Located in the Anatolian part of Turkey, the Cappadocia region is famous for its showcase of the ancient civilizations from thousands of years ago that are seen in carved houses and churches within the earth pillars. These cave dwellings are constructed on the foot of the mountains by cutting through rocks and stones. These cave houses are fundamentally old houses that were carved by people who lived here ages ago and which served as living and work spaces as well as religious buildings such as monasteries and churches. It is said that about 30 million years ago there were three volcanic eruptions from the Erciyes, Hasan, and Melendiz Daðlari and the volcanic tufa that was accumulated led people from ancient times to build dwellings into them. These were very soft materials and thus building into them was easy. Moreover, they made for comfortable housing which was warm in winter, and cool in summer, and also served as a good hideout in wartimes. Today you can find several of these dwellings with murals from the Hittite Empire and the Neo-Hittite period. You can also witness some high standards of building techniques with several military tunnels as well as artistic features such as religious paintings on the walls.
The famous Pigeon Valley in Cappadocia is best known for its hiking trail that can start in either Uchisar Town or Goreme Town. The trail takes you through thick forests of trees, and several caves, and as you descend into the valley also gives you great views of the town and the Uchisar Castle. You can also spot a number of brilliant paintings on the walls of the caves that you pass that were created by the people who lived here during the Byzantine period. As is evident from its name, the Pigeon valley used to have a large number of pigeon holes built into the walls for the domestication of pigeons. They were not only used by the dwellers here for their meat and manure, but also for message delivery, and sacrifices. The trail is extremely picturesque with its ever changing landscape and cliffs and sudden stretches of dense greenery alongside others with bare treeless sections. Throughout the trail, you will be greeted with scattered cave dwellings as well as chimneys and earth pillars. At one end of the valley, you will find some cafes where you can relax and enjoy a refreshing bite before heading on.
The Göreme open air Museum is situated in the ancient, historical district called Göreme, in Nevsehir province of the Cappadocia region of central Turkey. These are rock-cut monasteries with beautiful frescoed walls and ceilings built by the Cappadocians in the early 10th century. The entire location of Cappadocia is a geographical wonder owing to the volcanic eruption of Mount Erciyes, several million years ago in the history of earth. Small peaks were formed from the volcanic lava which were later weathered to form chimney like structures abounding the province. These later came to be known as the "fairy chimneys" in Göreme. Although, historical evidence shows that the first human settlement in Göreme began in 1800 BC, the modern day rock-cut churches were being built since the tenth century by the local communities. These people saw the possibility of carving monasteries, houses and sheltered spaces in the soft rock peaks. Thus they sculpted several storeyed churches and monasteries, which is referred to as the Göreme Open Air Museum, and has been a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985. There are 11 communal halls attached to each church and the church benches are carved out of rocks too. These beautifully decorated, frescoed churches, houses and pigeon homes, carved out of the soft lava rock, attract many tourists to the heart of Turkey. Some of the famous churches here are - Karanlik Kilise, Tokali Kilise where the relics of ancient Byzantine art can be viewed. Although the weather, time and cave occupants had impacted the churches, yet they have stood the test of time. The frescoes are remnants of the art of the ninth century cave dwellers who sought refuge here to lead lives of austerity.