Tent rocks (peribacası
) near Çavuşin
The National Park is located in the volcanic region of Mount Hasan and Mount Erciyes in Central Anatolia, in the vicinity of Ürgüp, Çavuşin and Göreme. The park area consists of plateaus and high hills, dissected by streams and river valleys carved out by water, the valleys having steeply sloping sides. Part of this rugged area consists of basalt and thick beds of tuff. The tuff is the result of ash emitted from volcanoes millions of years ago, which solidified into a soft rock, and has since been overlain by solidified lava which forms a protective capping. This has been eroded over the millennia to form the multi-coloured cliffs, rock towers, pillars, tent rocks and fairy chimney rock formations present in the park. This area experiences annual precipitation of 380 mm (15 in) and there is little vegetation except in riverine corridors.
The earliest signs of monastic activity in Cappadocia can be traced back to the 4th century when small anchorite communities, following the teachings of Basileios the Great, Bishop of Kayseri, started to inhabit the cells hewn in the rock. Later, the communities took refuge together in underground villages in order to avoid attacks by marauding Arabs.