The Rock Houses of Cappadocia Turkey

Nature is a wonderful builder. Volcanic eruption, glaciers, wind and water has carved out some of the best architecture on Earth; it’s entirely natural and, on occasions, simply astounds with the designs that are created without help from human hands.

Turkey is a country that has more than its fair share of natural beauty with soaring mountains, rugged coastline, narrow waterways and Cappadocia, which contains a truly prehistoric-looking landform in which underground cities thrive.

Located in the Anatolian Region of Turkey, Cappadocia has been inhabited by humans for many thousands of years. About two million years ago, a series of volcanic eruptions near what is now modern Erciyes, Hasandag and Gulludag, formed a large tableland consisting of volcanic mounds. Since then erosion caused by the waters of the Kizilirmak River together with wind action over tens of thousands of years have created an eerie landscape of fairy chimneys that are a wonder of the nature.

These fairy chimneys, or hoodoos as they are also known, form tall, thin columns of soft rock which are topped by much harder rock that is more impervious to erosion. For many thousands of years, people have been able to move into the eroded soft rock, and carve out quite decent living spaces, knowing they are protected by the covering of hard rock.

Cappadocia is bordered by both the Black Sea and the Euphrates River and is arguably located in the area where modern civilisation began. As well as been worth a visit to see the extraordinary landscape and to explore the age-old underground cities, it has an incredibly interesting historical background as well, with Persians, Assyrians, Greeks, Hittites all living there long before the Turkish people themselves arrived.

The underground cities of Cappadocia have been inhabited since prehistoric times. Although they are called cities, they are formed out of rooms that are connected to each other. The rooms occur at different levels on the stacks and some of the rooms are connected to each other only by narrow tunnels that are just wide enough to allow the passage of just one person. Nevertheless, they are impressive.

Often, the access gates to these tunnels were guarded by huge stone rollers that were used for closing the tunnels to keep them secure.

Cappadocia is remote by Turkish standards. The two major towns in the area are Nevsehir and Goreme, which are both connected by inter city buses. Goreme and Urgup are the two most popular tourist centres in the area as these have the best examples of cave dwellings, ana a smattering of rock cones in and around these cities.

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