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13 natural rock formations that look man-made

By: Angela Nelson on July 19, 2016, 12:40 p.m.
"Cappadocia — Land of Fairy Chimneys" in Ürgüp — Nevşehir, Turkey

Photo: Nedim Ardoğa/Wikimedia Commons

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Rock Sites of Cappadocia

Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia in Turkey have been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1985. Natural forces shaped this rocky landscape, but then humans took the reins from Mother Nature and created a very cool locale. But let's back up for a second and explain how it formed in the first place.

Ancient volcanoes erupted and blanketed the area with thick ash, which solidified into a plateau. (This national park is bordered on two sides by extinct volcano ranges.) Over the years, wind and water have eroded it, "leaving only its harder elements behind to form a fairy tale landscape of cones, pillars, pinnacles, mushrooms, and chimneys, which stretch as far as 130 feet (40 meters) into the sky," National Geographic reports.

Often called "fairy chimneys," these rock structures are another example of hoodoos. Around the 4th century, humans began carving cave dwellings, places of worship and even entire underground towns into the rocks — some reported to be as many as eight stories deep. While they were originally occupied by monks and Christians fleeing Rome's persecution, today they serve as museums that preserve examples of Byzantine art and hotels that offer a unique experience for tourists.