The Cappadocia region is largely underlain by sedimentary rocks formed in lakes and streams, and ignimbrite deposits erupted from ancient volcanoes approximately 9 to 3 million years ago, during the late Miocene to Pliocene epochs. The rocks of Cappadocia near Göreme eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars and minaret-like forms. The volcanic deposits are soft rocks that the people of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia Region carved out to form houses, churches and monasteries. Göreme became a monastic center between 3001200 AD.
The first period of settlement in Göreme goes back to the Roman period. The Yusuf Koç, Ortahane, Durmus Kadir and Bezirhane churches in Göreme, houses and churches carved into rocks in the Uzundere, Bağıldere and Zemi Valleys are all carriers of history that we can see today. The Göreme Open Air Museum is the most visited site of the monastic communities in Cappadocia (see Churches of Göreme, Turkey) and is one of the most famous sites in central Turkey. The complex contains more than 30 rock-carved churches and chapels, some of them have superb frescoes inside, dating from the 9th to the 11th centuries.
Located in Cappadocia, Derinkuyu is notable for its large multi-level underground city (Derinkuyu Underground City), which is a major tourist attraction. The historical region of Cappadocia, where Derinkuyu is situated, contains several historical underground cities, carved out of a unique geological formation, and were largely used by early Christians as hiding places. They are not generally occupied. Over 200 underground cities at least two levels deep have been discovered in the area between Kayseri and Nevşehir, with around 40 of those having at least three levels. The troglodyte cities at Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı are two of the best examples of underground dwellings.