The impressive landscape of Cappadocia is created by geological processes that started nearly 10 million years ago and they are still continuing. The collision of the two tectonic plates, on which Cappadocia lies, led to the eruption of volcanoes. This brought, as a result, the deposition of great quantities of volcanic material (lava, ash, rusted mineral grains, basalt and andesite) in the area, which created a layer of tufa that initially was 100 m. thick. At some point, the riverbed of Halys (in Turkish Kizilirmak) lowered and the river turned to the north and received all the water that had been collected in the plateau. This is how the erosion process of the volcanic material began, in which a vital role is played by air, water, enclosed water in the cracks of the rocks and the rapid changes of temperature.
The variety of the famous formations of Cappadocia is due to differences in the components of the materials and in their eroding speed. From this morphologic and chromatic variety, many characterizations appeared such as “the Valley of the Swords” (Kiliçlar Vadisi) and “the valley of the Roses” (Güllü Dere). Indeed, inside this almost triangular area in the heart of Asia Minor, which is bordered on the south by Niğdem, on the west by Aksaray, on the east by Caesarea and on the north by the arch of Halys, many valleys are naturally created with their own unique characteristics. The most prominent are those of Korama (Göreme), Peristremma (Ihlara, Belişirma) and Soandos (Soğanli) not only because of their beautiful landscape but also of the plethora of byzantine churches carved into rocks. The Göreme Valley and the area that is surrounded by Nevşehir (Neapolis/ Nyssa), Avanos, Prokopion (Ürgüp), Yeşilöz and Soğanli, and additionally the underground cities of Malakope (Derinkuyu) and Anakou (Kaymakli) are from 1985 World Heritage Sites of UNESCO.
The uniqueness of the Cappadocian landscape was completed centuries ago by the human factor with the construction of above-ground and sometimes underground residences, churches and monasteries.