The Assyrian trading Colony period marks the beginning of written history in Anatolia around 1960 BC. A sophisicated trading system was established in the region and the merchants introduced their language - the cuneiform script - to record transactions and business. These records were kept on rectangular clay tablets and they used clay envelopes to seal these first letters.
Scan of a replica clay tablet from the ancient city of Hattusas.
The land became dominated by the Hittites and grew to be an important trading area on the Silk Road. Many of the ancient caravanserrai (fortress "hotels") still exist today. The region was always being fought over - recurring wars with the Persians, Alexander the Great, the Romans and later the Arab warlords - making the inhabitants take refuge. The volcanic landscape of Cappadocia made ideal sanctuaries.
Hittite fresco at Hattusas around 1200BC
This cave settlement has mostly collapsed revealing the interior rooms and passages. The volcanic cone forms were carved out to provide secure accommodation and often the entrances were concealed.