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Open Air Museums in Cappadocia

    Goreme Open Air Museum
    First structure is monastery of nuns at the Goreme open air museum. In fact, the monastery of nuns known as six or seven floors but can be visited only three floors yet. The connection between the floors of the monastery is provided with tunnel and tunnel entrance are closed with sliding stones like underground cities of Cappadocia. There is a dining hall in the first floor, second floor has a chapel which decorated with frescoes and third floor also has a church with geometric decoration. There is Monastery of Priests near the Monastery of the nuns. Only a few rooms on the ground floor can be visited for into the rock layers are destroyed. A little later there is Hagios Basileos church which is known a tomb chapel walls decorated with frescoes. Near this church there is Aynali monastery with places around a courtyard. Aynali monastery has a big room which suppositional meeting room, a church and tomb rooms. Elmali monastery, for many years been used as a loft, all entries have been closed and thus without destroying frescoes hardly reached today. Understanding that the church is decorated in two differnet periods by means of red paint figurative decorations bottom of the poured frescoes. There is Barbara Church behind the Elmali monastery, Barbara Church walls are decorated with geometric figures and animal pictures. Just ahead Church of Hagia Katherina' frescoes largely damaged. Yilanli church has a church, refectory, and other places. It has been named as Yilanli Church (Church with snake) for on one of the frescoes St. Georgios fight with a dragon on a horse

    Goreme Open Air Museum

    Goreme Open Air Museum is a member of Unesco World Heritage List since 1984. Open everyday between 8.00 a.m and 5.00 p.m. in winter months close earlier. Tel: 00 90 384 271 21 67 (From out of Turkey)

    How can you go: Goreme open air museum is near the Goreme town of Nevsehir province. Nevsehir is 670 km. far from Istanbul, 280 km. from Ankara, 750 km. from Izmir. Goreme is 15 km. from Nevsehir center, you can go by bus, minibus or taxi to Goreme from Nevsehir. You can go by walking to museum from Goreme in 20 minutes. If you have limited time and you want to visit all around cappadocia while you are there, you can join to our tour programes which are.
    Goreme Village
    Göreme which have the old names of Korama, Matiana and Maccan is 10 km far away from the center of Nevsehir province. The valley created from volcanic rocks is famous with the chimney rocks resulting from the erosion made by the natural factors to these rocks and with the historical richness. It has been an important religious place together with the intensive emigration of the first Christians escaping from the pressure of the Roman soldiers. The population escaped from the pressures has made many abbeys, churches and houses in the volcanic rocks from the valley where they were able to hidden easily. In our days in Goreme are found Elmali Church, Saint Barbara Church, Carikli Church, Tokali Church and Hidden Church and all of these are Goreme Open Air Museums. In the churches there are scenes from the life of Jesus, descriptions of the saints who written the Bible and pictures of Saint Barbara and Saint Georgius.

    How can you go: You can go to Goreme from Nevsehir province by roadway 13 km. Nevsehir is 670 km. far from Istanbul, 280 km. from Ankara, 750 km. from Izmir. I you want, you can use flights from some destation also buses are available. some destination to Cappadocia only bus connection.
    You can also join to the tours that we organize in cappadocia or to cappadocia from different destinations.
    If you have limited time and you want to visit all around cappadocia while you are there, you can join to our tour programes which are

In the past Cappadocia

Prehistoric Period

Traces of Prehistoric cultures in Cappadocia can most easily be found around KöskHoyuk / Nigde, Asiklihoyuk / Aksaray and in the Civelek cave near Nevsehir. Excavations in these three areas are still taking place.

Asikli Hoyuk (mound)
Archaeological excavations discovered the first brick living quarters in Cappadocia in Asikli Hoyuk (mound), an extension of Aksaray's Ihlara Canyon settlements. Yellow and pink clay plaster was used in making the walls and floors of the houses, some of the most beautiful and complicated architectural examples of first towns.
They buried the dead in the Hocker position, like a foetus in the womb, on the floor Tarih Öncesi Devirde Kapadokyaof their houses. According to Prof. U. Esin, who researched at Asikli Hoyuk, a population greater that had been previously theorised is revealed by the abundance and density of the settlements in these areas in the Aceramic Neolithic Period.
No where else in Anatolia can the unique obsidian tools be found like those from Cappadocian Tumulus. Figurines, made from lightly baked clay, were unearthed together with flat stone axes wrought in many fine shapes, chisels and coulters made from bones and ornaments made from copper, agate and other different kinds of stones. Evidence provided by a skeleton found here indicates that the earliest brain surgery (trepanation) known in the world was performed on a woman 20-25 years of age at Asikli Hoyuk.

