Cappadocia, a historical and touristic region in central Anatolia, was formed 60 million years ago by erosion of soft layers of lava and ash from mountains, composed of wind and rain over millions of years.
Cappadocia is an ancient district in east-central Anatolia, situated on the rugged plateau north of the Taurus Mountains, in the center of present-day Turkey. The boundaries of the region have varied throughout history. Cappadocia's landscape includes dramatic expanses of soft volcanic rock, shaped by erosion into towers, cones, valleys, and caves. Rock-cut churches and underground tunnel complexes from the Byzantine and Islamic eras are scattered throughout the countryside.
Neolithic pottery and tools in Cappadocia attest to an early human presence in the region. Excavations at the modern town of Kültepe have uncovered the remains of the Hittite-Assyrian city of Kanesh, dating from the 3rd millennium BCE. The tens of thousands of clay tablets recovered from the remains of an Assyrian merchant colony at Kanesh are among the oldest written documents discovered in Turkey.
The earliest appearance of the name of Cappadocia dated from the 6th century BCE, when a Persian satrapy dominated Cappadocia's feudal nobility, and Zoroastrian temple cults were widespread. Because of its rugged terrain and modest agricultural output, the area remained underdeveloped in antiquity, with only a few significant cities.