Uçhisar Castle is located in the town of Uchisar, and stands proudly as the highest point in Cappadocia.
Uçhisar is first mentioned in a 14th-century chronicle by Aziz ibn Ardasir. The general area had been occupied much earlier, however. The Hittites may have used the natural structures of the cliffs as refuges and strongholds against possible attacks. In the seventh century AD, the Byzantines created a 'buffer zone' in the area against Islamic expansion. The nature of the terrain was conducive to defence, while the camouflage of the buildings provided an improved defence against attackers. After their conquest of the region, the Muslims also made use of the defensive possibilities of the area, creating small centres with caravanserais in the region.
Cappadocia is a part of central Turkey. Eruptions of several volcanoes (e.g. Erciyes Dag, Hasan Dag) had covered the area with tuff. Erosion dug valleys and created an uncountable number of different shaped rocks. The tuff's ability to store water made the valleys much more fertile than the higher surroundings. After the arrival of the first people, they soon started to dig caves into the soft stone. By the time they developed the ability to dig cities into the underground with tunnels of several kilometers. A sophisticated pipe- and tunnel-system cared for fresh air and water, to enable the people to hide from enemies for a long time. In the 5th century hermits started to settle in the valleys and to paint their caves. In the next centuries more and more hermits and monks arrived and a rich cave-architecture with colourfull wallpaintings developed. The most famous are the churches of Goereme and the Peristrema Valley (=Ihlara Valley) between Ihlara and Selime. Today thousands of tourists from all over the world are visiting the area.