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The people here call it underground city, some say it was a Hittite prison. In Byzantine times it had served as a monastery. The origin of this cave system is unknown. Unique (only comparable with the monastry of Eski Gümüsler, 230km further in the south) is that the people had cut a rectangular hole into the rock, about 10m deep. This hole is surrounded by the cave system with windows to the open inner space and cave rooms in the rock. To get into it you have to walk through an underground passage. The walls show a few decoration and it looks as if there had been some wall paintings.
Modern civilization began right here in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Also known as the Fertile Crescent or Mesopotamia, this is the place where, six thousand years ago, agriculture, writing and mathematics were brought into widespread use.The term "Middle East" comes from the British navy, which used it to describe the countries on the trade route from Europe to India and China. Everything from Afghanistan to Morocco may possibly be classified as "middle eastern", depending on whom you ask -- and when.Only a partial list of past Empires in the middle eastern territory includes Sumeria, Babylonia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire!When northern Europe was still lurking about in slimy cold stone castles playing chess, the Middle East was enjoying the flowers of poetry, luxurious craftsmanship, music and literature. In fact, the Renaissance in Europe was partly inspired by stories brought back from the middle east by travelers along the trade route.Strategic location, religious history and the world's largest supply of crude oil have kept the Middle East at the center of world activity for centuries. The saga continues.Text by Steve Smith.