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Cappadocia: Fairy Chimneys

What is Fairy Chimneys?
Fairy chimneys are cone-shaped formations of rain, wind and flood waters by eroding the tuff structure. There are rock blocks on the hills of these formations whose fairy chimneys are tower-shaped.

Fairy Chimneys Formation – How Did Fairy Chimneys Occur?

Of course, it is not the magic wand that makes Cappadocia a special geography and transforms it into such a visual feast with the formation of fairy chimneys, of course, active volcanoes in geological times. Volcanoes in the region suddenly took action as a result of the rise of the Taurus Mountains that began almost 60 million years ago in the 3rd Geological period and the compression of the Anatolian fault in the north. Erciyes Mountain, Güllüdağ and Hasandağı, which are not saturated with its snowy silhouette nowadays, are active volcanoes that started spraying lava until 10 million years ago; The Cappadocia Region, on the other hand, was an inland sea, as understood from the fossils of sea creatures found in archaeological excavations.

The lava that started 10 million years ago with Upper Miocene and erupted up to Pliocene 2 million years ago, descended on plateaus and dried these inland sea, lakes and streams. A layer of tuff almost 100-150 meters thick has formed on the dried ground. There are volcanic ash, clay, sandstone, clay and basalt containing rocks inside the formed layer, and in some areas, there are accumulations of lava with a dense density in some areas. This stratum has been changed with the effect of floods and winds descending from the slopes of the valleys, especially Kızılırmak passing through the region. As the flood waters, which were strengthened by the scarcity of vegetation and impermeability of the tuff layer, flowed, he tried to stubbornly lead between hard rocks. While the hard rocks cracked and broken against the power of the raging waters, they left deep wavy valleys at the bottom. In this geography, nature has been an artist for many centuries, working with a sculptor and giving effort, hard rocks that protect themselves from the erosion of flood waters, and the formation of unique fairy chimneys with conical bodies in the world have occurred.

Fairy Chimneys History

Strabon, the famous geographer of the ancient times of Rome, drew the borders of Cappadocia for the first time in history. Starting from the Taurus in the south, it named a large area as Cappadocia, namely the East Black Sea coastline in the north, Aksaray in the west and Malatya in the east. Today, the region we call Cappadocia covers the provinces of Aksaray, Nevşehir, Niğde, Kırşehir and Kayseri. Among these borders, Avanos, Ürgüp, Göreme, Uçhisar and Ihlara surroundings are known as ‘Rocky Cappadocia Region’.

The history of fairy chimneys that are old enough to make them say ‘Whatever he saw, what he saw was a language’ was actually the history of Cappadocia. Cappadocia has seen many civilizations since the formation of fairy chimneys. The interior of the fairy chimneys, the natural buildings of the region, began to be carved in the Paleolithic period when the first human settlement. After the times of the Hittites, it was used as a shelter, a place of worship and a house for the first Christians to freely practice their beliefs in the 3rd century. In the 11th and 12th century, Cappadocia witnessed the resistance of Christians to both Arab raiders and other invasions until the Seljuks.Due to its tuffaceous structure, it was carved a little more and expanded every period, and even frescos reflecting the stories of the period were processed in those used as a church. The miracle of the formation of fairy chimneys was not only known as the ‘fairy tale land’, ‘wonderland land’, but also because it was seen as a supernatural region visited by aliens.

Information About Fairy Chimneys

If we make a general definition while giving information about fairy chimneys, it consists of hard rock caps, mostly called hats on conical stems. The biggest share in the formation of fairy chimneys also falls on their hats. Because the hat parts have a harder structure compared to the terrain, it also protects the body, which rises in the shape of a cone below and is relatively soft. The body parts of the fairy chimneys are made of tuffite, volcano ash and tuff, also called volcano crumbs, and the hat parts are from hard, durable rocks such as ignimbrite and lahar. Therefore, hard hats press downwards with their weights, making the conical bodies more resistant to wind abrasion. Another feature is that it prevents the erosion of the tuff in the conical body and keeps the height of the fairy chimney under control that the existence of the fairy chimney, or rather its long life, is therefore not a lie because of the resistance in the rocks of the hats.

Apart from the capped fairy chimneys formed by erosion, mushroom-shaped, columnar and pointed fairy chimneys are also seen in Apadocia. The diameter of the fairy chimneys can start from 1 meter and grow up to 15 meters. Smaller or larger of these rates are not considered as fairy chimneys. Fairy chimneys, whose colors are generally gray or white, are standing still despite their million years of age, as a miracle offered by nature. Although there are shapes similar to the formation of fairy chimneys in some places in the world, they are not so intense anywhere else than Cappadocia. That’s why Cappadocia Fairy Chimneys are shown as one of the 7 wonders of the world.

Even though the formation of fairy chimneys has spread to a very large time, it is like knowing how much time the earthquake will come to predict. Although it is assumed that it will re-form over the centuries, as the changes in nature and corrosive factors continue, the resistance of fairy chimneys also decreases.

Fairy Chimneys Legend

This is the legend; A long time ago, a very hard working peasant lived in one of the villages in Göreme. From the vineyards shaded by the fairy chimneys, the grapes overflow, the dovecotes carved into the fairy chimneys would never be without eggs. In the last days of his working life, the harvest time wanted to go to his field early, but since he did not have old power, he collapsed at the foot of a fairy chimney. On the other hand, if he was dazed and said, “If the birds blow, the birds will be nice, I will labor.” While he was feeling sad and crying like this, he suddenly saw many fairies coming out of the fairy chimneys with torches in their hands. The fairies gathered the crops and vineyards in the field of the old man and carried them to the hangars, and they disappeared until dawn. The old man thought he could not believe his eyes and dreamed, but the reward of diligence should have been the prize, and after that night the fairies always rushed to his aid. The villagers never knew the truth about the yield of this old peasant’s field and how he took care of it. One day the old man died with his secret, but fairy chimneys kept this secret with silence.

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