Cappadocia is a unique plateau with an amazing moonscape created by volcanoes, in Anatolia, west of the city of Kayseri, in Turkey.
Cappadocia is not just impressive because of its special phallic rock formations, called by locals the “valley of love” but also because this is the best place to fly with the balloon.
Cappadocia has over 1,000 temples carved in stone and 36 underground cities. Some of them are inhabited even today. The volcanic soil, contrary to expectations, is very fertile and here the best and exquisite grape varieties are grown in small vineyards at the base of these rocks.
What seemed downright amazingly is that Cappadocia contemporary settlements are in completely harmony with the rocky scenery and cannot say exactly where it ends and begins the rocks and homes.
In the past, Cappadocia was used for a larger region, located in central Turkey, but the name is now used only for this tourist region with wonderful landscapes, particularly around Goreme and Urgup areas.
Cappadocia is famous for its deep canyons surrounded by rocks that appear to be glazed and taking different colors, from white to red. The best known are the valleys of Goreme – Rose Valley, which starts near the museum and go to another church of stone – Pigeon Valley, Uchisar linking Goreme and the Valley of Love, which in some places is less than 1 meter width. In the Aksaray aria you can see Ihlara Valley used as a refuge, in the past, by the Byzantine priests.
Underground cities are the most interesting and attractive aspect of Cappadocia. Houses, streets and squares are carved in stone and have stables, barns and churches. The largest city, Derinkuyu, appeared in VII-VIII centuries BC and was enlarged in the Byzantine period. So far, they found 11 floors that stretch up to 85 feet below ground. Ventilation ducts with a length up to 55 meters provided free circulation of air. In times of glory the city had up to 50,000 inhabitants. City of Kaymakli was designed differently, have lower towers, narrow and steeply.
What fascinated me was that in the southeast region is a bird reserve – Sultan. This swampy area is a heaven for more than 250 species of birds, snakes, cranes, storks and tortoises. Yay and Egri are the largest lakes here and Yay houses a colony of 100,000 flamingos, between May and October.
Continuing the series of astonishment, near the village of Goreme is Acik Hava Müzesi – an open air museum with more than 30 churches carved into the rock with some special columns and wonderful frescoes. You will not distinguish churches from the rest of the rocks, but once entered in, you will see how beautifully are decorated with frescoes. The most famous are found in Karanlik Kilise – meaning ” dark church’’, with a well-preserved picture of Christ and Judas’s betrayal scene.
What will get your attention is the Uchisar stone castle, which reigns over the plateau and is eager to give you a beautiful landscape to admire the sunset and the volcano covered with snow – Erciyes Dagi, whose lava has provided building material for Cappadocia. You could also admire the Ortahisar the stone castle, which is over a dreamily village, renowned for citrus.
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