Kapadokya and the Underground City

Travels, Weekend #4

The weekend of July 7, we went to an even more famous tourist destination in Turkey, Kapadokya. I looked for a decent home page that explained this place, but found none. The way I understand it is this. There are a couple very old volcanoes around the area known as kapadokya. They erupted long ago and spit ash all over the area. Somehow this ash has a harder top of rock covering it. Over the years the ash eroded and washed away. What are left are very interesting formations of "fairy chimneys" and caves.

The Underground City

Many people lived in these caves long ago. In fact, there is a whole city underground that was the supposed hiding place of many Christian peoples. I believe that these were Christians from the end of the Roman Empire who were sort of hiding from the new rulers in the Islamic Ottoman Empire. We toured a few churches that were literally carved out of rock whether above or below ground. Many of them have been vandalized by tourists or locals, but they are still a site to see.

Protecting the Sites

It is unfortunate that many of the historical sites in Turkey have been damaged or destroyed for one reason or another. Turkish history is so old that there are thousands of potential archeological/historical sites of interest. Nearly every time a hole is dug for a new building, new evidence of past civilizations is unturned. One can understand how commonplace these are to the average Turk, so many have gone unpreserved. I think the government has realized the tourism potential for many of the sites, so the government is dedicated to preserving the areas. However, in preserving them for tourism, the government is perhaps dooming them even quicker. At any rate, there are many problems concerning the preservation of these international historic treasures.

-- Program | Ankara | Travels | Kapadokya | Bodrum | Efes | Conclusion--
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