Assyrian Trade Colonies Periods

Assyrian Trade Colonies PeriodsMining and metallurgy reached its peak in Anatolia during the Early Bronze Age. Major developments were observed in Northern Anatolia towards the end of this period.
Between 2000BC and 1750BC Assyrian merchants from northern Mesopotamia formed the first commercial organisations by establishing trade colonies in Anatolia. The centre of these colonies was at Kanesh Kharum near Kültepe in Kayseri province (Kharum: A commercial market place). Another important commercial market place referred in documents is the Kharum Hattush at Bogazköy.
Assyrian Trade Colonies PeriodsAnatolia was rich in gold, silver and copper, but lacked tin, essential for obtaining bronze as an alloy. For this reason tin was one of the major trading materials, as well as textile goods and perfumes. The merchants had no political dominance, but were protected by the regional Beys.
Fortunately for the Assyrian merchants, writing was seen for the first time in Anatolia. From the "Cappadocia tablets", cuneiform clay tablets on which ancient Assyrian was written, it has been learnt that merchants paid a 10% road tax to the Bey, received 30% interest from locals for, and paid a 5% tax to the Anatolian kings for goods they sold. The same tablets tell us that Assyrian merchants sometimes married Anatolian women, and the marriage agreements contained clauses to protect the women’s rights from their husbands.
Assyrian merchants also introduced cylinder seals, metallurgy, their religious beliefs, Assyrian Trade Colonies PeriodsGods and temples to Anatolia. Native Anatolian art flourished under the influence of Assyrian Mesopotamic art, eventually developing an identity of its own. During the following ages this developed into the fundamentals o

Hittite Period

Hittite PeriodPeople coming from Europe via the Caucasus, and settling in Cappadocia around 2000 BC, formed an Empire in the region merging with the native people of the area. Their language was of Indo-European origin.The capital of the Hittite kingdom was at Hattushash (Bogazköy), and the other important cities were Alacahöyük and Alisar. Hittite remains can be found in all the tumuli in Cappadocia.The Hittite Empire, which lasted for six centuries in the region, collapsed around 1200 BC when the confederacy of Hittite states was invaded by the Phrygian people from the Balkans

Late Hittite Kingdom

After the Phrygians destroyed all the important towns in Central Anatolia eliminating the Hittite Empire, fragments of the Late Hittite Kingdoms sprang up around central and southeast Anatolia.
The Late Hittite Kingdom in Cappadocia was the Tabal kingdom, which extended over Kayseri, Nevsehir and Nigde. Rock monuments from this age, with Hittite hieroglyphics can be found at Gulsehir-Sivasa (Gokcetoprak), Acigol-Topada, and Hacibektas-Karaburna.

Persian Empire and Cappadocia

CappadociaThe Cimmerians ended the Phrygian reign, and were then followed by the Medes (585BC) and the Persians (547 BC). The Persians divided the empire into semi autonomous provinces and ruled the area using governors who were known as ‘satraps’. In the ancient Persian language, Katpatuka, the word for Cappadocia, meant "Land of the well bred horses".

Persian Empire

The Persians gave their people the freedom to choose their own religion and to speak their native languages. Since the religion they were devoted to was the Zoroastrian religion, fire was considered to be divine, and so, the volcanoes of Erciyes and Hasandagi were sacred for them.
The Persians constructed a "Royal Road" connecting their capital city in Cappadocia to the Aegean region. The Macedonian King Alexander defeated Persian armies twice, in 334 and 332 BC, and conquered this great empire. After bringing the Persian Empire to an end, King Alexander met with great resistance in Cappadocia. He tried to rule the area through one of his commanders named Sabictus, but the ruling classes and people resisted and declared Ariarthes, a Persian aristocrat, as king. Ariarthes I (332 - 322 BC) was a successful ruler, and extended the borders of the Cappadocian Kingdom as far as the Black Sea.


The kingdom of Cappadocia lived in peace until the death of Alexander. From then until 17AD, when it became a Roman province, it fought wars with the Macedonians, the Galatians and the Pontus nation.

Roman Period

TRoman Periodhe wars came to an end in 17AD when Tiberius conquered Cappadocia and placed it under Roman rule. After the conquest, the Romans reconstructed the road to the west that was of both commercial and military significance. During the Roman era the area saw many migrations and attacks from the east. The area was defended by Roman military units known as "Legions". During the reign of Emperor Septimus Severus, Roman PeriodCappadocia's economy flourished, but the capital, Kayseri (Caesera) was attacked by Sassanid armies from Iran. Emperor Gordianus III ordered the construction of defensive city walls. During this time some of the first Christians were moving from the big cities to villages. In the 4th century, when Kayseri was a flourishing religious centre, the rocky landscape of Göreme was discovered. Adopting the teachings of St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (Kayseri), the Christians began to lead a monastic life in the carved out rocks of Cappadocia.

