Cappadocia’s treasures to serve culture tourism
NEVŞEHİR - Anatolia News Agency
The project will contribute to the social-economic and cultural life of Ürgüp and Cappadocia region, according to officials. AA photoCenturies-old historical structures over an area of 27 hectares will be restored to boost cultural tourism in Central Anatolia’s Cappadocia region, one of Turkey’s most popular tourism regions.
The “Kayakapı Cultural and Natural Environment Protection and Revival” project envisages the restoration of 1,215 houses carved from the rock, historic mansions, churches, mosques, as well as the historic Kayakapı neighborhood, where the house of Saint John is located.
Ürgüp Mayor Fahri Yıldız and the project’s manager, Kayakapı Tourism Investment A.Ş. General Manager Mustafa Dinler, organized a visit for press members in the Kayakapı neighborhood on Jan. 30.
Speaking at a press conference after the visit, Dinler said the project focused on Göreme Natural Park, which is on UNESCO’s cultural heritage list, and Kayakapı.
A significant part of the project will be directed toward a rural area that includes 20 structures such as fountains and historic Roman baths, said Dinler.
The estimated cost of the project is 30 million dollars, according to officials.
Dinler said the historic structures in the region would turn into museums. “Road and field cleaning continues in Kayakapı. The cleaned areas are also being documented. The project for these places will be prepared by our architects and presented to the Nevşehir Committee for the approval of the Protection of Cultural Beings. Our goal is to start restoration works in March. In accordance with the contract signed with the Ürgüp Municipality, we will finish the construction work in five years.”
He said that in the first stage of the project, mosques, rock churches, St. John’s Church, a handicrafts center, cafes, restaurants and agricultural fields in the skirts of Kayakapı would come into use.
“These places will be open to the public. When the project is done, it will not only be a profitable tourism investment but will also contribute to the social-economic and cultural life of Ürgüp and the whole Cappadocia region. The number of tourists and employment rate will also increase,” he said.
Yıldız said the region had been left to its fate in 1970s, when it was declared a “disaster area.”
“The region was declared a disaster area because there is a danger that a big rock mass can fall. Those living in the area moved to houses built by the state in another neighborhood. Afterwards this place was left to its fate,” he said.
Yıldız said Muslims and Christians had lived in peace in the Kayakapı neighborhood. “There is a centuries-old history in this neighborhood. There are traces of many civilizations, from Roman baths to Selçuk mosques and rock churches.”