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The Land of Beautiful Horses Cappadocia

The Land of Beautiful Horses Cappadocia

The first presence of man in Cappadocia occured in the Lower Paleolithic period,approximately 500.000 years ago. Tools made of silex and obsidian dating from this period have bee discovered in Suvermez near Derinkuyu and Soğanlı Valley within the province of Kayseri.Discoveries in archaeo- logical excavatios testify to human presence at Çatalhöyük in 10,000-9,000 BC and at aşıklıkhöyük,near the Ihlara Valley,in 10,000 BC.In the civelek cave , remais from the Calcolitic Period have been idetified. Mother goddess sculptures,jewelry and painted pottery discovered at the mounds provide clear and important information regarding the regional culture’s past.

These discoveries are exhibited at Nevşehir Museum. Kitchen utesils, clay vessels and other discoveries made in 1991 during the excavation of Zankhöyük, located 20km north of Avanos,have been dated to the bronze Age (3.000-1200BC) . Proto-Hittite activity i the regio continued until the 1200s BC. Is genelly accepted that the years of Anatolian occupation coincide with the ed of the Hittite era.Because of its geographic situation,throughout history this area was unable to defend itself against exteral invasion , and consequetly it was impossible to establish large settlemets. During the beginning of the sixth century BC Cappadocia was invaded by the medes.After 547 BC the persians , having brought the region uder their dominio,costituted a major power . Cappadocia became one of the thirty-one satraps,or provinces with a appo inted governor,that the persians established in Anatolia. The persians collected an annual tax consisting of 1,500 horses, 2,000 cattle and 20,000 sheep from their Cappadocia satrap.It was during this era that Cappadocia was named Katpatoukia or Katpatuka. Although ‘country of beautiful horses’in the persian language is huv-aspa literally,katpatuka was the nameassociated with the places where quality horses were found.

The Macedoians who arrived in 333 BC with Alexander the great became the new power in Anatolia. While Alexander the Great was movig on to Cilicia,Ariarathes I became the king of Cappadocia. During the short period thereafter, the boundaries of the Kingdom of Cappadocia extended from the Euphrates River to the shores of the Black Sea. After the early demise of Alexader the Great, who died without a heir apparent , the struggles that began among his geerals cotinued unceasingly for three hundred years. After the death of Ariarathes I,the throne passed to Ariarathes II.and the boundaries of the Kingdom of Cappadocia cotinued to expand . During the reign of Ariarathes V artists and men of learning were highly esteemed; but after this sovereing’s death, the regio changed hands several times betwee the Romans and the pontic kings.
In 47 BC ,julius Caesar settled his army into the area around Mazaka.After the victory over the pontic king,the name of Mazaka was changed to Caesarea, today’s Kayseri. The Hellenistic Era ended i 30 BC,and Cappadocia became theseventeenth province of Rome. After the year 310 ,strife began to break out throughout the Roman Empire.In 312 the Emperor Constantine divided the empire into East and West and accepted Christianity as his religion, alt hough to what extent Christian is a matter for discussion . Constantine was baptized in 337, o his deathbed . Making peace with the the church i 313 , Constsatine recognized freedom of coscience and liberty for all other religios.This incidet marked a brand new beginning from the aspect of relations be tween the church and society.The church would become integrated with all the states who embraced Christianity, ensuring for itself both material ad legal advantages.In 324 Constantine defeated his rival i the East,Licinius, thereby becoming the sole administrator of the Empire.O 11 May 330 he established the city of Constantinopolis, named for himself. It was during this period that the importat Cappadocia saints,such as Basileios the Great of Caesarea(kayseri), Gregory of Nazianzos(Nenezi) and gregory of Nyssa (Nevşehir) , began to appear, oe by one . During the reign of the Emperor Valens , in tha years 371-372 for reasons of religion ,administration and finance, Cappadocia was divided into First Cappadocia ad second Cappadocia . The First Cappadocia capital of Caesarea contained six diocese, or cities, while the Second Cappadocia capital Tyana (kemerhisar) also consisted of five diocese, was named Third Cappadocia. Between the sixth and ninth centuries the region, which was begining to become prominent,was connected to the center of the bishopric. In 395,Theodosius the Great, who had succeeded Valetinianus as emperor, died. The Western Roman Empire would collapse after 493 under the explosion of barbarian invasions. In contrast to this , Eastern Rome whose capital was Constantinapolis , would manage to remain on its feet.
Durig the reing of Emperor Justinianus the Gret, between 527 and 567, the golden age of Byzantium began . In the sixth and seventh centuries the first mural painting-these painting technique; however, as the term is widespread we will continue to use it as well – were being painted on the walls of the Church of St.John the baptist in Çavuşin and in the Balkan Deresi and Güllüdere churches in Zelve in Cappadocia. During the seventh and eighth centuries Byzantium began to experience great difficulties as a result of the invasios of Avars,Slavs, Sassanians and Arabs.In addition . internal unrest and the movement of Iconoclasm , whic condemned the use of religious imagery and icons, had intensified. The frescoes of the Kızılçukur , Meskendir and Güllüdere churches date to this period Between 605 and 611 the Sassanians occupied Kayseri, syria and Egypt. In 647 kayseri was overcome by arab armies and in 717-718 the Caliph omar succeeded in advancing into the interior of Anatolia.

