17-01-2023 - Tips & Guides

10 Interesting Facts About Cappadocia

One of Turkey's most well-known natural wonders is the unearthly landscapes of Cappadocia which is known for its extraordinary rock formations and amazing hot air balloons in the sky. Not only Cappadocia’s geography is unique but also the history of this amazing place is deep, rich, and complex. 

In this article, we will look at the interesting facts about Cappadocia but before we start let’s check out Cappadocia Travel Pass® which includes 25+ most popular attractions including a hot air balloon flight. The most distinctive thing about this Pass is that it is created by an experienced travel agency which is the creator of the Istanbul Tourist Pass®. With an experienced travel company backing up, Cappadocia Travel Pass® is not only inclusive but also reliable. 

1- Etymology of Cappadocia Name

Let’s first look at the meaning of the word Cappadocia. Sorry for the disappointment but as mostly written on the internet, Cappadocia does not mean “the land of beautiful horses”. Actually, if we check the latest etymological research, the name’s origin means “low country”. Here are some details for etymology lovers.

The word Cappadocia first occurs in writing in the late 6th century BC on the trilingual inscriptions of two early Achaemenid rulers named Darius I and Xerxes as one of the Persian Empire's states. The Old Persian word used in these listings of nations is Katpatuka which means "Low Country" in origin. The most current revision of this suggestion uses the Hittite katta peda-, which means literally "place below," as a point of departure for the elaboration of the toponym Cappadocia. The phonetic shape of Kat-patuka and the preceding derivation from Iranian Hu-apa-dahyu, which means "Land of beautiful horses," are difficult to reconcile. But it is fair to say Cappadocia has beautiful wild horses and whoever started this legend on the name had a fair point. 

2- Boundaries of Cappadocia

First things first, Cappadocia is not a city or state, but it is a historical region. It is a little hard today to set certain borders while talking about Cappadocia because throughout history the boundaries have moved. Cappadocia was known as Hatti in the late Bronze Age and was the homeland of the Hittite power centered at Hattusa. After the fall of the Hittite Empire, the land hosted many kingdoms and empires up until today. It is fair to say that Cappadocia reached its largest limits during the time when there was a Kingdom of Cappadocia. 

From the history today it is fair to say that the central Cappadocia is within the borders of Nevsehir but if you look at a wider sense Cappadocia covers land in 5 different cities. These cities are Nevşehir, Kırşehir, Niğde, Aksaray and Kayseri. With new archeological studies, these borders may change, and it would add new places to discover for us! 


3- People of Cappadocia

Humans have lived in Cappadocia since the Paleolithic Period. The Hatti culture inhabited this area between 2500 and 2000 BCE, and the Hittites, who arrived here around that time, followed immediately behind. Around the same time, the Assyrians established trading posts in Cappadocia. From Phrygians and Persians to the Romans in 17 CE, the region's rulers have changed from 1250 BCE. The region was home to Christian communities and those fleeing religious persecution during the Middle Ages, and as a result, the locals lived as monks for a thousand years. These may explain the formation of beautiful underground cities in the region. 

Today, the majority of people living are Turkish and Muslim. But it is fair to say that there is no 100% ethnic race in Anatolia (also anywhere in the world) because it was always in the middle of civilizations. 

4- Churches in Cappadocia 

There are approximately 600 churches, and all of them are hundreds of years old. It is anticipated that there are still more ancient churches to be found in Cappadocia. 

Cappadocia experienced an era of affluence between the 10th and 11th centuries, which led to an expansion in the building of churches and monasteries made of rock. The majority of the churches were lavishly ornamented. As one walks around the church, one can see the stunning frescoes that still have their color.

Superstition and weathering have caused damage to several of the frescoes. Because they were afraid of the Evil Eye, some of the figures had their eyes hacked off by superstitious locals. 


