Cappadocia which means 'the Land of Beautiful Horses', is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in the Nevşehir, Kayseri, Aksaray, Kırşehir, Sivas and Niğde provinces in Turkey. Since the late 300s BC the name Cappadocia came to be restricted to the inland province (sometimes called Great Cappadocia), Upper Cappadocia, which alone will be the focus of this article. Lower Cappadocia is focused to elsewhere.
According to Herodotus, in the time of the Ionian Revolt (499 BC), the Cappadocians were reported as occupying a region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine (Black Sea). Cappadocia, in this sense, was bounded in the south by the chain of the Taurus Mountains that separate it from Cilicia, to the east by the upper Euphrates, to the north by Pontus, and to the west by Lycaonia and eastern Galatia. The name, traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history, continues in use as an international tourism concept to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage.
The earliest record of the name of Cappadocia dates from the late 6th century BC, when it appears in the trilingual inscriptions of two early Achaemenid kings, Darius I and Xerxes, as one of the countries (Old Persian dahyu-) of the Persian Empire. In these lists of countries, the Old Persian name is Katpatuka. It was proposed that Kat-patuka came from the Luwian language, meaning "Low Country".Subsequent research suggests that the adverb katta meaning 'down, below' is exclusively Hittite, while its Luwian equivalent is zanta. Therefore, the recent modification of this proposal operates with the Hittite katta peda-, literally "place below" as a starting point for the development of the toponym Cappadocia. The earlier derivation from Iranian Hu-aspa-dahyu 'Land of good horses' can hardly be reconciled with the phonetic shape of Kat-patuka. A number of other etymologies have also been offered in the past.
Following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, various Turkish clans under the leadership of the Seljuks began settling in Anatolia. With the rise of Turkish power in Anatolia, Cappadocia slowly became a tributary to the Turkish states that were established to the east and to the west; some of the native population converted to Islam with the rest forming the remaining Cappadocian Greek population. By the end of the early 12th century, Anatolian Seljuks had established their sole dominance over the region. With the decline and the fall of the Konya-based Seljuks in the second half of the 13th century, they were gradually replaced by successive Turkic ruled states: the Karaman-based Beylik of Karaman and then the Ottoman Empire. Cappadocia remained part of the Ottoman Empire until 1922, when it became part of the modern state of Turkey. A fundamental change occurred in between when a new urban center, Nevşehir, was founded in the early 18th century by a grand vizier who was a native of the locality (Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha), to serve as regional capital, a role the city continues to assume to this day. In the meantime many former Cappadocians had shifted to a Turkish dialect (written in Greek alphabet, Karamanlıca), and where the Greek language was maintained (Sille, villages near Kayseri, Pharasa town and other nearby villages), it became heavily influenced by the surrounding Turkish. This dialect of Eastern Roman Greek is known as Cappadocian Greek. Following the foundation of Turkey in 1922, those who still identified with this pre-Islamic culture of Cappadocia were required to leave, so this language is now only spoken by a handful of their descendants, most now located in modern Greece.