Cappadocia is one of the most fascinating geological and historical areas in the world. Its fertile land and its peculiar rock formations have provided ample food and shelter for its inhabitants for thousands of years. Here people found land perfect for growing fruits and vegetables, cave dwellings to protect them from the elements, and a bewildering landscape that opened their souls to religious enlightenment.
Millions of years ago a series of volcanic eruptions spewed ash throughout the region, later turning into a soft rock called tufa. Thousands of years of exposure to wind and rain produced the strange, cone-shaped rock formations now called fairy chimneys. As people began inhabiting the region, they found the soft rock easy to carve, shaping dwellings for themselves inside the fairy chimneys.
They found that these homes provided perfect insulation; the caves were cool during the hot summers and preserved warmth during the cold, snowy winters. Placing the entrances to their cave homes high above ground and out of sight, they also provided perfect camouflage to protect them from their enemies.
In the heart of it all is the village of Çavuşin, the prime location from which to explore all the mysteries of Cappadocia. Çavuşin is a place where living history blends with the modern world. You will notice that every modern convenience is provided to visitors, yet you still have a sense of having stepped into another place and time. The inhabitants of Çavuşin still live in harmony with their surroundings, much as their ancestors have for centuries. Here you will find Turkish hospitality in abundance. People are curious about their visitors and are always ready to sit and chat over a cup of tea, often extending invitations to their cave homes for a first-hand look. This blending of hospitality, history, and spectacular scenery allows a unique perspective on the world.
Whether you are an artist, historian, or outdoor enthusiast, Çavuşin holds something special for everyone.
Çavuşin is a village about 4 kilometres from Göreme. The old village is largely deserted because the area has been plagued by rock falls. For this reason it is best to take a guide if you want to visit Çavuşin and to watch your step. At Çavuşin you can visit the Church of John the Baptist, dating probably from the 5th century with paintings from the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries.
Quite nearby, another church contains frescos commemorating the passage of Nicephoras Phocas (a Byzantine emperor) through Cappadocia from 964 to 965 during his military campaign against Cilicia. Nicephoras may have visited the Church of John the Baptist, which was an important centre for pilgrimage at that time.