The city has been continuously lived since 3000 BCE with the establishment of the ancient trading colony at Kultepe (Ash Mountain) which is associated with theHittites. The city has always been a vital trade centre as it is located on major trade routes, particularly along what was called the Great Silk Road. Kültepe, one of the oldest cities in Asia Minor, lies nearby.
As Mazaca, the city served as the residence of the kings of Cappadocia. In ancient times, it was on the crossroads of the trade routes from Sinope to theEuphrates and from the Persian Royal Road that extended from Sardis to Susa. In Roman times, a similar route from Ephesus to the East also crossed the city.
The city stood on a low spur on the north side of Mount Erciyes (Mount Argaeus in ancient times). Only a few traces of the ancient site survive in the old town. The city was the centre of a satrapy under Persian rule until it was conquered by Perdikkas, one of the generalsofAlexander the Great when it became the seat of a transient satrapy by another of Alexander's former generals, Eumenes of Cardia. The city was subsequently passed to the Seleucid empire after thebattle of Ipsus but became once again the centre of an autonomous Greater Cappadocian kingdom under Ariarathes III of Cappadocia at around 250BC. In the ensuing period, the city came under the sway of Hellenistic influence, and was given the Greek name of Eusebia in honor of the Cappadocian king Ariarathes V EusebesPhilopator of Cappadocia (163–130 BCE). Under the new name of Caesarea, by which it has since been known, given to it by the last CappadocianKingArchelaus or perhaps by Tiberius, the city passed under formal Roman rule in 17BCE.
Caesarea was destroyed by the Sassanid king Shapur I after his victory over the Emperor Valerian Iin 260. At the time it was recorded to have around 400,000 inhabitants. The city gradually recovered and, indeed, became a home to several early Christian saints: saints Dorothea