Cappadocia’s history dates back thousands of years. Geographically it covered then the whole region from Mount Tarsus in the south, close to the Mediterranean, to the Black Sea in the north, and from Tuz Gölü or the great Salt Lake in the west, to the Euphrates River in the east. Over time it evolved into numerous independent principalities. Seventeen of these principalities united in 2300 B.C. to fight against the Assyrian King Naram Sin, constituting the first of many alliances in the history of Anatolia.
In the sixth century B.C., Cappadocia fell into Persian hands and it would remain so until the conquest by Alexander the Great two centuries later. The Persians divided Anatolia, which much of Cappadocia was known at that time, into provinces, assigning one governor (Satrap) to each. Cappadocia was referred to much of central Anatolia or Asia Minor then.
Mount Erciyes is the highest mountain in central Anatolia, with its summit at 3,916 meters. It is 25 kilometers south of the cities of Kayseri, Göreme, and it is a massive volcano. Some Roman coins suggest that it may have erupted as recently as 253 B.C. The volcanic eruption covered the area in hundreds of feet of ash. That ash hardened into a soft stone, which then eroded into bizarre shapes. The material is soft and easy to dig or carve, and so the local people have excavated and sculpted homes and storage facilities through the millennia. Elaborate churches were created when this was a monastic center. When invaders threatened, entire cities were carved out underground.
In 312 B.C., Macedonian Conqueror Alexander the Great, a King of the ancient Greek, undertook the conquest of Asia Minor, after the famous episode of the Gordian knot, snatching Cappadocia from the Persian hands. He left his lieutenant Cabictas to control the region, which was under Macedonian rule until the death of Alexander in 356 B.C., a year later, Cappadocia regained its independence and sovereignty.
In 190 B.C., when the Romans crushed the Macedonian army at the historic battle of Magnesia, after the Treaty of Apamea (188 B.C.), the entire Cappadocia or Asia Minor territory was surrendered to Rome. Built in the seventh century B.C., the ancient city of Byzantium proved to be a valuable city for both the Greeks and Romans. Because it lay on the European side of the Strait of Bosporus, the Emperor Constantine understood its strategic importance and upon reuniting the Empire in 324 A.D. built his new capital there Constantinople. The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire and Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces, such as the Royal House of Cappadocia with its Imperial/Royal Order of Constantine the Great and Saint Helen.
The Byzantine Empire survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century .
Cappadocia began a further transformation, this time influenced by the monasteries of Palestine and Egypt, whose models were followed in the introduction of the Christian religion, under the patronage of the Byzantine Empire. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire.
In the sixth and seventh centuries, the first painted churches appeared. These churches, like most houses in the region, were not built as buildings, but “dug” into the rock. These artificial caves were later decorated and conditioned. There are more than six hundred churches of these characteristics in the region. The iconoclastic period of Byzantium (years 725 A.D. to 843 A.D.) had its repercussion in the churches of Cappadocia, and numerous wall paintings suffered damages, because the representation of all the sacred figures was forbidden.
The Seljuks, considered direct ancestors of the Western Turks, began to arrive in Cappadocia from the eleventh century, after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 where they defeated the Byzantine army, and began the gradual conquest of the territory. In the centuries that followed, the entire region was the scene of conflicts between the Seljuks, Byzantines and the Crusaders. The Seljuks laid the roots of the Ottoman Empire, which came to exist from the fifteenth century.
The region remained within the Ottoman Empire through the end of its existence, becoming part of today's Turkish Republic. Cappadocia is a region of fantastic scenery, located in central Turkey and is visited by tourists from around the world.