5- The Names of Goreme

Göreme has gone under four names in the past. Its original name, Avcilar, translates to Hunters. Then the name changed respectively to Maccan, Matiana, and Koreme. Later in the Turkish republican era, the neighborhood had its final name Göreme. So if you hear some legends about the meanings of Göreme, as it means “not to be seen”, don’t believe them. 

6-Landscape Features and Rock Formations

After a series of volcanic eruptions struck Central Anatolia during the Tertiary period about 60 million years ago, the Cappadocian region was created. The fairy chimneys and other structures that are known today were created by the eruptions. Erosion caused by volcanic activity created Cappadocia's renowned beautiful scenery.

The ash from the volcanic explosions that created Cappadocia washed across the area. The ash eventually transformed into the tuff, which was then covered with basalt. Tough, mushy, and porous material deteriorated over millennia, generating pillars as tall as 130 feet. Because basalt is tougher and erodes more slowly than other materials, it gave each pillar a mushroom-shaped crown. The famous fairy chimneys of Cappadocia are the end consequence of this million-year process.


7- Underground City

The fairy chimneys are surrounded by a vast underground city. The city, which served as a village, is connected by a system of tunnels. The underground city served as a haven for Christians fleeing the Romans. There are 200 underground churches with significant historical value.

Because the rocks are pliable, the builders were able to cut out tunnels. Visitors are welcome in several parts of the city. Additionally, Cappadocia contains a number of man-made caverns that were excavated during the unstable time. They were hiding places. Up to 8 layers of the earth's surface are occupied by certain underground structures. They possessed all the conveniences required for daily life.

These cities had everything a conventional village would have, including cooking facilities, oil storage, and animal pens in addition to wine presses. Christians who were fleeing Arab persecution found refuge in underground cities. At Ozkonak, Mazikoy, Kaymakli, and Derinkuyu, among other locations, there are underground cities.

8-  Cappadocia Wine

This area is a significant grape producer with a long history of winemaking because of the volcanic tuff making the land amazingly productive. Due to this custom, Cappadocia is a popular vacation spot for wine enthusiasts. Kocabag, Turasan, Kapadokya, and Senol are notable wineries in the region that each create a range of wine varieties. There are several newcomers come to produce wine in Cappadocia and now, there are plenty of small and medium wine brands in the area. Visitors can try popular white wine brands and red wine from the region at numerous wine-tasting establishments. Because of advertisement restrictions on alcoholic beverages, these companies can not organize big events with free tastings. So it is common to visit their wineries in the workshops or factories. 


9- Cave Hotels

Want a glimpse at life in Cappadocia in the past? You could stay the night at a hotel in a cave, though! A cave with running water, wifi, and warm towels can be a little “new” thinking back to when the early Cappadocians lived in caves. However, a lot of cave hotels have rooms that are actually refurbished old homes carved out of the rocks. Therefore, there's a possibility that you'll actually be sleeping in someone else's house. We have already researched some of Cappadocia's most amazing cave hotels. Here you can check them and be amazed

10- Beautiful Horses

Although we previously explained the etymology of the Cappadocia and told it does not mean “the land of beautiful horses”, there is a reason for this legend! Cappadocia is one of the homes to yilki, or wild horses. Their history is fascinating: ever since the Mongol Empire, farmers have used horses to pull plows and carts, but during the winter, they let them go free to forage for themselves to save money on food and supplies. The following spring, the farmers found the horses and put them back to use. The horses' partial wildness would make them stronger. Literally, "a horse that has been freed to nature" is what the word yilki means. These horses increased in population as society became more advanced, and their utility in day-to-day living diminished.

 

If these facts make you more excited about visiting Cappadocia, let’s have a look at the amazing attractions you must do during your visit. Cappadocia Travel Pass® is created by CityBerry with its 25+ years of experience in tourism. In tourism, experience matters. Cappadocia Travel Pass® is reliable and budget-friendly. So start planning your trip now and see you in Cappadocia!

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