Göreme National Park and the Rock Site of Cappadocia

Göreme National Park and the Rock Site of Cappadocia

Date of Inscription to the World Heritage List: 6.12.1985

List Reference: 357 Criteria:Natural/ Cultural


Cappadocia, which was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985 on natural and cultural criteria, Is situated at a distance of 14 km from Nevsehir, and it covers a 40 square km area between the county seats of Avanos and Urgup.

Goreme National Park and Cappadocia is a unique design of nature with slopes full of fairy-chimneys, rich water resources at the base of the valley, abundant flora, and numerous rock cut, frescoed churches.

Cappadocia, which was sculpted out of the tuff of the Erclyes and Hasan Mountains through millions of years by sand and water erosion, became the seat of several civilisations, and a silent witness to the cultural history of Anatolia. Cappadocia also covers underground cities. These enchanting and only partially revealed subterranean cities of Cappadocia are believed to have deeper levels awaiting exploration. The most extraordinary underground cities are in the regions of Kaymakli, Derinkuyu, Mazl Ozkonak and Tatlarin. The underground cities, for long periods used as sanctuaries, were recently renovated and made available to visitors.

Visitors to Cappadocia encounter the most select examples of Seljuk and Ottoman art and architecture. The caravanserais of Egri Minare, Alayhan and Sultanhani, the caravanserai of Sarlhan, Tasklnpasa Mosque of Urgup, Sungur Bey and the Alaaddln Mosques of Nigde are among the many buildings worth visiting.To explore this mysterious territory and to witness its harmony of humanity and nature you should also visit Urgup, Uchisar, Avanos, Goreme, Cavusin, Ortahisar, Ihlara Gorge, Sinnassos (Mustafapasa), Soganli Gorge, Zelve Gorge and Guverclnlik Gorge.

Capadoccla, which reflects the harmonization of nature and mankind, is waiting for those who would like to discover this mysterious territory and witness the unique design of nature.

UNESCO »Culture» World Heritage Center »The List» World Heritage List

In a spectacular landscape completely marked by erosion, there are rock-cut sanctuaries in and around the Goreme Valley, which are unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post-iconoclastic period. Homes, cave dwelling villages, and underground cities can also be seen there – the remains of a traditional human habitat from the 4th century.

Excellent universal value
Brief synthesis

Göreme National Park and the rocky areas of Cappadocia are located on the Central Anatolian plateau in a volcanic landscape formed by erosion, which forms a series of ridges, valleys and pinnacles known as “fairy chimneys” or hoodoos. They cover the region between the cities of Nevşehir, Ürgüp and Avanos, the locations Karain, Karlık, Yeşilöz, Soğanlı and the underground cities of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu. The area is bordered in the south and east by extinct volcanoes with Erciyes Dağ (3916 m) at one end and Hasan Dağ (3253 m) at the other end. The density of its rock-cut cells, churches, cave dwelling villages, and underground cities within the rock formations makes it one of the most eye-catching and largest cave-dwelling complexes in the world. Although interesting from a geological and ethnological point of view, the incomparable beauty of the furnishings of the Christian sanctuaries makes Cappadocia one of the leading examples of the post-iconoclastic Byzantine artistic period.

It is believed that the first signs of monastic activity in Cappadocia date back to the 4th century. At that time, small anchor communities, acting on the teachings of Basil the Great, Bishop of Kayseri, began to inhabit cells carved into the rock. In later periods they banded together to form cave exploration villages or underground cities like Kaymakli or Derinkuyu, which served as refuge to withstand Arab invasions.

Cappadocian monasticism was well established as early as the iconoclastic period (725-842), as evidenced by the decoration of many sanctuaries, in which a strict minimum of symbols (mostly chiseled or tempera-painted crosses) was observed. After 842, however, many Rupestral churches were dug in Cappadocia and richly decorated with brightly colored figurative paintings. Those in the Göreme Valley include Tokalı Kilise and El Nazar Kilise (10th century), St. Barbara Kilise and Saklı Kilise (11th century), and Elmalı Kilise and Karanlık Kilise (late 12th – early 13th centuries).

