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Biblical Archaeology Review 49:1, Spring 2023

Where Is It?

1. Petra, Jordan

2. Timna, Israel

3. Aswan, Egypt

4. Cappadocia, Turkey

5. Chaco Canyon, United States

Answer: 4 Cappadocia, Turkey

Cave dwellings and churches—carved into unique rock formations—dot the landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey. The first photo shows the “Nunnery,” a complex of monastic dwellings and chapels connected by tunnels, in the Goreme Open Air Museum. Some of the best cave churches in all of Cappadocia can be found in Goreme, including the Dark (Karanlik) Church with its beautiful frescoes (also shown here). Most of the cave complexes in Goreme date to the 10th–12th centuries.

Cappadocia also boasts elaborate underground cities. The largest settlement, Derinkuyu, could accommodate 20,000 people. The Phrygians originally carved caves and tunnels in the region during the eighth–seventh centuries BCE. However, the underground cities reached their zenith under Byzantine rule, especially from the eighth to 12th centuries CE, when the network was expanded. From that time until the 20th century, Christians would periodically live and hide in these cities to escape persecution. In 1923, though, the caves were abandoned when the Christian inhabitants, Cappadocian Greeks, were banished from the region.

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