Early Christians who were fleeing Roman persecution flocked to the caves here and set up intricate monastic communities in the Cappadocia region. The traces of a plethora of churches, troglodyte villages and cities hidden within the rock formations make it the world’s largest urbanized cave complex.
In A.D. 80, St. Philip, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, was crucified in the ancient city of Hierapolis by Emperor Domitian, paving the way for the site to become an important center of religion for the Eastern Roman Empire. Several churches, as well as Philip’s martyrium building from the fifth century, remain as evidence.
The ancient city of Ephesus is believed to be the location where the story of the Seven Sleepers took place. According to Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox Christians, the seven sleepers slept in a cave in Ephesus for centuries because they were persecuted for their belief in Jesus Christ.
St. Paul arrived in the region in A.D. 46 and preached a sermon to the Jewish community at a synagogue. He returned two more times and the site was later declared a pilgrimage center. St. Paul's Church is known as the earliest and largest basilica in Anatolia.
The Seven Churches of Revelation are seven major churches of early Christianity, as mentioned in the New Testament. The Book of Revelation addresses seven letters to the seven churches, all located in Turkey. Each letter, as proclaimed by Jesus and recorded by John the Apostle, declares the triumphs and failings of the recipient churches, warning each community to repent.
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