Religious Centers of Rocky Cappadocia

Religious Centers of Rocky Cappadocia

The term “Rocky churches of Cappa­docia” is generally used for the villages and monasteries established on the volcanic masses of Mount Erciyes and Mount Ha­san. They are especially concentrated around Ürgüp, Ortahisar, Göreme, and Soğanlı. The rocks were hollowed for religious and sett­lement purposes. But they are different from the other churches of Anatolia. On the other hand, they show a special character in num­ber and in concentration around Ür­güp and the Peristrema Valley. When the beauty and variety of nature are added to these it is easier to understand the reason for the attractiveness of the region for vis­itors.

The religious centers were founded at some distance from the villages. We can see a continuity of settlement a6 these places has been used since prehistoric times. The oldest churches were near the cemeteries. The columns of the churches in Avcılar and Mavrucan are Ionic in style. In the other places, early Christian architecture is used. There are some open tombs of which we have no knowledge either of their owners or dates.

The volcanic tuff is very suitable for growing cereals, vegetables, and fruits if irrigated. By this way, the monks and peasants could live side by side.


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