Natural processes such as ancient volcanic eruptions and erosion have all sculpted these odd formations over the ages, with some of them rising as much as 130 feet (40 meters) high. However, thousands of years ago, mankind added remarkable touches to the landscape by carving out houses, churches and underground cities from the soft rock.
Inhabited as early as 1800 BC, Hittites and other residents chiseled out underground tunnel complexes, seeking safety from invading Persians and Greeks. Much later in the 4th century AD, Christians, fleeing out of religious persecution from Rome, sought refuge in Cappadocia’s tunnels and caves. Today, the region’s natural wonders and historic sites all make it a popular destination.
While much of Cappadocia is located in the province of Nevsehir, some of the main towns in the region are Ürgüp, Göreme, Avanos, Ortahisar and Mustafapasa. Many of these towns offer hotels, restaurants, nightlife options and attractions such as museums, rock castles, fairy chimneys, underground tunnels, old Greek villages, monasteries and handicraft markets. Some of the caves in the region are actually hotels and cater to tourists.