Cappadocia Land of Caves and Fairy Chimneys

The nature has played here its masterpiece by shaping the volcanic eruptions with the help of wind, rain and erosion. It formed the landscape into a labirent of valleys and fairy chimneys. The rock formation named as the "fairy chimneys", in Turkish "Peri Bacaları", has a remarkable impact on the beautiful view over the area. As they were soldiers waiting and protecting the Land from their enemies for the first impact of enemies. There three non-active volcanos in the region, Mount Erciyes, Mount Hasan and Mount Melendiz.

The area is dating back to pre-historic times starting from Hatti culture (2500-2000 BC). Since Anatolian was always a gateway for trade and settlement center many civilization passed through this region like, Hittites, Assyrians, Phrygians, Lydians, Persians. In AD 17 the region became a Roman province, trade and military routes were built. The first Christian influence came during Byzantine time. Cappadocia thus became a melting pot, many variety of ethnic groups have influenced the culture and religious beliefs of the region.

Must see places in Cappadocia

* Göreme Open Air Museum

The Göreme Open-Air Museum is a World Heritage site which has the best collection of living quarters and chapels. It should be the first place to be visited by travellers in Cappadocia. It contains well worked out rock-cut churches, with astonisihing frescoes. The frescoes have impressive details which remained until today.

* Underground Cities

Beneath Cappadocia's rock formation there are the underground cities which gave living possibilities up to 10.000 people each of them. These cave cities were excavated in Hittite times, and expanded over the centuries. There are in total 36 underground cities in Cappadocia, the widest one is "Kaymakli Underground City", while the deepest is the "Derinkuyu Underground City". Derinkuyu is almost ten levels deep and has narrow passages connecting the floor tunnels. While exploring the underground cities, you will see stables which were used for animals, mini churches with altars and baptism pools. As shown in the above pictures there are also ventilation shafts and rolling-stone doors for closing the enterance for maintaining life.

* Valleys of Cappadocia

The valleys of Cappadocia are suitable for trekking and all of them offer picturesque views of different types of chimneys, structures such as tiny churches and civilizations traces. We are listing the most visited valley so that you have an idea about them

- Ihlara Valley

ihlara valley cappadocia

Ihlara Valley which is located near Mount Hasan and Mount Melendiz is a canyon with a depth of approx. 100m and was formed by the Melendiz River. It begins at Ihlara village and ends with Selime Monastery at Selime village. It is believed that the valley housed more than four thousand habitations and a hundred cave churches decorated with frescoes. This valley was once home for around eighty thousand people.

Trekking details are 13 km of length, 60m ascent, 290m descent)

- Pigeon Valley

pigeon valley cappadocia

You can trek the Pigeon Valley between Göreme and Uchisar. The path through the valley offers spectacular views of the natural cliffs and the man-made caves and passes through a few tunnels carved into the rock.

The name Pigeon Valley comes from a rumor. It is said that, in the 9th century, pigeon fertilizer was very beneficial in the cultivation of grapes and this attracted attention of the people living here. For this reason, the carvings of the rocky slopes were used as nest for the pigeons in order to increase the productivity of the growing grapes.

Trekking details are 4 km of length, together with "white valley" 330m ascent, 260m descent)

- Love Valley

love valley cappadociaia

The original name of this valley is Baglidere Valley but is better known as Love Valley because of the formation of the chimneys. It is one of the most visited valleys though it is not on the route of the other valleys. It is a suitable trekking site for a calm walk for those who are not looking for heavy activity. Within the valley are the famous fairy chimneys that the Cappadocia region is famous for.

* The Dark Church (Byzantine Frescoes)

The extraordinary fresco-filled Dark Church (Karanlık Kilise) is the most famous of the Open-Air Museum's churches. The name comes from the fact that it originally had very few windows. Thats why the colors of the frescoes preserved the vivid multicolours after a millenium. The pillars and ceilings are covered religous scenes such as birth of Jesus, Christ as Pantocrator (the ruler of all), Christ on the cross and the Betrayal by Judas.

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