Cappadocia is where nature and history come together. As the geographical events create the fairy chimneys, people built houses, churches and monasteries inside them throughout history. The decorations they created with frescoes carried the traces of thousands of years of civilization to the present.
The written history of Cappadocia, where human settlements date back to the Paleolithic period, begins with the Hittites. As the host of many trade colonies and one of the trading and social bridges between countries, Cappadocia was an important intersection of the silk-road. In the Persian language, Cappadocia means the “The Land of Beautiful Horses”.
This beautiful country has geography unlike anywhere else you have seen in the world before. That is why it receives hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.
The region’s geological formation started with the eruption of the Erciyes, Hasan, Melendiz, Golludagi and many more smaller volcanic mountains. The lava that has spread to the region created a high plateau of tuff layers of different hardness, up to 100-150 meters above the rivers. As a result of the erosion, the valleys took their conic and mushroom shape on which a harder and wider rock. These shapes are today called the fairy chimneys. Even though the fairy chimneys can be seen in a few more regions of the world, they are not as dense as it is in Cappadocia thus, it is known as one of the 7 wonders of the world.
The floods of water descending from the valley slopes and the wind erode the structure consisting of tuffs that has created the interesting formations called “Fairy Chimneys”. As a result of the flood waters finding their way on the steep slopes, the hard rocks crashed and broke off. The slope was regressed by deep carving of the lower and easily-eroding materials, thus conical shaped bodies emerged with the hat at the upper parts which were protected from wear. The fairy chimneys with hats that are usually found in Nevsehir, Avanos and Ürgüp regions, consists of a conical body with a rock block on top of them. The body consists of tuff, tuffite and volcano ash whereas the hat part consists of hard rocks such as lahar and ignimbirite. Meaning that the type of rock that forms the hat is more durable than the rock that forms the body.
This is the first condition for the fairy chimneys to be formed. Depending on the resistance of the rocks on the hat part, fairy chimneys can be long or short lasting. The types of fairy chimneys that were formed by erosion in Cappadocia are; fairy chimneys with hat, conic, mushroom-shaped, columnar and pointy rocks. The fairy chimneys are the densest in the valleys between Avanos, Ürgüp and Uchisar triangle, Ürgüp Sahinefendi region, Nevsehir Çat town, Kayseri Soganli valley and around Aksaray Selime village.
Aside from the fairy chimneys, the interesting curves shaped by the rainwater on the valley slopes add more character to the region. The colorful harmony seen in some of the slopes is a result of the heat difference of the lava layers. These formations can be seen in the Uçhisar, Çavuşin, Güllüdere, Göreme, Meskendir, Ortahisar Kızılçukur and Pancarlı valleys. Benefiting from this generosity of nature, humans throughout the history carved this thick rock mass, which is very suitable for carving, and made houses, monasteries, churches and underground shelters according to the conditions of the day. Given this geological advantage of the Cappadocia region, the amount of monasteries and churches reached the number expressed in thousands.