The Cappadoccia (meaning ‘Land of Beautiful Horses’) region in central Turkey is best known for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and homes carved in the rocks. A few years back we randomly saw a Discover Channel special on this place after a day of snowboarding as we were having green chili and beer at Kermit’s biker bar off I-70 in Colorado. Right then and there we said one day we will visit this place and now, here we are! This area is one of the most unusual yet mystical places we have visited. After years of erosion on plateaus and old volcanoes, the geological formations here have creates bizarre shapes called fairy Chimneys.
There are multiple little towns to stay in this area and we decided on the village of Göreme, which has many cave houses and hotels built into fairy Chimneys. Rock Valley Pension, our hostel, was walking distance to the one of the largest Open Air Museums in the world, the Rose Valley and Love Valley. Rose Valley has a pinkish hue to the mountains where Zane enjoyed a great afternoon wondering through horses, goats and donkeys along the way. Love Valley is covered in naturally phallic looking structures and is so strange! There are options to hike, mountain bike, or ride ATVs through the area but we opted to stroll the area with a packed picnic lunch and a couple of beers!
There are nearly 100 underground cities in the area with some dating back to 4,000 years ago. Derinkuyu Underground City, the largest one in the area, with a depth of over 190 ft. (60 meters), consisting of 8 levels and being able to shelter 20,000 people with livestock. Amazing! Here is yet another ancient structure we have experienced that is difficult to comprehend how it was built to this magnitude such a long time ago with such limited resources. Some of the passageways were so tight with misdirected traffic that some unwanted claustrophobia set in for a moment and we thought some folks on the tour were going to lose it, including Katie for a instant!
Gümüşler Monastery was our favorite visit as it is an impressive monastery carved in rock, hidden from the outside world dating back to the 10th century and was only rediscovered in the 1960s. Even though this is rated as one of the top three places in the world to take a hot air balloon ride we opted out. This is because it would set us back 250 USD each, there are up to 20 people on a ride, and it is the also the where the highest amount of hot air balloon accidents happen. But we woke up our last morning to the sound of the hot air pushing up the balloons right outside of our balcony. The weather was perfect that morning and pretty cool to have the sky filled with the colorful balloons.
A specific food called a ‘Pottery’ Kebab (or Testi Kebab) is known here along with wine produced in the region. It is stew like dish consisting of your choice of meat and veggies cooked in a small clay pot, which has a deep grove about ¾ the way up the tapered neck of the vase-like pot. The top of the pot is covered with foil or pita bread dough to trap the contents, which are then baked. Once it has finished baking the whole pot is brought to the table with a small hammer. The pot then is broken along the grove and served with rice and salad. Apple tea is another Turkish staple and is severed every morning and after every meal. It is just like a sweet hot apple cider back home and has been a welcome addition to our daily routine.
After a hot and long walk to the Rose Valley Zane decided to pay a proper visit to a local Mosque. This starts with washing the hands, face, and feet outside of the Mosque then entering clean and shoeless. From there an improvisation and amalgam of spiritual rituals where practiced. After learning more about Hinduism, Buddhism, Duality, Catholicism, and Islamic in our travels Zane mixed them with his Christian roots and directed positive energy to all. Regarding our observations of all these religions there seems to be more similarities than differences.
Turkey is also known for their glass production and they sell all sizes of blue blown glass that looks like an eye. This is known as the ‘Evil Eye’ and is a sign of envy. This came from a legend years ago about envying the blue eyes of Westerns. We came across a tree adorned fully in blue evil eye, which was a little freaky as next to the tree were aliens as well. We have a theory that the fairy Chimneys came from blue-eyed aliens.
Next we headed to Olympos in southern Turkey for a sailing cruise for 4 days/3 nights on the Mediterranean. We leave today and won’t be online for a few days. Cheers!
More Pics: https://picasaweb.google.com/105315223482012434599/Cappadoccia
I have always wished that someday I would be able to travel to Turkey. A friend of mine when she was there, visited Cappadoccia. Her photos at cappadoccia are charming.
Is it possible for traveler to visit Cappadoccia without staying overnight? Let’s say, if I stay in Istanbul after visiting Cappadoccia for a day, could I go back and arrive in Istanbul at night?
A day trip to Cappadoccia from Istanbul would only be possible by airplane as it is an eleven hour bus ride each way (take the night bus). Cappadoccia is amazing and is worth at least one or two nights and you’ll want to stay even longer if you could. Cappadoccia is also a region and not town. There are several towns to chose from when visiting. We suggest Goreme (especially for a short trip) as it is in the middle of the action and has many great walks from town coupled with a long list of other actives and tours. Hope this helps. Happy traveling!!
The cave cites are amazing and mysterious! I too watched a special on them many years ago and I am so glad you got to see them.