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Cappadocia

Smurf Village - Fairy Chimneys

In ancient geography, Cappadocia was an extensive inland district of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). In the time of Herodotus the Cappadocians occupied the whole region from Mount Taurus to the Euxine (Black Sea).



Cappadocia, in this sense, was bounded in the south by the chain of Mount Taurus, to the east by the Euphrates, north by Pontus, and west vaguely by the great central salt lake. But it is impossible to define its limits with accuracy. Strabo, the only ancient author who gives any circumstantial account of the country, greatly exaggerated its dimensions; it is now believed to have been about 250 miles in length by less than 150 in breadth.

Cappadocia was known as Hatti in the late Bronze Age, and was the homeland of the Hittite power centred at Hattusa. After the fall of the Hittite Empire, with the decline of the Syro-Cappadocians (Mushki) after their defeat by the Lydian king Croesus in the 6th century, Cappadocia was left in the power of a sort of feudal aristocracy, dwelling in strong castles and keeping the peasants in a servile condition, which later made them apt for foreign slavery. It was included in the third Persian satrapy in the division established by Darius, but long continued to be governed by rulers of its own, none apparently supreme over the whole country and all more or less tributary to the Great King.

After bringing the Persian Empire to an end, Alexander the Great met with great resistance in Cappadocia. He tried to rule the area through one of his commanders named Sabictus, but the ruling classes and people resisted and declared Ariarathes, a Persian aristocrat, as king. This sent a message to Alexander that not all Persians would submit to his rule. Ariarthes I (332 - 322 BC) was a successful ruler, and extended the borders of the Cappadocian Kingdom as far as the Black Sea. The kingdom of Cappadocia lived in peace until the death of Alexander, when the kingdom fell, in the general partition of the empire, to Eumenes. His claims were made good in 322 BC by the regent Perdiccas, who crucified Ariarathes; but in the dissensions which brought about Eumenes's death, the son of Ariarathes recovered his inheritance and left it to a line of successors, who mostly bore the name of the founder of the dynasty.

Under Ariarathes IV, Cappadocia came into relations with Rome, first as a foe espousing the cause of Antiochus the Great, then as an ally against Perseus of Macedon. The kings henceforward threw in their lot with the Republic as against the Seleucids, to whom they had been from time to time tributary. Much later it was a region of the Byzantine Empire.

Cappadocia Caves

Cappadocia contains several underground cities like Kaymaklı Underground City, largely used by early Christians as hiding places before they became a legitimate religion. The Cappadocian Fathers of the 4th century were integral to much of early Christian philosophy. It also produced, among other people, another Patriarch of Constantinople, John of Cappadocia, who held office 517–520. For most of the Byzantine era it remained relatively undisturbed by the conflicts in the area, first with the Sassanid Empire and later against Arabs.

Cycling, walking, horseback or hot air balloon tours are becoming very popular in the region.

Ceiling fresco at Cappadocia Cave Church

One Thousand and One Nights Gate into the hill: Looking inside hidden cave church of ancient Cappadocia in a natural volcanic rock hill,
Volcanic Mount Erciyes and fairy chimneys.

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