The settlement history of Cappadocia, which is a frequent destination for many tourists in Turkey today, dates back to the Old Stone Age. This region, which hosts many civilizations from the Hittites to the Romans, still retains its originality. The lava deposits that make up the Fairy Chimneys are in a soft and moldable form. Thanks to these easy-to-shape stones, old people have made it a residential area, building houses and churches. Although the stones removed in the region are easily processed in the first stage, they become harder when they come into contact with air and are an ideal material for building formation.
The human settlement extends to the Paleolithic period. The lands that the Hittites lived became one of the most important centers of Christianity in later periods. The rocky houses and churches have made the region a huge haven for Christians escaping the pressure of the Roman Empire.
The name of Cappadocia used today means “Land of Beautiful Horses” in the Persian language. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great defeated the Persians. But in Cappadocia, he meets with great resistance. In this period, the Kingdom of Cappadocia was established. Towards the end of the 3rd century BC, the power of the Romans began to be felt in the region. In the mid-1st century BC the Cappadocian Kings were appointed by the orders of Roman generals and dismissed from the throne. When the last king of Cappadocia died in 17 AD, the region became a province of Rome.
Christianity came to Cappadocia in the 3rd century AD and the region became a center of education and thought for them. During the years 303-308, the pressure on the Christians increased. However, Cappadocia was an ideal place to protect from repression and spread Christian teaching. Deep valleys and shelters from volcanic soft rocks provided a safe space for Roman soldiers.
The 4th century is the period of people who are later called “the Dads of Cappadocia”. But the prominence of the region came to the apex as a result of III. Leon’s forbidding of icons. In the face of this situation, some pro-icon people began to take refuge in the region. Iconoclasm movement lasted more than a hundred years (726-843). Although several Cappadocian churches were influenced by Iconoclasm during this period, those who favored the icon continued their worship here. The Cappadocian monasteries were quite developed in this period.
Again during these periods, Arab raids started to Anatolian Christian regions from Armenia to Cappadocia. People who run away from these raids caused the styles of the churches in the region to change. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Cappadocia was governed by the Seljuks. In this and the following Ottoman times, the region has a problem-free period.
The last Christians in the walked out of Cappadocia with the exchange of 1924-26, leaving beautiful architectural examples behind them.