Cappadocia ( also Capadocia; Turkish Kapadokya, from Greek: Καππαδοκία / Kappadokía, Armenian: Kapadovkia, Persian: Kāpādōkiyeh) is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.
In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine (Black Sea). Cappadocia, in this sense, was bounded in the south by the chain of the Taurus Mountains that separate it from Cilicia, to the east by the upper Euphrates and the Armenian Highland, to the north by Pontus, and to the west by Lycaonia and eastern Galatia.
The name was traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history and is still widely used as an international tourism concept to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage. The term, as used in tourism, roughly corresponds to present-day Nevşehir Province.
The area is a popular tourist destination, as it has many areas with unique geological, historic, and cultural features.
The region is located southwest of the major city Kayseri, which has airline and railroad (railway) service to Ankara and Istanbul.
The most important towns and destinations in Cappadocia are Urgup, Goreme, Ihlara Valley, Selime, Guzelyurt, Uchisar, Avanos, and Zelve. Among the underground cities worth seeing are Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, Gaziemir, and Ozkanak. The best historic mansions and cave houses for tourist stays are in Urgup, Goreme, Guzelyurt, and Uchisar.
Hot-air ballooning is very popular in Cappadocia and is available in Goreme. Trekking is enjoyed in Ihlara Valley, Monestry Valley (Guzelyurt), Urgup, and Goreme.
Sedimentary rocks formed in lakes and streams and ignimbrite deposits that erupted from ancient volcanoes approximately 9 to 3 million years ago, during the late Miocene to Pliocene epochs, underlie the Cappadocia region. The rocks of Cappadocia near Göreme eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars and minaret-like forms. People of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia Region carved out houses, churches, and monasteries from the soft rocks of volcanic deposits. Göreme became a monastic center in 300—1200 AD.
The first period of settlement in Göreme goes back to the Roman period. The Yusuf Koç, Ortahane, Durmus Kadir, and Bezirhane churches in Göreme, and houses and churches carved into rocks in the Uzundere, Bağıldere, and Zemi Valleys all illustrate history and can be seen today. The Göreme Open Air Museum is the most visited site of the monastic communities in Cappadocia (see Churches of Göreme, Turkey) 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 ninth century to the eleventh century.