Cappadocia is the ancient name of the region which is located in the central part of Turkey with a history dating back to the Neolithic age. The first settlement in the area was at Catalhoyuk. Many years later, two major volcanoes erupted in the Hasan and Erciyes mountains. The lava which was expelled, called tufa, has created the carved landscape which it appears as today. In that tufa mixture there was mainly two materials: Basalt and Andesite. Over time, the soft basalt eroded leaving behind the andesite, which formed surrealistic rock shapes, now called ‘fairy chimneys’.
The major places to see these fairy chimneys are Zelve, Pasabag, Pigeon valley, Red Valley, Goreme, Urgup. Due to the fact that the soil is not fertile for agriculture, it is used instead for vinyards. The surrounding flora of the area consists of these vineyards, onion and potato fields. As the earth was so easily pliable, the inhabitants of the area lived for long periods in underground cities like Kaymakli, Derinkuyu, Mazikoy… when threatened by enemies. There are 36 underground cities like these in the region.
The very first Christians of Anatolia settled in Cappadocia and built rock cut churches with beautiful frescoes in order to educate the community. Almost in every valley there is a church with magnificent frescoes inside, but the most popular ones are the ones which are in Goreme Open Air Museum.