty, including beautiful Lake Seyfe an important area for birds. Declared a Natural Conservation Area, the lake is situated in the county of Mucur, and is home to many bird species including flamingos. Another gift of the nature to Kırşehir is the thermal springs, where visitors can enjoy the hot, healing waters.
Stosunki dyplomatyczne pomiędzy Osmanami (Imperium Osmańskim) i Królestwem Polskim zostały nawiązane w 1414 roku, ponieważ oba państwa były bezpośrednimi sąsiadami od późnego średniowiecza do końca 18. wieku.
600-lecie nawiązania stosunków dyplomatycznych było obchodzone w 2014 roku.
Ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 19/1
+48 22 826 62 88 - 89
© 2017 Wszelkie Prawa Zastrzeżone | Biuro Radcy ds. Kultury i Turystyki Ambasady Turcji