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History of Cappadocia

There have been numerous findings of prehistoric settlements in the region, especially in Koskhoyuk (Nigde) Aşiklihöyük (Aksaray) and Civelek, where excavations still take place.

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On the other hand, while between 5000 and 4000 B.C. in the region there were independent and isolated principalities, the earliest written record known, called the “Tables of Cappadocia“, belongs to the second century B.C. and describes the exchanges and trades of a period in wich Assyrian merchant colonies settled in the region.

From the Hittite Empire to a Persian satrapy

In the late Bronze Age, Cappadocia was dominated by the Hittite Empire. In those years it became an important trade zone on the Silk Road and thereby a meeting point and confluence of different philosophies and religions that have left their mark on its history and culture.

After the fall of the Hittite EmpireCappadocia was ruled by a sort of feudal aristocracy which then passed into the hands of the Persians. Established by Darius, Cappadocia was then included in the third Persian satrapy, but remained governed by its own laws, while not contradict the will of the Great King.

Alexander the Great and Ariarathes Dynasty

After centuries of Persian domination, the empire ended and Alexander the Great tried to rule the area through Cabictas, one of his military commanders. But after the death of the great conqueror and once dissolved the Macedonian Empire, Cappadocia became independent again under the reign of Ariarathes, a Persian aristocrat, founder of a dynasty whose descendants will end up allying to the Roman Empire.

Roman and Byzantine Empires

After several struggles for regional powers Ariarathes Dynasty eventually dissolved and the Cappadocians chose a new local ruling with the imperial support, although it was not until the 17th year that Cappadocia would become part of the Roman Empire, then ruled by Trajan, who militarized the area and built new strengths.

With the establishment of the new Byzantine Empire, Christianity started to introduce in Cappadocia and the first churches were built, here with the particular feature of being carved into the rocks.

Seljuks, Crusaders and Ottomans

From the eleventh century the so-called “Seljuks“, forefathers of the Western Turks, began to be introduced in Cappadocia, who conquered and gradually expanded the region, with new buildings and spaces such as mosques and caravanserais, inns for caravans of the Silk Road.

But when the Crusades unleashed by these territories, the Seljuks were expelled from the area and had to retreat to the center, where they laid the foundation of what would become the Ottoman Empire, which eventually would occupy the region until 1923. After the defeat in the First World War, Allied occupation and a war of independence, the new Republic of Turkey was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The Turkish Cappadocia, a unique tourist destination

Cappadocia is nowadays a popular and busy tourist area, because of its peculiar appearance, almost magical, that makes it a favorite destination for travelers. Populations and most important sites in the region are UrgupGoremeUchisarAvanosZelve and Ilhara Valley as well as the underground cities of Derinkuyu, Kaymakli and Ozkanak.

The hot air balloon ride over a landscape of valleys and fairy chimneys, is arguably the most popular of Cappadocia tourist services in addition to the visit to the many churches and chapels carved into the rock, with frescoes from the centuries nine and eleven.

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