Cappadocia Information Turkey,
Before talking more about the rock churches a short glance at the Byzantine history is necessary. Before Cappadocia was occupied by Tiberius, Central Anatolia was known as a free continent. The Persians invaded Anatolia at the beginning of the VIlth century. They captured Caesarea in 605 and occupied it until 611. They turned southwards and after capturing Jerusalem and they carried the True Cross to Ctesiphon. In the VIII the century Cappadocia was a constant war-front of the Arab-Byzantine Wars. The frontier moved to and fro, depending on the fate war. Although Caesarea and Cappadocia remained connected to the Empire the region was under the constant threat of Arab raids. Caesarea was captured twice, in 647 and 726 but was not destroyed. The Arabs burned and destroyed whatever came in their way. But the people got used to the situation and took refuge in the underground cities such as Derinkuyu and Kaymakli. In the mountainous regions rock churches and homes provided refuge for the people. When the enemy came they closed the doors with large round stones which look like millstones. The only thing Arabs could do was to smoke thorn out. But the danger for the Christian communities was not only the Arabs because large numbers of people were killed during the Great Massacres of the Iconoclastic Period (726-843).
In the midst of the 9th century, after the Arabs’ retreat, Cappadocia was no longer a battle – field and became one of the central provinces. During the 10th century Caesarea, being the largest city, was the headquarters of an important military confederation. Al about this time the Seljukian Empire was rapidly growing by invading Anatolia. They captured Caesarea in 1067. In 1071 Alpaslan beat the Byzantine army in Malazgirt and took Diogenes as captive. This was the beginning of the decline of the Byzantine Empire.
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