Cappadocia’s Fairy Chimneys

The Fairy Chimneys in the central Anatolia region of Turkey are truly a geological phenomenon. You see, as a result of volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, hardened ash turned into porous rock. Then, after years of erosion, the softer rock wore away leaving pillars, some of which stand as high as 130 feet and topped with mushroom-like caps.

These chimneys are in an area of Turkey known as Cappadocia. Because of its importance as a major hub along the Silk Road trading route, Cappadocia was invaded by many different empire builders throughout the centuries, including the Hittites, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans; even Alexander the Great.

The locals found that the soft rock could easily be excavated and built homes and even churches in the chimneys. The excavations expanded into building underground cities to protect themselves from invasions. These underground complexes, many of which sheltered thousands of Christians during the Roman era, can be visited by tourists visiting Cappadocia. The area is now designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.






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