Cappadocia Tours

Wine culture in Cappadocia

The reason why viticulture was developed in Cappadocia is the harmony between the special feature of volcanic soil in the region and the rough structure of the land since the ancient times.

Although it is unknown when wine first appeared in Cappadocia, producing grapes and getting wine had to be ancient like the history of the region. In the same way, west borderline of Mesopotamia which was admitted as the homeland for wine in 3000 BC arrived at East of Cappadocia (Fırat River). So, Urgup had to get its share of wine that was produced near the region. The findings that wine was produced in Cappadocia go beyond prehistory in Anatolia. In early Bronz Age (3000 – 2000 BC), golden pots that had wine in it were found in king tombs dated at a time a thousand years earlier than Hittites in Alacahoyuk (near Çorum) which is on the North of Cappadocia. Most of the findings are exhibited in Ankara Anatolian Civilisation Museum. In the consequence that Anatolia met to writing with the help from Assyrian trade colonies, recorded documents about grape and wine producing increased. Later in Hittite period (1650 – 1250) they called wine as “wiyana” and in Anatolia it was named as “wiyanawanda” that means the country of wine. In that period, the region that wine and grapes widely produced had to be the Red River (Halys) and the Green River on the east of it. Wine and grapes were served to gods as divine drink and it had importance as a product for trade in Hittite Period in 7th century BC. Hittite King described as presenting wine to god in Ivriz Rock Relief on the South of Cappadocia. Even when Persian invaded Anatolia in the middle of 6th century BC, production of wine and trade made progress in the period.

Wine and grapes were served to gods as divine drink and it had importance as a product for trade in Hittite Period in 7th century BC. Hittite King described as presenting wine to god in Ivriz Rock Relief on the South of Cappadocia. Even when Persian invaded Anatolia in the middle of 6th century BC, production of wine and trade made progress in the period.

Jesus says: “I am a real grapevine and my father is a grape grower. He breaks each stalk that does not give fruit out and cleans the stalk that gives fruit in order to make it give more.” (Johannes 15/1 and 3) Continuity of cultures can be seen again. Wine which was the symbol of polytheistic religions and equated to Dionysos or Bakus became the symbol of Christianity at one point between 1st and 4th century AD. Perhaps it was the reason why Christians came from far away countries. Soil in this region gives perfect product when fertilizer of pigeons was added to it. Wine production stopped because of Arab attacks between 7th and 9th centuries. Then Mongolian attacks give negative effects in the middle of 13th century. After Turks settled the region, production would not decrease as it was estimated. Especially the city Hacibektas was in the region as the centre of Alvi – Bektasi belief. This belief gives tolerance to wine. In 14th century Arab traveler Ibni Batuta mentioned about cappadocia wine. German traveler Demshwam told that Rums produced qualified wine in his visit to the region between 1553 and 1555. As the famous man in Tulip Age of Ottoman Empire, Damat İbrahim Pasa located somewhere for viticulture from Nevsehir foundation land in 118th century. A tribe who came to Nevsehir at the same time founded vineyards by removing oak trees. Even Damat İbrahim Pasa ordered to give land for viticulture between Kurtderessi and Uchisar if it was necessary.

In her valuable book “The taste in Cappadocia” about Cappadocia, the investigative writer Sula Bozis syas that; “Grapes which were produced in the wineyards of Tenei, Andaval, Sinasos ((Mustafapasa), Prokopi (Ürgüp), Neapoli (Nevşehir) as villages of Nigde were used to produce wine and raki.” An another quatition from the book; “Consumed among Muslims and Christians, raki was used as a drug against excessive cold. Wine was drunk by Christians, Bektasi and Alevi inhabitants. The biggest blow that dealt to wine productions was exchanging in 1920s.

After Rums abandoned the area, Turks that settled there did not give enough importance for it. With the progressive power given by increase in iner and outher tourism, wine consuming increased and this came to a conclusion for new lands for vineyards and experiment with new kinds of grapes.

Cappadocia is the region that risen by volcanic activities at 1200 meters height from the sea level. Togother with showing the typical features of terrestrial climate, there is a microclimate positive for viticulture in a lot of valleys and the Red River basin.

It becomes hot and dry in summer, cold and rainy in winter. Spring and autumn is short. So, seasonal passes are rapid. Most part of the soil in the region is volcanic ashes that we call as tuff and it is poor for farming.

Fertilizer of pigeons were used for hundred of years by Christians and Muslims. In his essay “Nevsehir and pigeons”, writer Ismail Habib Sevuk visited the area in 1936 and quoted his impressions like that. “Vineyards… Vineyards… The living depends highly on it. The soil in the city is little but efforts of citizens are high. Neverthelessi the soil is not fertile. What must be done. Think whatever you want. Do you know that pigeons are producing, not soil in Nevşehir.”

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

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Wine culture in Cappadocia
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