Between the years 726 and 780,the period of Iconoclasm began with the reign of Emperor Leo III.The church frescoes, mosaics and icons that explaied religion to the people by depicting scenes from the Holy Bible were demolished. Although Iconoclasm was purported to prevet the human figure from interfering betwee god and ma, its true purpose was to destroy the power of the church and the monasteries.Between 746 and 843 the monks who inhabited monasteries were forced to abando their sanctuaries. Byzantium experienced its second golden age between the ninth and twelfth centuries.ıt was during this period that domed churches in the form of a greek cross began to proliferate in Cappadocia, as in Constantinopolis and Anatolia in general.ıt was during this period, which extended from 867 util 1056,that the era of the Macedonian dynasty began in Byzanntium. After his victory in Cilicia, the Emperor Nicophoras Phocas visited Cappadocia , and following his visit the churches began to be decorated with new frescoes,one more beatiful than the other. The churches of Belisırma Direkli,Gülşehir – Aziz lohannes (St.John), ortahisar-tavşalı and Göreme – yeni Tokalı belong to this period. The years between 976 and 1025 mark the rise of Byzatium, beginning With the reign of Emperor Basileios II. It was during the years between 1000 and 1075 that the typical Byzatine frescoes that are specific to the region began to appear i Cappadocia .

The Seljuk Turks coming from the Central asia etered into the Eastern Anatolian lands in the eleventh cetury. Havig defeated the Byzantine army whic was commanded by romenos Diogenes i 1071 in the Plain of Malazgirt , they started to move on towards the central Anatolia. The city of Konya (Iconium) of Byzantine becamathe capital of Anatolia Seljuk Empire . As in 1082, Kayseri and the other cities of Cappadocia were seized by the Seljuks, Christian Anatolia became to adopt the Islamic religion gradually. Seljukian sultans pursued their policy and sovereignty with great tolerance without any discirimination by religion , language or race. In 1308,Ilkhanids, a branch of the Mogol Empire from the Central Asia,invaded the Seljukian towns. Following the invasion,the Seljuk Empire became ruined and small beyliks emerged in Anatolia. In 1204 the armies of the Fourth Crusade occupied Constantinopolis , and a period of pillage and plunder began. While these events were taking place during the thirteenth cetury, the art of Cappadocia also began a slow decline that would be followed by gradual disappearance . Following the dispersion of the seljuks, the Ottomans started to seize the Western Anatolian lands which were uder the dominion of Byzantine Empire . After Bursa and Edirne, the conquest of Constantinapolis in 1453 resulted i the demolish of a 1000-year-empire of Byzantine . One of the most important settlements of Cappadocia , old Nyssa , or Muşkara village as known in Ottomans, was the birthplace of famous vizier Damat İbrahim Paşa. During his service , Muşkara became Nevşehir , which means “ new town” in Turkish . Along with Nevşehir, the Cappadocian region started to be embellished by Ottoman structures.

Like in the Seljukian period, during the Ottoman rule as well there was no interference with the faith of the Christians, but the concept of art that had developed in the carved churches was gone , never to return. The signature of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1924 was followed by massive emigration , and unfortunately in the wake of the population exchange practically no Christians were left in the region.