One wonders why so many populations, over such a stretch of time, choose to reside in areas that aren’t particularly hospitable. One of the least people-friendly, in Central Europe, is the area of Turkey known as Cappadocia. The name first showed up in the latter part of sixth century BC, when the area was Persian. As often happened in areas seemingly constantly falling under the control of different countries, entities and authorities of one type or another, the Cappadocia name at some point, early on, was Kapadokya, in Turkish, or Kappadokia, a Greek formation.
Herodotus, the Greek scholar called by Cicero ‘the father of history,’ because he was the first to be recognized as a collector of historic data and avid an organizer of same, wrote quite a lot about the area and its background in the fifth century BC – his era. He says the Cappadocia name was applied by the Persians, while the Greeks referred the area’s residents as Syrians.
This area of Turkey, known as Anatolia, is described as largely arid, where hot, dry summers are followed by snowy, cold winters. Pictures on the Wikipedia web strongly suggest anyone with an alternative might have been well advised to choose that location as ‘home’.
But people have long been fascinated by unusual geographical features, and the Cappadocia area, more or less in the center of modern-day Turkey, has those in abundance. Consequently, as it has drawn many conquerors over the centuries, today it attracts enough tourists to make tourism a major money-earner there.
One of the strongest draws are ‘fairy chimneys’ rock formations resembling fairy hats and dating from volcanic eruptions many thousands of years ago. Some of the soft-rock ‘chimneys’ have been dug into and fashioned into homes.
Another is an assortment of ‘underground cities’ cleverly constructed by early Christians as hiding places before their religion gained a firm foothold. They are not unlike, in their way, the cliff dwellings carved out in the American Southwest by early natives who, like their Christian counterparts during more or less the same era, needed a protectable place where they could relatively easily ward off predators. (People pursuing Christians, with death as an objective, weren’t all that different from the flatlanders who wanted whatever they thought might be taken from the cliff dwellers.)
Cappadocia thrived, under various Greek, Roman and other rulers, as the Bible was being written, and it is referred to numerous times there and in ancient Arab documents. And as you’d imagine, various architectural styles came to exist more or less side-by-side – leaving, today, history lessons almost as significant as those Pompeii provides.
In the early 18th century, Cappadocia came to be controlled, politically, from a newly-build urban area known as Neveshir, which ruled Cappadocia as an element of the larger Turkish state. It remains so-ruled today.
While not the easiest of places to get to, the Cappadocia area is well worth considering for the most ‘unusual’ vacation you’ll ever enjoy.