Goreme valley and its vicinity contain temples, carved into the rock, which are unique evidence of the Byzantine art in the post Iconoclastic period in a magnificent scenery, completely shaped by erosion. Residences, which are remains of traditional human habitation, based on the 4th Century, primitive life villages and underground towns can be seen here. Goreme National Park and Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia are a landscape of harmony, which integrate human interaction and inhabitation with striking natural lands, used and changed by humans for centuries.
The National Park is in Mount Hasan - Mount Erciyes volcanic region of Central Anatolia. The region consists of plateaus, plains, small mountain plants, high hills, and stream and river beds, filled with alluvium, drainage basins and high plains, which are separated from each other by valleys with steep slopes. Large volcanic cones of Mount Erciyes and Hasan, some of Kizilirmak valley in the north, worn tufa beds, some of which are covered with basalt, dominate the area. The area exhibits an important era from Byzantine Church architecture and religious history of art in interesting landscape structure, created by volcanic tuff. Thanks to the characteristics of the region, those, who live here, managed to stay away from the effects of war and authority of central administration. Goreme National Park exhibits an important era from Byzantine Church architecture and religious history of Christianity in interesting landscape structure, created by volcanic tuff. Unique geomorphological formations of Goreme, visual value of its aesthetic landscape structure and history and ethnological structure can be listed as main headings of rich resources of the National Park. Natural elements, which have formed here being away from main transportation routes and being a rough area, made it a suitable place for protection for those, who went into religious retreat. Monastery living began in the end of the 3rd Century and beginning of 4th Century and spread rapidly. Places, which have monasteries, chapels, dining halls, monk cells, storages and wine production places were carved and decorated with wall paintings.
Cappadocia; It is a region, extending in primarily Nevsehir and Kirsehir, Nigde, Aksaray and Kayseri provinces. It appeared when the soft layers, created by lava and ashes, erupted by Mount Erciyes, Hasan Mountain and Gullu Mountain, being eroded by rain and wind for millions of years 60 million years ago. Cappadocia region is a place, where nature and history integrate. While geographical events created the fairy chimneys, humans carved houses and churches into these fairy chimneys and decorated them with frescoes and carried the traces of civilizations, which are thousands of years old. Written history of Cappadocia, where human inhabitation goes back to Palaeolithic period, begins with the Hittites. Harbouring trade colonies throughout history and establishing a commercial and social bridge between countries, Cappadocia is also one of the important junctions of the Silk Road. The name Cappadocia means “the Country of Beautiful Horses” in Persian. Alexander the Great defeats the Persians in 332 B.C. but encounters great resistance in Cappadocia. Kingdom of Cappadocia is established in this period. Power of the Romans begin to be felt in the region towards the end of the 3rd Century B.C. Kings of Cappadocia are appointed and dethroned by power of Roman generals in the middle of the 1st Century B.C. When the last king of Cappadocia dies, the region becomes a province of Rome.
During this period, also Arabic raids begin to Christian regions of Anatolia from Armenia to Cappadocia. People, who run away from these raids and come to the region cause the church styles in the region to be changed. Cappadocia goes under the Seljuk rule in the 11th and 12th Century. The region has a problem free period during this period and the Ottoman period, which follows it. The last Christians in the region left Cappadocia in the exchange in 1924-26, leaving beautiful architectural examples behind them. The most important works, which shed light to the history of Christianity in Cappadocia, are rock carved churches. There are hundreds of churches in the region and churches and monasteries are encountered in every valley. Elmali Church is a small monastery church. It was built around 1050 A.D. It was made in the shape of four crosses. Restoration of this church was completed in 1991 but deterioration and falling of frescoes were not prevented. There are scenes, which depict the saints, priests and Christian martyrs in this church. In addition, there are fish pictures in this church, which mean fish in Greek. It is thought that the apple in the name of the church comes from the apple depicted in angel Michael or a very large apple tree in the vicinity. Interesting formations, called fairy chimneys, were formed as a result of floodwaters running from the slopes of valleys and blowing winds eroding the structures, consisting of volcanic tufa. Floodwaters cracked and snapped hard rocks. Since there was easily eroded material at the bottom parts, deep hollows were created and slopes of formation retreated. In the meantime, thanks to the hat shaped hard material, which is found in the upper parts, parts, which were saved from erosion and conical shaped bodies were formed. This shows us that floodwaters are more effective in the formation of fairy chimneys than the wind. Factors in floodwaters being this strong are thin vegetation and imperviousness of tufa.