Byzantine Period

When the Roman Empire divided into two, Cappadocia fell under theByzantine Period eastern region. In the early 7th century there were severe wars between the Sassanid and Byzantine armies, and for 6 or 7 years the Sassanids held the area. In 638 Caliph Ömer ended the domination of the Sassanids, and the Arab Ommiades began to attack. The long lasting religious debates among sects reached a peak with the adoption of the Iconoclastic view by Leon III, who was influenced by Islamic traditions. Christian priests and monks who were in favour of icons began to take refuge in Cappadocia. The Iconoclastic period lasted over a centuryByzantine Period (726-843). During this time, although several Cappadocian churches were under the influence of Iconoclasm, the people who were in favour of icons were able to continue to worship comfortably.

Seljuk Period

The arrival of the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia marked the beginning of a new era in history. After their victories in Iran and Mesopotamia, Turks rapidly spread throughout Anatolia, settling there in the second half of the 11th century. In 1071 the Byzantine emperor Romanos Diogenes, who was of Cappadocian origin, was defeated and captured by the Seljuk ruler Alparslan at Malazgirt. In 1080 Suleiman Shah founded the Anatolian Seljuk State, the capital of which was Konya. In 1082 Kayseri was conquered by Turks. Cities such as Nigde and Aksaray were reconstructed, and caravanserais, mosques, Madrasah, and tombs were built. The Seljuk Turks' conquest of Anatolia did not affect the administrative authority of the Patriarchy. It was only after the 14th century that its size and status were diminished.

Ottoman Period

The Region of Cappadocia was very peaceful also during the Ottoman Ottoman PeriodPeriod. Nevsehir was a small village in the province of Nigde until the time of Damat Ibrahim Pasha. At the beginning of the 18th century, especially during the time of Damat Ibrahim Pasha, places like Nevsehir, Gulsehir, Ozkonak, Avanos and Urgup prospered and mosques, kulliyes (a collection of buildings of an institution, usually composed of schools, a mosque, lunatic asylum, hospital, kitchen, etc.) and fountains were built. The bridge in the centre of the town of Ozkonak, which was built during Yavuz Sultan Selim’s campaign to the east (1514), is important in terms of being an early Ottoman Period building. The Christian people living in the area were treated with tolerance in the Ottoman Period as in the Seljuk Period. The 18th century church of Constantine-Helena in Sinasos-Urgup, the 19th century church built in honor of Dimitrius in Gulsehir and the Orthodox Church in Derinkuyu are some of the best examples of this tolerance.

First Travelers at Cappadocia

First Travelers at CappadociaEuropeans discovered the Region of Cappadocia, which has been occupied by many civilisations at the beginning of the 18th century. Paul Lucas, who was sent by the French King Louis XIV in 1704, stated that he saw many strange pyramid like houses near the Red River (the ancient Halys) and that these houses had conspicuous entrances and stairs and big windows to light all the rooms. With his imagination, he likened the fairy chimneys to "monks with hoods" and the rocks on the fairy chimneys to busts of "Mother Mary holding Baby Jesus". He thought that these interesting rock-cut houses were the ones of the Christian monks. In his engraving, the tops of the serial conical shaped fairy chimneys were depicted, in an exaggerated way, as the busts of people and animals.

When Lukas examined Cappadocia again in 1719, he described these fairy chimneys as a graveyard near Caesarea (modern Kayseri). Paul Lucas's fantastic description of the place was met with both great interest and suspicion in Europe. C. Texier, who visited Cappadocia between 1833 - 1837 after Paul Lukas, stated that nature had never displayed itself in such a way before the eyes of a stranger. English traveler Ainsworth, who visited Cappadocia in the 19th century, expressed his astonishment as:"Turning up a glen which led from the river inland, we found ourselves suddenly lost in a forest of cones and pillars of rock, that rose around us in interminable confusion, like the ruins of some great and ancient city. At times these rude pinnacles of rock balanced huge unformed masses upon their pointed summits, but still more frequently the same strangely supported masses assumed fantastic shapes and forms at one moment suggesting the idea of a lion, at another of a bird, and then again of a crocodile or a fish." W. J. Hamilton, English geologist, expressed his amazement saying, "The words are never enough to describe the scenery of this extraordinary place." Scientific researches and publications started at the end of the 19th century. G. De Jerphanion, the French explorer/priest, who did some researches in Cappadocia between 1907 - 1912, systematically examined the monumental rock-cut churches, rock-cut monasteries and the wall frescoes in these.

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