Violent eruptions of the volcanoes Erciyes Dagi and Hajn Dagi three million years ago, covered the surrounding plateau with tuff. From this brittle rock the wind and rain have eroded Cappadocia spectacular, surrealist landscape of rock cones, capped pinncles and fretted ravines, in colours ranging from warm reds and golds to cool greens and greys.
Cappadocia is one of those rare regions in the world where the works of man blend unobtrusively into the landscape.
Dwellings are known to have been hewn from the rock as far back as 400 B.C., when Xenophon mentioned them in his Anabasis. During Byzantine times chapels and monasteries were hollowed out of the rock, and their ochre toned frescoes simply reflect the hues of the surrounding landscape. Even today, troglodyte dwellings in rock cones and village houses of volcanic tuff merge harmoniously into the landscape.
Private tours shows most interesting sites of the region include the rock chapels of Goreme, the troglodyte village of Avcilar, the redconed monastic complex of Zelve, the villages of Ortahisar and Ughisar clustered around rock pinnacles, the canyon of Ihlara and the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu. In the centre of the region are the town of Nev- sehir and the village of Urgup, around which are most of the region’s best hotels, many of them having swimming pools.
On the cappadocia tours of the volcanic plateau are the cities of Kirsehir, Kayseri and Nigde, all once centres of the Seljuk Turks, whose art adds a different dimension to the region. It is intriguing that just as the region was the centre for the development of Christian monasticism in the 4th century, so too it proved a fertile area for the development of Islamic mysticism, science and art. Two humanitarian Moslem sects, the Ahi Brother hood and the Bektasi Dervishes, originated in Kirsehir and Hacibektas respectively, and several interesting buildings associated with these sects can still be seen.