In the high, dry plateau of central Turkey lies Cappadocia, site of ancient settlements and spectacular natural rock formations. For millions of years, erosion shaped the incredible landscape of the Göreme valley in Cappadocia. Then, thousands of years ago humans began carving a chamber-and-tunnel complex into the soft rock. By the fourth century A.D., an urbanized underground cultural landscape emerged with living quarters, places of worship, stables, and storehouses, all dug into the soft stone. The site became a centre of refuge during the early days of Christianity when Christians were fleeing Rome’s persecution. The monastic communities that these early Christians established here, decorated with Byzantine frescoed paintings in cave chapels, can still be seen today, preserved in splendid isolation.