Europeans discovered the Region of Cappadocia, which has been occupied by many civilisations at the beginning of the 18th century. Paul Lucas, who was sent by the French King Louis XIV in 1704, stated that he saw many strange pyramid like houses near the Red River (the ancient Halys) and that these houses had conspicuous entrances and stairs and big windows to light all the rooms.
With his imagination, he likened the fairy chimneys to “monks with hoods” and the rocks on the fairy chimneys to busts of “Mother Mary holding Baby Jesus”. He thought that these interesting rock-cut houses were the ones of the Christian monks. In his engraving, the tops of the serial conical shaped fairy chimneys were depicted, in an exaggerated way, as the busts of people and animals.
When Lukas examined Cappadocia again in 1719, he described these fairy chimneys as a graveyard near Caesarea (modern Kayseri). Paul Lucas’s fantastic description of the place was met with both great interest and suspicion in Europe.
C. Texier, who visited Cappadocia between 1833 – 1837 after Paul Lukas, stated that nature had never displayed itself in such a way before the eyes of a stranger. English traveler Ainsworth, who visited Cappadocia in the 19th century, expressed his astonishment as:“Turning up a glen which led from the river inland, we found ourselves suddenly lost in a forest of cones and pillars of rock, that rose around us in interminable confusion, like the ruins of some great and ancient city. At times these rude pinnacles of rock balanced huge unformed masses upon their pointed summits, but still more frequently the same strangely supported masses assumed fantastic shapes and forms at one moment suggesting the idea of a lion, at another of a bird, and then again of a crocodile or a fish.”
W. J. Hamilton, English geologist, expressed his amazement saying, “The words are never enough to describe the scenery of this extraordinary place.” Scientific researches and publications started at the end of the 19th century. G. De Jerphanion, the French explorer/priest, who did some researches in Cappadocia between 1907 – 1912, systematically examined the monumental rock-cut churches, rock-cut monasteries and the wall frescoes in these.