Turkey is well-known for the seaside resorts at the Marmara Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and for the city of Istanbul. The interior of this country is very attractive despite the great distances between the major tourist attractions. When you look at the map of Turkey, Cappadocia is a far away region that seems very difficult to reach. In fact, it’s not that difficult to get it.
The distance can be reach by car or by plane. Turkey has modern roads and a good motorway system, so I think you can make a tour which can include Cappadocia. If you choose to travel by plane you can find important information here and here.
Why to travel to Cappadocia?
The geology of the area that created spectacular landscapes and rock-dug villages has turned Cappadocia into a land that seems unreal. Millions of years ago, the volcanic eruptions covered with lava and ash this area, creating volcanic tuffs that the rain and wind eroded and sculpted `fair chimneys`, conical structures topped with a mushroom shaped cap. Caves and spectacular gorges were born too and people had been living in since Paleolithic. The area is full of traces of Hittite civilization. The Hittites were an Indo-European population established in the central part of Anatolia at the beginning of the second millennium BC. The positioning of Cappadocia on the main route of the Silk Road was the reason of interference for different religions and people. Christians who left Jerusalem in the 2nd century AD because of the Roman oppression found here a perfect refuge. Over the time, they excavated the rocks and created subterranean cities that still impress with safe and simple entry systems, the ingenious ventilation technique, and garbage collection mechanisms.
Cappadocia, means the „Land of Beautiful Horses” in the Persian language. Currently, this region can be explored on horseback riding, trekking or in a balloon tour. No matter what you choose, the incredible geological formations and the valleys with alien like landscapes will delight you. Tourist attractions are so numerous that it will be very difficult to make a selection. In my opinion Göreme offers a complete experience.
The Göreme Outdoor Museum is a complex comprising a monastery, ten Orthodox churches, a former monastic school and shelters dug directly into the rock. Göreme is a member of UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984, and was one of the first two UNESCO sites in Turkey due to its uniqueness. The Karanlik Church or the Dark Church is important for the restored frescoes containing scenes from the New Testament such as Crucifixion, Judgment of Judas, Last Supper, etc. The architecture of this 11th-century church is unusual for that period. It is said that the name comes from the faint enlightenment which also contributed to the preservation of the vivid colors of the frescoes. The entrance fee to the museum is 25 TL per person.
The Zelve ruins, about two kilometers from Göreme, are one of the most important Christian settlements that operated between the 4th and the 13th centuries.
Uçhısar is located at the highest point of Cappadocia, just five kilometers from Göreme. The fortress is the ideal place to see the magnificent panorama of the surrounding area with Mount Erciyes in the distance. The rooms are connected with stairs, tunnels and passages, but the erosion of the rocks has destroyed some access ways. Today the pigeons are the inhabitants in the rooms on the northern façade.
Cappadocia is also famous for wine, fruits, carpets and ceramics, so I recommend you visiting the craft workshops or department stores.
Ihlara Canyon, Rose Valley, Derinkuyu and Aksaray are also amazing places to be visited. You can find all types of accomodations in Cappadocia.
For me, Cappadocia was a novel and an unexpected experience. How will it be for you?