Cappadocia History

The rich soil of Anatolia has a distinguished standing in the archeological world. From the first man to our day, Asia Minor has sheltered such a variety and wealth of civilizations as can be seen nowhere else. Although only a limited number of objects dating back to antiquity have been found in the area, its geographical position gives us every reason to believe that it has been inhabited since very early times.

The Anatolian neolithic habita­tion center Çatalhöyük is only a bird's fly away, 200 km. from the region. A wall fresco in Çatalhöyük, the first city settlement and an extraordinarily highly developed civilization center founded in the 7th Millenium B.C., shows the drawing of the twin capped Hasanda?? volca'no in eruption.

It is interesting that the western volcano of Cappadocia appears in this fresco, which is accepted to be the first pastoral painting. Just beside the Erciyas mountain, which is the eastern volcano of the region, lies Kültepe (early 2nd Millenium B. C), a site of the Hittites, the first empire of Anatolia. The K?z?l?rmak River, the vital artery of this empire, crosses Cappadocia from one end to the other.

The excavations of Karahöyük in Hac?bekta? town and Acemhöyük on the plain near Aksaray, from the Early Bronze age are still going on.

Anatolia is a natural bridge binding Asia to Europe. This part of the world for ages has been the target of many an invasion, coming from the east or the west.

Cappadocia has functioned at all these times of turmoil as a shelter to Anatolian people seeking refuge. Remnants of many a tribe found lodging for long periods in these hidden shelters, even underground cities, dug into those mysterious formations which aroused fear in hostile forces that set eyes upon them.

The earliest literature which mentions the region and Eastern Anatolia is Xenefon's Anabasis, dating back to 401 B.C. Those were the times when this area, in contrast to seaside settlements, could stay immune to outside forces.

Alexander the Great took the region under his rule, and following him, the states established by his generals kept the area under control. The region was governed by local Cappadocian princes, supported by these states, until the Roman invasion in 17 A. D. These princes had gained wide fame with their thoroughbred horses.
 

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