- Cappadocia in Early Christianity
This rocky wonderland in the center of Türkiye was shaped by millions of years of geological phenomena brought about by the eruptions of three volcanoes surrounding the region. Erosions shaped the thick ash, which solidified into a soft rock known as “volcanic tuff.” Wind and water worked on this plateau, leaving only the harder elements to form a fairy-tale landscape.
The region became a refuge for early Christians fleeing Roman persecution who created a handcarved network of underground settlements. Monks excavated extensive dwellings and monasteries and covered them with beautiful Byzantine frescoes.
Early Christians settled within the triangle between Nyssa, Nazianzus, and Caesarea, and lived a monastic life as taught by Saint Basil the Great (330-379 CE), who had become Bishop of Caesarea (modern-day Kayseri) in 370 CE.
Saint Basil the Great together with Gregory the Theologian from Nazianzus (Nevşehir) and his brother Gregory of Nyssa (Niğde) are known as the "Cappadocian Fathers." They laid the foundation for the theology of the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
Saint Basil the Great was born at Caesarea, Cappadocia around 330 CE. It was under his guidance that the first churches were built in Göreme Valley. Here, a number of small communities with their own churches formed the large monastic complex that is now the Göreme Open-Air Museum. In Göreme, Tokalı Kilise (Church of the Buckle) and Karanlık Kilise (Dark Church) are exceptional examples with graceful arches and beautiful frescoes.
The earliest record of the underground settlements of Cappadocia is found in Xenophon's Anabasis. However, based on various historical sources Hittites may have actually been the first inhabitants of the underground settlements of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu. With its rich history and unmatched geological formation, Cappadocia is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List under “Göreme National Park and Rock Sites of Cappadocia.”
- Hacı Bektaş and the Ahi Tradition
Hacı Bektaş (Haji Bektash Veli) was an Islamic philosopher of the 13th century whose thoughts are based on the concepts of human love and human existence – in his view, man or woman, all of mankind is equal. The Bektashi Sufi order, which was named after him, was founded in the region of Cappadocia. Hacı Bektaş is considered one of the principal teachers of Alevism.
Hacı Bektaş established the first trade union in the world, the Ahi tradition, where all craftsmen had to follow certain moral and ethical rules in their jobs and to educate young craftsmen using rules, established social conventions, and tradition.
A true fairyland! How can one describe Cappadocia? One of the world’s most interesting geological formations… The mountain routes that pass through the valleys offer all types of cyclists a great variety of options. Wake up to a morning full of adventure with hot-air balloons flying over you! For further information about the cycling routes in Cappadocia, click here.
Trekking & Hiking Routes
- Aladağlar (Anti-Taurus Mountains), Niğde & Kayseri & Adana
The Aladağlar Mountain range (Anti-Taurus Mountains) stretches from the cities of Kayseri and Niğde to Adana it has plenty of amazing natural sites for you to discover on the way. The summit of the Aladağlar Mountains, favored during the summer, stands at 3,756 m. The mountain offers a variety of paths of different levels.
Not all the routes are forested; some parts are lined with alpine plants. You can set up your tent in the designated areas, such as Sokulupınar. There are also rafting and mountaineering options available.
Rock Climbing Routes
- Aladağlar, Niğde
Situated in the Taurus Mountain range, at the meeting point of the cities of Kayseri, Adana, and Niğde, Aladağlar has some excellent rock-climbing routes on limestone rocks. The majority of the routes are single pitch, though there are some multipitch routes up to 650 m long.
There are over 100 routes here across all grades. Aladağlar National Park is at an altitude of 1,600 m making rock climbing very pleasant from the beginning of June through to the end of September.
In Aladağlar, you’ll also find some endemic species and animal families specific to the region.
- From İstanbul to Cappadocia
From the Bosphorus to Cappadocia, the “Land of Beautiful Horses” and fairy chimneys!
İstanbul is a cultural and historical capital, a huge metropole with many natural wonders, beautiful nature, and a variety of campsites.
We’re starting at İstanbul and heading to Bolu, a meeting point of lakes, mountains, and lush nature. Then, we’re passing through Ankara, the country’s capital, to Cappadocia, another one of Anatolia’s cultural centers!