As my cousin was working as a teacher in Ankara for a couple of years, this seemed the ideal opportunity for me to join her on a trip to Cappadocia. This is Persian for The Land of Beautiful Horses. It certainly lived up to its reputation of being a fabulous destination in so many ways. Its volcanoes which erupted millions of years ago, covered the region with a layer of tuff. Over millenia, this tuff layer was eroded, producing earth formations that, in turn were used for human habitations (the tuff was very soft and easily burrowed into). Cappadocia region is at a height of approximately 1,000m and its highest extinct volcano is Mount Erciyes (3916m) which is near Kayseri (ancient Caesarea).
Here is Mount Erciyes
We took a minibus from Kayseri to the small town of Goreme where we stayed in a tiny hotel with rooms inside the fairy chimneys (formations of tuff). Our room even had a fireplace!
Early on our first morning we glanced out of our window and saw this magical scene ~
The next two photos are not mine. I copied them to show how most of the hotels are cut out of the living rock and the beauty of the landscape as photographed from a balloon. I did not want to go up in a balloon with 16 other tourists.
It is hard to find any place that's more exotic than this.
The earliest human settlements in Cappadocia date to the Palaeolithic Period and the written history goes back to the Hittites. Throughout its history Cappadocia has served as an important trading post and bridge between the various lands of the Silk Road.
Yes, mossie, it does! Due to the altitude this region has a Mediterranean climate. So hot and dry in the summer and cold, with snow, in the winter. But the rooms inside the rock chambers are more or less the same temperature all the year round
A little more of my lecture because it's so important to realise that we are in one of the areas of the world where civilization and learning began. It blows my mind!
The early Hattian settlers were followed by the empires of Hittite, Phrygian, Persian, Roman Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman, and each left its mark on the enchanting landscape.
There are at least four immense subterranean cities predating Jesus Christ which have always provided a safe haven for the persecuted - first for Christians persecuted by the Romans and later by the Muslim invaders. I spent a morning visiting one of these cities that comprised many floors underground of tiny caverns, narrow passages and roughly hewn stairs to all the levels which went down far more than four stories. I cannot imagine living in such conditions but I suppose it was better than the alternative. It was pitch dark down there of course. Fresh air came through cleverly constructed air channels.
On a hill overlooking Goreme I got a tremendous view of the little town.