Cave Dwellings of Cappadocia

Useful Information

Open: Zelve Monastery: Oct-Feb Tue-Sun 8-17, Mar-Sep Tue-Sun 8-19.
Fee: Zelve Monastery: Adults TL 4,000,000, Children (-18) TL 1,500,000, Disabled free.
Guided tours:  
Address: Nevsehir Directorate of Tourism, Atatürk Bulvari 14, Devlet Hastanesi Önü, Nevsehir, Tel: +90-384-213-3659, Fax: +90-384-213-1137.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



In the center of Turkey, in the area of Cappadocia, an ancient eruption of volcanoes left the area covered in a layer of soft rock more than one hundred metre thick. Three volcanoes, Erciyes, Hasan and Melendiz Daðlari erupted around 30 million years ago. About 1000 years ago, the people of this area started to build underground cities into the volcanic debris.

It was not too difficult to build, as the tufa is very soft. And the housings are comfortable, warm in winter, cool in summer, and a good hideout in wartimes. Several cities in his area were built in this manner. They had up to one thousand inhabitants.

The area was christianized in the first century AD by St Paul. During the Byzantine period, some 360 churches and monastries were built underground. So they were hidden from the pursuing Arab invaders. Their walls were decorated with religious paintings.

Cappadoccia means "The Land of Fine Horses". Besides its horses, it was famous for it is red ochre, ceramics and alabaster.