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Former names of the town have been Korama, Matiana, Maccan or Machan, and Avcilar. When Göreme Valley nearby was designated an important tourist destination, a "center" for all tourism in Cappadocia, the name of the town was changed to Göreme for practical reasons.
The location of Göreme was first settled back in the Roman period. Christianity was then the prevailing religion in the region, which is evident from many rock churches that can still be seen today.
Among Göreme's historically important sites are Ortahane, Durmus Kadir, Yusuf Koc and Bezirhane churches, in addition to the richly decorated Tokali Kilise, the Apple Church, and a number of homes and pigeon houses carved straight into the rock formations in the town.