Visitors to the land of Turkey report it is a “must-see” area—the fabulous, almost fairytale area of Cappadocia To the locals it is pronounced Kapadokia.
It is situated in central Turkey.
Here the silk caravans from the east passed through on their way to the west. When the apostles went on their missionary journeys—and in particular, the great apostle Paul—the vast area of what is known now as Turkey was visited on a number of occasions and the Christian witness became strong in those parts.
Consider the introduction to Peter’s letter to the churches as an example: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1).
Bithynia and Pontus are areas in the north of Turkey along the Black Sea. Asia is the western part of the country— hence the name often used for that part of Turkey has been Asia Minor.
Galatia was in the centre of the country and Lycia and Pamphylia to the south. Cappadocia is in the central eastern part of the country.
According to Peter’s letter, Christians were scattered all over what is today Turkey, and Cappadocia had Christian congregations as well.
Today, for the British, Australians and New Zealanders, the Gallipoli battlefield of World War I is perhaps the foremost attraction. While it is said Australia forged itself into a nation on this battleground, Turks also visit the sites of Gallipoli by the tens of thousands. To them it was the defence of their own country and while their losses were staggering compared to those of Australia, New Zealand, Britain and France, Gallipoli is now revered by the Turkish nation.
After Gallipoli, the ancient site of Ephesus is perhaps one of the most visited sites in the country. At Ephesus some reconstruction has been carried out and begs the tourist’s attention.
However, the most astounding natural formations are found in the east of the country in Cappadocia. Here soft rock called tuff or tufa has been eroded by the passing of time leaving chimneys. These extremely unusual and sometimes mushroom-shaped tops must be seen to be believed. A thin volcanic top is in place but the soft tuff has been eroded. Sometimes it appears as a tall spire-shaped hill has a slab of harder rock like a hat on the top. Early Christians hollowed out rooms, houses and churches in this soft rock.