Cappadocia lies in the south central region of the country and is famous partly for its landscape and partly due to the fact that for thousands of years, humans have made use of the natural caves as storage, housing. military fortresses and for escape routes. The early Christians went there to live, at times to escape from groups who were persecuting them. They, like others before them, used the natural caves as dwellings and churches. Indeed, many tales are told to tourists about how Jesus’s mother, Mary, visited the area, so much so I began to flash on the “George Washington slept here” stories you get when you tour the states that made up the original 13 of the USA.
Whether you are interested in history, Biblical history or you’re just a fan of geology and scenery, Cappadocia will amaze and delight you.
Below is one of the churches. The builders carved domes and built columns using the natural stone. Most of the Goreme churches date from the 11th to 13th century. These murals are dedicated to St. Gregory who died around 390. Some of the churches are very small and I was lucky to be able to stand inside a few of them without a big crowd. Normally, they let in at least one big tour bus of people at a time, but I’d arranged a guide with an Italian couple and he somehow got us in between the big groups, if only for very few minutes. Standing almost alone, in silence. in such an old and beautiful place made my skin tingle.
I found the most interesting frescoes to be those created during the period where images of the human body were forbidden. Artists developed special symbols, almost like a code, to represent Biblical figures and stories. Sorry, I wasn’t able to photograph those.
These formations are particularly weird.
Thanks for coming on the tour. Please leave a comment, especially if you can decipher the road signs!
Mickey Hoffman is the author of two mystery novels, School of Lies and Deadly Traffic, published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. For information check the Second Wind website: http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=25. Mickey is also a contributing writer to the online serial novel, Rubicon Ranch: Secrets.