Cappadocia is a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage.
Cappadocia lies in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevsehir Province of Turkey. The relief consists of a high plateau over 1000 m in altitude that is pierced by volcanic peaks. Sedimentary rocks formed in lakes and streams and ignimbrite deposits that erupted from ancient volcanoes approximately 9 to 3 million years ago underlie the Cappadocia region. The rocks of Cappadocia near Goreme eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars and chimney-like forms.
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, Cappadocia was ruled by a sort of feudal aristocracy, dwelling in strong castles and keeping the peasants in a servile condition. It was included in the third Persian satrapy, but continued to be governed by rulers of its own. After bringing the Persian Empire to an end, Alexander the Great tried to rule the area through one of his military commanders. Around 60 BC, Cappadocia became a Roman province.
Cappadocia contains several underground cities, largely used by early Christians as hiding places before Christianity became an accepted religion. People of the villages at the heart of the region also carved out houses, churches and monasteries from the soft rocks of volcanic deposits. The region became a monastic centre in 300–1200 AD. The Goreme Open Air Museum, which is along the path of The North Face® Cappadocia Ultra Trail, is the most visited site of the monastic communities in Cappadocia and is one of the most famous sites in central Turkey. The complex contains more than 30 carved-from-rock churches and chapels, some having superb frescoes inside, dating from the 9th century to the 11th century.