About Cappadocia

Soaring rock formations. Exciting walking trails. Mysterious underground cities and rock-cut churches. A cave-dwelling lifestyle that dates back to the Middle Ages. Gorgeous panoramas and a fascinating living culture. Cappadocia is one of the most beautiful and historically fascinating parts of Turkey.

Where is Cappadocia?
Once a province of the Roman Empire, Cappadocia is now the sprawling area of central Turkey which lies between Aksaray in the west, Kayseri in the east and Nigde in the south. Modern Cappadocia is an incredible place, criss-crossed with valleys and dotted with dramatic rock formations with numerous opportunities for walking and climbing.

There are many tour options that Sunset Cave Hotel can organize for you to see these highlights. We can also help you hire a car, motorbike, scooter, or bicycle and you can make up your own itinerary as you go. Or you can take your time and explore the valleys on foot.

By far the best way to survey the landscape is to float gently over the valleys in a hot-air balloon at sunrise, picking out the many sites as you go.

The History of Cappadocia
Thousands of years ago a group of ancient volcanoes, Mts Erciyes, Hasan, and Melendiz, spewed out layer upon layer of thick tuff which blanketed the countryside for miles around. Over the centuries the wind and rain wore away at the soft rock, carving out spectacular gorges and leaving behind the dramatic pinnacles of rock - the 'fairy chimneys' - that have created the Cappadocian moonscape.

Cappadocia has always been much more than its dramatic scenery. Humans, too, have left their unique mark on the region, carving cave storerooms, cave stables, cave houses, and even entire underground cities out of the rock. While tourism has come to play a major part of life in Cappadocia, the largest industry of the region is still its traditional role as a farming center, and Cappadocia is still famous for its traditional crafts: wine, onyx stone, and pottery. To this day many of the soaring pinnacles are still inhabited and many of the rock-cut storerooms are still stuffed with grapes, lemons, potatoes, and flat bread waiting for the winter.

In the time of the Roman Empire Cappadocia was inhabited by some of the very first Christians who also carved thousands of cave churches, chapels, and monasteries out of the rock. Many of these churches were decorated with frescoes of medieval saints whose images still gaze down from the walls. These ancient churches both dot the valleys and are grouped together in places like the Goreme Open Air Museum make some of the most remarkable sights for visitors.

The fairy-chimneys
In the days before tourism local people called the strange rock cones that surrounded them kales, or 'castles'. Nowadays these amazing structures are usually called peribacalari, or 'fairy chimneys'. They come in an extraordinary range of shapes and sizes but most are tall and phallic-shaped with a cap of harder stone that protects the softer rock underneath from erosion. Eventually these caps fall off, whereupon the wind and rain start to whittle away the cone until eventually it, too, collapses. These whimsically shaped chimneys dot the region, contributing to Cappadocia’s uniquely striking landscape.