Criterion (i): Due to their quality and density, the rupestral sanctuaries of Cappadocia represent a unique artistic achievement that provides irreplaceable evidence of the post-iconoclastic Byzantine art period.

Criterion (iii): The Rupestral dwellings, villages, monasteries and churches preserve the petrified image of a province of the Byzantine Empire between the 4th century and the arrival of the Seljuk Turks (1071). They are thus the essential remnants of a vanished civilization.

Criterion (v): Cappadocia is a prime example of traditional human settlement that has become vulnerable to the combined effects of natural erosion and, more recently, tourism.

Criterion (vii): In a spectacular landscape that dramatically demonstrates the forces of erosion, the Goreme Valley and its surroundings offer a world-renowned and accessible representation of hoodoo landforms and other erosion features that are of great beauty and with the cultural elements of the landscape.


Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, having been extensively used and modified by man for centuries, is a landscape of harmony combining human interaction and settlement with dramatic natural landforms. There has been some earthquake damage to some of the cones and the pillars, but this is seen as a naturally occurring phenomenon. Overuse by tourists and some vandalism have been reported and some incompatible structures have been introduced.

The erosional processes that formed the distinctive conical rock structures will continue to create new fairy chimneys and rock pillars, however due to the rate of this process, the natural values of the property may still be threatened by unsustainable use. The cultural features, including rock-hewn churches and related cultural structures, mainly at risk of being undermined by erosion and other negative natural processes coupled with mass tourism and development pressures, can never be replaced. threats Some of the churches mentioned by early scholars such as C. Texier, H.G. Rott and Guillaume de Jerphanion are no longer extant.


The property meets the conditions of authenticity as its values and their attributes, including its historical setting, form, design, material and workmanship adequately reflect the cultural and natural values recognized in the inscription criteria.

Given the technical difficulties of building in this region, where it is a matter of hewing out structures within the natural rock, creating architecture by the removal of material rather than by putting it together to form the elements of a building, the underlying morphological structure and the difficulties inherent in the handling of the material inhibited the creative impulses of the builders. This conditioning of human effort by natural conditions persisted almost unchanged through successive periods and civilizations, influencing the cultural attitudes and technical skills of each succeeding generation.

Protection and management requirements

The World Heritage property Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia is subject to legal protection in accordance with both the Protection of Cultural and Natural Resources Act No. 2863 and the National Parks Act No. 2873. The entire territory between the cities of Nevşehir, Ürgüp and Avanos is designated as a National Park under the Act No. 2873. In addition, natural, archaeological, urban, and mixed archaeological and natural conservation areas, two underground towns, five troglodyte villages, and more than 200 individual rock-hewn churches, some of which contain numerous frescoes, have been entered into the register of immovable monuments and sites according to the Act No. 2863.

The legal protection, administration and monitoring of Göreme National Park and the rocky areas of Cappadocia fall within the scope of the national and regional government administrations. The Nevşehir and Kayseri Regional Nature Conservation Councils are responsible for maintaining the register of monuments and sites, including performing all tasks related to the legal protection of monuments and listed buildings, as well as obtaining permission to carry out restoration works. They also evaluate regional and nature reserve plans drawn up by the relevant national and / or local (i.e., municipal) authorities.

Studies to revise and update the existing land use and protection plan (long-term development plan of Göreme National Park) from 1981 were completed in 2003. The main proposed planning decisions were that nature reserves should be protected as they were declared in 1976. Smaller adjustments in the peripheral areas of settlements and spatial developments of cities in nature reserves such as Göreme, Ortahisar, Çavuşin, Ürgüp and Mustafapaşa are strictly controlled. In other words, the plan suggests limiting the physical growth of these cities to recently established zones. When developing a hotel, the limits set for room capacity are taken into account. In addition, the plan proposed recommending that local authorities review land use decisions for areas reserved for tourist development in city maps.

The creation of protected area plans for the urban and / or mixed urban archaeological protected areas in the historical sections of Göreme is in place and contains criteria for the zoning as well as the rules and guidelines for the maintenance and restoration of listed buildings and other buildings that are not registered but within the historical zones. Similar planning studies are available for the cities of Ortahisar and Uçhisar. After completion, a nature reserve plan for the urban nature reserve in Ürgüp will be available. All relevant plans are continuously kept up to date.

