Cave Rooms and Houses
Of course, the travellers need accommodation, and this is provided by the unique rooms and dwellings in the Goreme area. Monasteries, churches and underground cities, all man-made, have been dug out of the earth for centuries and this tract contains in excess of 30 churches and chapels carved from rock. Some have breathtaking frescoes dating from 9th to the 11th century.
The urbanised, underground cultural landscape was begun in the 4th Century, with volcanic eruptions of thick ash solidifying into the soft rock, or tuff. With the effect of water and wind carving through the tuff, this panorama of chimneys, cones, mushrooms and pillars were formed and later put to good use by man. A honeycomb of man-made dwellings, religious building and all manner of other forms of architecture were formed by digging into the soft rocks, and some subterranean complexes are made up of eight stories below ground. Some of these residences are still inhabited by families, but many have become unique hotels offering a legendary experience.
Of course, the major threat threatening this World Heritage site comes from the same nature that initially created it. Erosion is slowly returning these hand-made structures back to a more natural state, helped by the damage caused by the busy tourist trade.
Always a popular tourist destination, the expanse is made up of Ihlara Valley, Guzelyurt, Zelve, Avanos, Uchisar, Urgup and Goreme. Derinkuyu, Gazimire, Ozkanak and Kaymakli are underground cities and well-worth a visit.