At 200 kilometers from Ankara, capital of Turkey, there is a monumental complex of strange beauty, the city of eternal glory, cultural treasures-Cappadocia. This fascinating place represents a geological oddity of honeycombed hills and towering boulders of otherworldly beauty.
The strangest fairy-tale landscape ‘fairy chimneys’ (rock formations) and the pyramid rises from the bare plains. Some of them are properly narrower towards the top, which is located at 50 meters height, while others are rugged and irregular.
These unnatural stone sculptures are located on the plateau of Urgup, dominated by the extinct volcano. Millions of years ago there was a strong eruption of the volcano, and the ashes thrown sprung up everywhere. The lava flows formed tuff rock, soft enough to be shaped by knife. Since that time, tuff was exposed to constant influence of rain, snow and wind. Streams of rainwater were dug the sinuous valleys, which are formed conical hills and other forms of rock.
The conical hills and cliffs on the rocks engraven doors and windows. Until the 20th century, people lived in these rocks. Persecuted by the Romans, the first Christians found their refuge here, so it is another name for Cappadocia “Cradle of Christianity”. They built a richly decorated churches where today there are nearly of 600.
There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia and the widest one is Kaymakli, discovered in 1964, about whose existence became known only after the earthquake, when cracks have appeared in the ground. The city dates from the time of the Hittites, and is considered to have originated in 1190 on the area of 2 square kilometers, and It was later discovered another 8 underground levels, and only the top four for the visitors.
The people of Kaymakli city had a developed system of law and used the city shelter only during the invaders attack. In these tunnels, of which there is nearly one hundred, people were hiding from the invaders, they made vents for air supply, vents for exhaust fumes and waste water, and built a series of rooms, hospital, pharmacy, chambers for children, private rooms… As soon as the danger has passed, residents are coming to the surface and continued life.
Things to do
Special attractions of Cappadocia are hot air balloons, with which these spectacular landscapes can be best seen, because only they can fly over and between fairy chimneys, pigeon houses hewn into the unique rock formations, orchards and vineyards – through impressive valleys.
To Cappadocia you can get by bus from anywhere in Turkey. There are a lot of places to stay in this area, but highlight is Goreme, which is the site of the Goreme Open-Air Museum, Urgup which is quieter and feels more elegant than the well-trodden sidewalks of Göreme, or maybe beatiful Mustafapasa village.
Must see in Cappadocia:
Goreme and Zelve Open Air Museum: cave churches with frescoes
Kaymakli and Derinkuyu Underground Cities: the largest and deepest underground city
Ihlara Valley: the deepest gorge of Anatolia
Uchisar and Ortahisar: Roman rock-cut castles
Avanos: center of pottery since the Hittites
Pasabag: mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys, monks’ valley
Devrent: animal-shaped fairy chimneys, imagination valley
Gulsehir: first settlements in Cappadocia
You can’t miss a trip through time and space of Cappadocia which includes seventy square miles of the most famous sculptors of Mother Nature.