Cappadocia : When you travel to Turkey, you need to remember visiting a traditional city called Cappadocia.
It is very famous around the world for flying in its mesmerizing hot air balloons, walking in different valleys and visiting historical buildings in rocks and underground. You can have a fabulous memory by traveling to this location.
The old city of Cappadocia is surrounded by the chain of Taurus Mountains in the south which separates it from Cilicia, by the Euphrates to the east, by Pontus to the north and by Lycaonia and eastern Galatia to the west.
This city is famous for its extraordinary natural places represented by fairy chimneys as a historical and cultural location.
The traditional city of Cappadocia has a high plateau with an altitude of more than 1000 m illustrated by volcanic peaks, where the tallest one is 3916 m.
As this area has a high altitude, it has a continental climate. Its winters are cold and snowy; while its summers are dry and hot. Totally, this area is semi-dry with a little amount of rain.
This city has had a lot of kings during different eras because of wars and the conflicting situations of neighboring areas.
Kings of Persia affected this area and research shows the chimneys were considered as a place to worship Persian gods.
Later Greeks resided this place, and at the moment this region is in the heartland of Turkey. The touristic city of Cappadocia has 4 cities called Nevsehir, Kayseri, Aksaray and Nigde.
The fame of this city is for its moon-like landscape, cave buildings in the rocks and underground cities.
Due to soil erosion and lave-covered plain between the mountains, special underground cities are made about two million years ago.
It region was selected as a holy and poetic place because of its previous names and its mushroom-shaped buildings, as holy places to worship god. Other towns and cities in Cappadocia are listed below with their most important features:
• Nevsehir: major province of Cappadocia
• Urgup: the biggest town of Cappadocia
• Goreme: the location of Fairy Chimneys with cave houses inside them
• Uchisar: the location of a rock castle which is made naturally as the highest part of this area
• Avanos: the longest river of Turkey (Kizilirmak) divides this pottery-town into two parts
• Ortahisar: a famous rock castle is located in this small village
• Mustafapasa: a traditional Greek village
How to Get in Cappadocia
There are different transportation vehicles to travel to Cappadocia.
It usually takes about 5 hours from Ankara and 17 hours from Canakkale to get to Cappadocia by bus.
You can also fly to this place by plane to famous airport of “Kyseri Erkilet Airport”, which is an hour away from the center of Cappadocia by car, and “Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport”.
You can have daily flights to these airports to get to nice city of Cappadocia.
You can also take a train to Kayseri from different cities and Turkey; and then you should take a bus to Goreme.
It will be boring to take long round-trips by bus or it will be expensive to fly from different cities; so it is more advisable to take an intercity bus system or a one-way flight.
Furthermore, it can be a good suggestion to rent a car or hire a tour package in order not to waste your time and money.
What to Eat and Drink
If you are a person who is interested in trying new local and traditional dishes, Cappadocia gives you some options:
• Jug Kebap (Testi Kebap): meat and vegetables are the main ingredients of this food which are cooked in a clay dish and are served with bread.
• Manti : a food made of minced meat which is served with garlic sauce and yogurt.
• Pastirmali Kuru Fasulye: spiced meat and white beans are the ingredients of this dish.
• Dried grapes and apricots
• Local sweets
• Local wines: this city is famous for its wines made from its local farms.
You can also sleep at one of the cave hotels in each of the mentioned cities in Cappadocia and enjoy visiting historical Greek mansions.
Cappadocia – Where to Visit
There are a lot of locations which can be visited in Cappadocia, the most important ones are mentioned here :
• Underground cities of Kaymakli, Derinkuyu, Gaziemir, Ozkonak, Mazikoy which have up to 8 stories of caves and tunnels. You need to pay a fee to enter each one.
• Traditional Greek houses in Sinasos
• Cavusin Church: it is located in a huge rocky mountain, where you can have a better look of Cavusin Valley and Castle at the top of this church.
• Goreme Open Air Museum: a place with a 15-minute walk from the city center of Goreme
• Dark Church in Goreme Open Air Museum
• Zelve Open Air Museum: a great cave city where you can walk among historical buildings, religious chambers and churches.
• Gumusler Monastery: a monastery hidden from the outside world and carved in rock.
• Ortahisar Castle: you can walk in cobblestone alleys and roads; then you go through inner caves and ladders.
What to Do
When you travel to Cappadocia, you can do various things based on your mood. Some of the most favorite ones are listed below :
• Hiking: it can be a great hobby for those who want to see different parts of this region which is inaccessible by car. You can go hiking in these places:
o Red Valley: there is a great road to go hiking in Meskindir and Rose Valley especially before the sunset.
The sharp stones of this place radiate the sun rays and make a beautiful red viewpoint.
During this road, you will walk through an old church in a cave and see yellow sandstones.
o Rose Valley: this place has sharp ridges in a pink color during sunset which is because of the minerals. One side of a ridge in this region is in the shadow when the other side is in the sun.
o Love Valley: you can go walking in this road to reach Uchisar Castle, as a great viewpoint in this region, for one to two hours and see rocks in funny shapes.
o Pasabag Valley: this place is famous for its fairy chimneys and cave buildings in two or three stories which can be seen during the road.
o Ihlara Valley: a place near Aksaray to walk in volcanic rocks with a lot of churches full of paintings and carvings.
o Pigeon Valley (Guvercinlik Valley): you can walk in a road abounded with trees and caves.
o Imaginary Valley (Devrent Valley): a place full of animal shapes rock formations. You may see different slippery hills on your way.
o Sword Valley: a very small place with cave dwellings and rock formations. It is good place at sunrise if you do not intend to fly in a hot air balloon
o Lover’s Hill: a place where you can take the most beautiful air balloon photos.
• Flying in a hot air balloon: a fairy scene is created at sunrise by having more than 100 balloons on the sky to see historical cave buildings of Goreme.
This place as considered as the number one hot air ballooning in the world. You can enjoy not only looking at the other balloons in the sky but also visiting historical places on the ground in a one-hour ride.
• Visiting Twin Fairy Chimneys: a place of naturally made rock shapes which are formed million years ago.
• Visitng Lake Tuz: a salt lake near Aksaray which away from Cappadocia from an hour drive. It has a great pink color while it is not really popular among tourists.
This great traditional region is beautiful both in winter and summer. The best time to fly with a hot air balloon is from April to October with warm nights and cool air.
It is better to check the weather predictions before going to Cappadocia because when the weather is windy, you cannot fly.