9. Fairy Chimneys
The “Fairy Chimneys” of Turkey’s Cappadocia region are a testament to both the power of volcanism and the ingenuity of man. These mesmerizing conical rock formations took shape millions of years ago when volcanic eruptions spewed ash over a vast tract of present-day Turkey and solidified over time into a soft rock known as “tuff.”
Later, the tuff was covered in an additional layer of harder basalt. As erosion took its toll over the ages and epochs, the softer tuff was worn away while more of the basalt remained, creating numerous hollowed-out structures filled with caves.
As humans came to Cappadocia, they found a landscape that, though rugged, was filled with a bounty of premade, ready-to-fill rock houses. And fill them they did.
Throughout recorded history, the region has been inhabited. Its vast network of caves has provided shelter to its denizens for thousands of years through numerous wars fought by the Persians, Greeks, Turks, and so on. The caves are perhaps best known as a refuge for persecuted Christians when their faith was outlawed during the years of the Roman Empire.