Appropriate facilities have been completed for the underground cities of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu to improve the understanding of the world heritage that Göreme and Paşabağı need.

Monuments at risk of erosion, including El Nazar, Elmalı and Meryemana (Virgin Mary) Churches, have been listed as monuments requiring priority action. Specific measures are required at the site level to protect, restore and maintain them.

While protection plans and protection measures are available for individual sites, the main parties responsible for site management recognize that an integrated regional plan for the protected and development area for culture and tourism in Cappadocia is necessary in order to protect the world heritage values ​​of the property. Adequate financial, political and technical support is also required to ensure the property is managed.

Long description
The rupestral sanctuaries of Cappadocia represent a unique artistic achievement in a region with natural features of superlatives and are an irreplaceable testimony to the post-iconoclast Byzantium. The apartments, village monasteries and churches preserve the petrified images of a province of the Byzantine Empire between the 4th century and the Turkish invasion.

The eroded plateau of the Goreme Valley is a spectacular example of the effects of the different erosion of volcanic tuff sediments by wind and water. Typical features are columns, columns, towers, obelisks and needles that reach a height of 40 m. The largest erosion residue, Akdağ (1,325 m), is the dominant feature in the valley. The nearby Erciyas Volcano is still active with the occasional small eruption. His outstanding example represents the evolutionary history of the earth. Within these rock formations, people have excavated a network of caves that were used as sanctuaries, homes, camps and places of worship from the 4th century. The surrounding landscape is dominated by agriculture with a number of small scattered rural villages.

The historical backdrop, the rock-hewn churches and the unusually eroded land forms together form a mixed cultural / natural landscape with an unusual appearance. The architectural styles are based on the local stone and the valley has barely changed over the centuries.

Although the area has been used and modified extensively by man for centuries, the resulting landscape is a landscape of harmony and consideration of the intrinsic values ​​of the natural landforms. Some of the cones and pillars were damaged by earthquakes, but this is considered a naturally occurring phenomenon. In the ruinous landscape of the Cappadocia Plateau, where natural erosion has brought the tuff into shapes eerily reminiscent of towers, spiers, domes, and pyramids, man has worked the elements by digging cells, churches, and true undergrounds Cities improved together form one of the largest cave dwelling complexes in the world. Although this phenomenal Rupestral site is interesting from a geological and ethnological point of view, it is mainly distinguished by the incomparable beauty of the furnishings of the Christian sanctuaries, the characteristics of which make Cappadocia one of the leading examples of Byzantine art after the Iconoclast.

It is believed that the first signs of monastic activity in Cappadocia date back to the 4th century. At this time, on the orders of Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea (Kayseri), small anchorite communities began to inhabit cells dug into the rock. Later, to withstand Arab forays, they formed cave villages or underground cities like Kaymaklı or Derinkuyu, which served as places of refuge.

Cappadocian monasticism was already well established in the time of the iconoclasts (725-842), as shown by the many sanctuaries, the decoration of which was limited to a minimum of symbols (mostly chiseled or tempera-painted crosses). However, after 842, many Rupestral churches were dug in Cappadocia. These churches were richly decorated with brightly colored figurative paintings. Among them were those in Göreme Valley: Tokalı Kilise, El Nazar Kilise (10th century), Barbara Kilise, Saklı Kilise (11th century), Elmalı Kilise and Karanlık Kilise (late 12th-early 13th centuries) etc.

  1. I luoghi che abbiamo visto nel nostro viaggio precedente dovrebbero davvero essere visitati, hai rinfrescato i nostri ricordi.

  2. Места, которые мы видели в предыдущей поездке, действительно стоит посетить, вы освежили наши воспоминания.

  3. Les endroits que nous avons vus lors de notre précédent voyage devraient vraiment être visités, vous avez rafraîchi nos souvenirs.

  4. Cosa si dovrebbe fare per rendere la tua vacanza in Turchia Sono venuto sul tuo sito e ricevo molte informazioni quando lo chiedo.


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