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Goreme, situated 10 km from Nevsehir, is found in a region surrounded with valleys, within the Nevsehir-Ürgup-Avanos triangle. The old names for Goreme are Korama, Matiana, Maccan and Avcilar. Goreme was refered to as Korama in the earliest known written document, dating from the 6th century. It is therefore believed that is the oldest name given to the place. In that same document, it is said that St Hieron was born in Korama at the end of the 3rd century, was martyred in Melitene (modern day Malatya) with his 30 friends, and his hand was cut off and sent to his mother in Korama. The holy relic must have been hidden in a church near Korama (Goreme). A very large depiction of St Hieron of Korama is found in the Tokali (Buckle) church in Goreme Open Air Museum. It is believed that Goreme and its surroundings were used as a necroplis by the people of Vanessa (Avanos) in the Roman periods. Both the monumental twin pillared Roman tomb hollowed out into a fairy chimney in the center of Goreme and the presence of numerous tombs in the vicinity support this idea. Goreme, an important Christian centre in the early years of the Middle Ages, was a bishopric administered by Mokissos near Aksaray between the 11th and 13th centuries. Despite the vast number of monasteries, churches and chapels in the vicinity of Goreme, there are not many inscriptions bearing dates. For this reason, these religious buildings are mainly dated according to the iconography or architectural features.

The Cappadocia region, in which many diverse civilizations lived was discovered by the europeans at the beginning of the 18th century. in 1744, Paul Lucas who was charged by Louis XIV, king of France, had declared that he had seen pyramid formed strange houses near Hals that had charming doors, stairs and large windows to illuminate the rooms. The fairy chimneys reminded him of hooded priests and the rocks over them resembled the Virgin Mary holding the baby Christ, with the help of his imagination. In 1819, when Lucas resumed research in Cappadocia he defined these fairy chimneys as the grave yards that belong to Caesarea (modern Kayseri). Lucas's fantastic description was reacted to with both suspicion and interest in the west. C. Texier whom arrived in Cappadocia between 1833 -1837 after Paul Lucas, stated that "nature had never showed itself to a foreigners eyes so extraordinarily". The English traveler Ainsworth who arrived in Cappadocia in 1837 described his confusian with these words "Turning up a glen which led from the river inland, we found ourselves suddenly lost in a forest of cones and pillars of rock that rose around us in interminable confusian, like the ruins of some great and ancient city. At times, these rude pinnacles of rock balanced huge unformed masses upon their pointed summits but stilI more frequently the same strangely supported masses assumed fantastic shapes and forms. At one moment, it suggests the idea of a lion and at another of a bird and again of a crocodile or a fish."

Scientific investigations and publications started toward the end of the 19th century. The French investigator/priest G. De Jerphanion who made observations for the French Union of Churches in 1907 -1912, investigated the memorial rock churches, monasteries and the wall painting in them systematically.


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     The Nature had never showed itself to foreigners eyes so extra- ordinarily.
C. Texier 1833

     
I have
seen pyramid formed strange houses near Hals that had charming doors, stairs and large windows .
Paul Lucas 1744