Cappadocia, ancient district in east-central Anatolia, situated on the rugged plateau north of the Taurus Mountains, in the centre of present-day Turkey. The boundaries of the region have varied throughout history. Cappadocia’s landscape includes dramatic expanses of soft volcanic rock, shaped by erosion into towers, cones, valleys, and caves. Rock-cut churches and underground tunnel complexes from the Byzantine and Islamic eras are scattered throughout the countryside.
The name Cappadocia is now commonly used in the tourism industry to refer to the area that extends roughly from Kayseri west to Aksaray (95 miles [150 km]), where the largest number of monuments are situated. The most-visited attractions include the sprawling underground cites of Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı and Göreme National Park, where there are a large number of rock-cut churches and dwellings. In 1985 Göreme National Park and other rock sites in the area were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Cappadocia is Turkey's most visually striking region, especially the "moonscape" area around the towns of Ürgüp, Göreme, Uçhisar, Avanos and Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), where erosion has formed caves, clefts, pinnacles, "fairy chimneys" and sensuous folds in the soft volcanic rock.
Although the volcanic landscape can appear inhospitable, the mineral-rich soil is excellent for growing vegetables and fruits, making Cappadocia a rich agricultural region. It has always been one of Anatolia's prime grape-growing areas, and still boasts many productive vineyards and wineries.