The Departure Of The Byzantines From Derinkuyu Area of Cappadocia,
The VI century A.D. saw the beginning of the Byzantine – Arab conflict during which time Derinkuyu and its vicinity were heavily attacked three times. After these attacks, many of the Byzantines living in this area found it increasingly difficult to continue living underground in hiding and evacuated Derinkuyu Underground City, which thus lost much of its earlier importance. The underground city was deserted for many years and fell into disrepair. Air ducts were blocked by earth and rocks swept into them by rain and the wind; many roofs in rooms and tunnels fell in.
After the seventh century, Christians were able to carry on the propagation of their religion openly; some of them carved hundreds of churches into the rocks and “fairy chimneys” in the Goreme and SoOanli region and used them as training centers for Christian missionaries.
After the XII century, Anatolia gradually came under the domination of the Seljuk Turks. The religious toleration shown by them gave an opportunity to the Christians in this area to add many frescoes to the churches at airtime, Ihlara and Soganli. In the XIV century, with the emergence of Ottoman power, some more of the Byzantines left the region and thus Goreme, lhlara and Soganli lost their early importance, though the natural beauty and artistic interest of the region are unsurpassed in the world.
The Churches On The Ground
Among the interesting sights of Derinkuyu, its churches rank high which is can be visited in Cappadocia Green Tour. These date back to the XVI and XVII centuries; one of them was converted into a mosque in 1949 and still has painted on its dome remarkably well-preserved frescoes of the Angels, the Virgin Mary, Christ and his Apostles. Frescoes of the second church are partially damaged, but the carvings at the entrance and the revolving cylindrical columns (in order to check the stability of the building) are worth noting. Also, the elegant belfry is interesting. The mostly unexplored underground cities of Ayan, Goble, Suvermez, Dogala, Cakilli, Zelve, Orentepe, Kakale, (all in the Derinkuyu region) and the ruins of an early caravanserai are proof that this region was for many centuries a centre of civilization; examples of man’s ingenuity and skill are still here for us to see.