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Cappadocia Houses; The story of Cappadocia begins millions of years ago. Exactly 12 million years ago. As a result of the eruption of hundreds of volcanoes not only in Erciyes in Kayseri, but also in Hasandağ in Aksaray and Göllüdağ in Niğde, a very large basin is filled with volcanic tuffs. Then, with the effect of rain water and wind, erosion begins and interesting formations called “Fairy Chimney” emerge.
In addition to its interesting geological structure, Cappadocia is among the rare natural and cultural centers on earth with its fairy chimneys, settlements carved into fairy chimneys, underground cities, rock churches and other beauties. Cappadocia, one of the regions chosen as a settlement by various civilizations, has lived in history and all human communities living today are completely integrated with nature and history. The lifestyle of the society has continued throughout history despite all the difficulties caused by the wind, climatic conditions and the natural environment.
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First Residents of Cappadocia Houses
The first inhabitants of Cappadocia hunted with tools they made and fed on wild plants. Due to both the harsh and cold weather conditions and many dangers in nature, they sought closed places for themselves, they abandoned their nomadic life by settling in caves or rock shelters, which were the first closed places they found.
The soft rock structure of the tuff allowed people to take shelter. The fact that the shelters they took shelter could be excavated very easily made it easier to expand them according to the needs and to connect them with new corridors and stairs. When they discovered that the rocky places they lived in were very suitable for hiding and defending, they developed their defense mechanisms skillfully.
Features of Historical Cappadocia Houses
The spaces in the underground cities consisting of hundreds of rooms were connected to each other by long galleries and labyrinth-like tunnels. Narrow, low and long galleries were meant to restrict the movements of the enemy. Defensive best practice was bolt stones to separate spaces from one another. The diameter of the bolt stones, which were cut and shaped in place, reached up to 2.5 m in some places.
In this world created under the ground, living spaces were kitchens, cellars, places of worship, wineries and barns. In addition, water wells and ventilation shafts were indispensable for the underground world. These places ensured that the people who took shelter were protected from possible enemy attacks that would last for months and continued their daily lives.
People who started to use rock-carved structures as houses moved their religious temples into the rocks. The vaulted, apse and domed church architecture was carved into the rock and started to be created without using any materials. Scenes, usually depicted by local artists, were mostly taken from the life of Jesus and the Bible. Local residents kept the food they produced in the region in the places they carved in the rocks. Even today, citrus fruits brought from the Mediterranean Region are kept in these natural warehouses carved into the rocks.
Architecture of Cappadocia Houses
Local people, who used to live in rock-carved spaces, are quick to apply fine stonework to architectural structures. Cappadocia houses were built on the slopes, either by carving the rocks or from cut stone. The stones called “kepez” used in architecture also contain different colored tones. The fact that the stone is abundant in the region, provides a serious insulation against heat, and is very easy to process when it comes out of the quarry has made its use widespread.
To its interesting geological structure, Cappadocia is among the rare natural and cultural centers on earth with its fairy chimneys, settlements carved into fairy chimneys, underground cities, rock churches and other beauties. Cappadocia, one of the regions chosen as a settlement by various civilizations, has lived in history and all human communities living today are completely integrated with nature and history.
The local stone type called “chiseled stone” is a stone that can be easily processed in white, beige and light brown tones. This feature has brought a great richness to the architectural works with the decorations in the exterior and interior spaces. Due to the abundance of the material used and its easy processing, stonework, which is unique to the region, has developed and become an architectural tradition. Housing types are diversified as “carved”, “semi-carved-half masonry” and “masonry”. Cappadocia houses are generally; It consists of architectural structures made of cut stone on rock-carved spaces.
A large part of daily life is spent in the courtyard called “life”, surrounded by a high courtyard wall. Cellars, barns, tandoori houses, etc., all open here. The material of both the courtyard and the house doors is wood. The upper part of the arched doors is decorated with ivy or rosette motifs. The spaces between the consoles located between the floors of Cappadocia houses are filled with rosettes, stars, palmettes, fans, windmills and stylized plant motifs, sometimes single, sometimes 2-3 rows.
While the consoles of Cappadocia houses between the floors are decorated with various motifs such as the wheel of fortune, rosette, and palm, the double and triple windows are decorated with more stylized plant motifs. Since the region is treeless, wood decoration is scarce. There are decorations painted on plaster in the niches in the guest rooms; usually under the tasseled curtain motif, vases with flowers filled with handles, ladies filling or carrying water are depicted.
This interesting architectural tradition can be seen in all Cappadocia towns and villages, especially in Ürgüp, Ortahisar, Mustafapaşa, Uçhisar, Göreme, Avanos, Güzelöz within the borders of Kayseri, and Başköy right next to it, and Güzelyurt around Ihlara Valley. These buildings, which were abandoned due to the changing conditions and the demand for modern buildings, turned into ruins and ruins in a short time.
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What is the situation of Cappadocia Houses at the moment?
Cappadocia houses, which did not attract attention for many years, were faced with destruction and disappearance day by day, and were even sacrificed. However, with the revival of tourism, it was preferred again and started to gain importance. The renovated historical buildings have been given new functions such as hotels, pensions, restaurants, discos and cafes and have been put into the service of tourism.