The Cave Churches of Göreme

About two and half million years ago in the center of what is today Turkey, Mount Erciyes erupted. The resulting layers of ash and lava formed a rock soft enough to carve out, a natural resource well exploited by the Christian community of the 4th century. These followers of St Basil of Caesarea (modern day Kayseri) took advantage of this natural resource to dig churches out of the very rocks of Cappadocia, but not just churches. Over time whole extensive communities had carved homes and workshops and refectories and stables from the soft rocks. And when enemies approached and threatened these early Christians, they responded by digging down. And down. Forming whole cities beneath the surface of the earth, 36 in all of varying sizes and depths. Kaymaklı—the subterranean city we visited this time around—is comprised of eight distinct layers with an abundance of rooms connected by nearly 100 tunnels. I love Cappadocia. It is a fantasy realm come true.

The Underground City of Kaymaklı

More of my photos from Cappadocia from 1994: