We are in Cappadocia (Turkey), an underground city.
Here the powerful movements of the earth’s crust created the Taurus mountain range 60 million years ago. And thus began the history of this place. After the volcanoes, the action of the winds and waters carved out these “enchanted landscapes”, some as improbable as these “fairies’ chimneys”.
In the 4th century, some anchorites came here. Later on, whole religious communities came and excavated underground cities with monasteries, churches and homes. Modern times have brought electricity, gas and some tools, but the people of Cappadocia and their cattle still live in caves under the roofs of these troglodyte buildings.
The first settlers were interested in spirituality so they eliminated all excess from their decoration and from the sacred images they worshipped. This period of authentic minimalism was followed by a more colorful one showing episodes from the Bible and, later on, scenes from the life of Christ and his apostles.
No sunlight could reach these underground temples, so their paintings and murals have remained intact until now, and can be viewed in all their splendor.
No one knows how many people lived in this subterranean world, but it’s thought that some communities had more than thirty thousand members.