Turkey's central Cappadocia region takes its visitors on a journey through stunning landscapes rich with treasures both natural and cultural.
There is evidence of human life dating back 5,000 years in Goreme National Park -- the jewel of Cappadocia -- and as of the third century A.D. it became a shelter for people living in its networks of natural cave formations or carved out of the soft rock.
Goreme is also home to many churches, chapels, and shelters used during the early years of the Christian faith, as well as a dazzling array of the natural formations known as fairy chimneys.
The caves were also used as shelters in later times, during the centuries when the Seljuks and Ottomans held sway in Anatolia.
In 1985, Goreme National Park was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and today it is one of Turkey’s top 10 tourist attractions.
According to data from Nevsehir, capital of the province where Cappadocia is located, more than 2 million tourists visited Goreme National Park in the first half of 2018.
Murat Gulyaz, curator of the Nevsehir Museum, told Anadolu Agency that Cappadocia is an important center for faith-based tourism.
"There are visitors from all over the world. Not only Christians but also Buddhists and Hindus are also visiting the region," he said.
Gulyaz added that they are striving to protect the national park, including restoration work by Turkish and Italian experts for the last five years.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Irish tourist Lorraine Gannon said the historical sites are well protected and the restored frescos "look great."
Indian tourist Tina Gupta said she knew little about the area before visiting but was amazed after seeing it with her own eyes.
Gupta said she learned "very interesting" information from her guide about human life in the region over the centuries and millennia.
Reporting by Behcet Alkan:Writing by Fatih Hafiz Mehmet
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