From the 9th century Anatolia witnessed the arrival of nomadic Turkish tribes from Central Asia, which originated in the Ural-Altai region and dispersed over vast areas from China to Europe.
Byzantines in the region, and relative security prevailed for the next fifty years during the period of Konstantinos Porphyrogennetos (945 – 959) and Konstantinos Doukas (900 – 1070). The overthrow of the iconoclasts with the help of the Cappadocian monasteries, which defended their icons with fierce desperation, played its part in maintaining peace. From the second half of the ninth century until 1071, Byzantine Cappadocia enjoyed a golden age, and most of the churches and frescoes of the region are from this period.
Then came the Seljuk Turks, pressing westwards from their empire in Iran. In 1057 the Turks attacked Malatya, and in 1059 Sivas, razing both cities. When they razed Kayseri in 1067 the Byzantine emperor Romanus the 4th made a last bid to save Cappadocia. In 1071 he arrived at the head of a huge army and marched eastwards to confront the Seljuk army at Malazgirt that same year. The Byzantines were defeated with heavy losses, and Cappadocia overrun by the Turks, never to be regained.
In 1071 during the battle of Malazgirt, which occurred in the eastern part of modern-day Turkey, the Selcuk leader Alp Arslan defeated the Byzantines, and thereafter the Selcuks gained undisputed control of Anatolian soil. The Seljuk Turks soon established their own centers of learning.
During the 11th century the Seljuks chose Iznik as their first capital but later moved to Konya after the Crusaders captured Iznik and gave the city to the Byzantines. During the next centuries Anatolia became a battleground for Seljuks, Crusaders on their way to the Holy Lands, and Byzantine armies.
During the reigns of Keyhusrev and Aladdin Keykubad in the 13th century, the Seljuks enjoyed a golden-age during which they reached both the Mediterranean and Black Seas where they built shipyards. They also constructed magnificent caravanserais, medreses (schools), and mosques throughout the empire. By the mid-13th century the Mongols started attacking various parts of the empire, and eventually they invaded all of Anatolia. Kayseri was captured and looted by the Mongols, under whose domination the Seljuks remained until 1302.
The Seljuk Empire was the first Turkish empire established on Anatolian soil. Although its rise and fall occurred in less than two centuries, this empire laid the foundations of Ottoman culture and art. The Seljuks brought with them unmistakable influences of the nomadic cultures of Central Asia and enriched and enhanced the history of central Anatolia.