National Geographic : 1939 Dec
WHERE EARLY CHRISTIANS LIVED IN CONES OF ROCK A Journey to Cappadocia in Turkey Where Strange Volcanic Pinnacles Are Honeycombed With Hermit Cells and Monasteries BY JOHN D. WHITING American Colony, Jerusalem DEEP in the interior of Turkey, in ancient Cappadocia of the Bible, there stand today some of the strangest structures ever created by the combined hand of Nature and man. Through the erosive action of wind and water upon volcanic rock, huge spectacular cones were carved and then through the centuries were hollowed out by the devout Christian inhabitants of the region to form hermitages and monasteries. Twenty years ago the NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC MAGAZINE first portrayed these remarkable honeycombed rocks with the aid of a notable series of photographs.* Now, in view of the development of modern color photography and the many changes which have taken place, even in isolated parts of the world, the Editor of THE GEO GRAPHIC requested me to undertake a journey into central Asia Minor to study and record in color photographs the strik ing characteristics of the Cappadocian cones and the dwellers there. Cappadocia, I knew, was a land where Christianity had won an early footing. Yet, even to one who has long resided in Bible lands, it was little more than a name, since the area lies 475 air-line miles north of Jerusalem. I remembered it chiefly as be longing to a string of New Testament geo graphical names long since altered by map makers-"Parthians, and Medes, and Elam ites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia," among whom St. Peter made converts in the later years of his ministry (Acts 2:9-11). Details of what we were to encounter on the trip to Cappadocia were obscure, since little or no advance information was ob tainable. The Turkish consul in Jerusalem, however, proved most co-operative and pro vided us with a letter of introduction to the Vali (Governor) of the Cappadocian city of Kayseri. In fact, in the course of our journey we were treated with the utmost kindness and hospitality. From the high est Turkish official to the lowliest Ana tolian farmer, all showed a genuine regard for the United States. The Swedish nationality of Eric Matson, who accompanied the author to take the photographs, also proved an asset. Sweden, having had no part in the World War, had taken no hand in dismembering the old Turkish Empire, nor had it stood in the way of the upbuilding of the present New Turkey. "MAN FRIDAY" AS CHAUFFEUR The third member of our party was pleasant Juma'a el Warri, a native of Jerusalem and an excellent chauffeur mechanic. His name, literally translated, is "Friday of the Rough Country" (rocky or stony), a fitting companion for a mod ern Robinson Crusoe, marooned forty days in a country almost all rock. It was in the early autumn that we finally started-rather late for the north climate and the return trip through the passes of the Taurus (Toros Daglarl). In all, our Ford carried us 3,110 miles. We loaded up with spare axles, springs, and minor parts; and although most of the journey was over cruel tracks, all our spares, except tires, returned to Jerusalem unused. Our only casualty was a door handle. The first morning was taken up in ad justing the load, and after a hasty lunch we started the run to Beyrouth in Syria (map, page 767).t On the top of Mount Scopus, where Titus pitched his legionary camps for the de struction of Jerusalem in the year 70, were * See "The Cone-Dwellers of Asia Minor," by J. R. Sitlington Sterrett, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, April, 1919. t See also the National Geographic Society's Map of Bible Lands, a special supplement to The Magazine for December, 1938.