Cappadocia, Turkey – Hidden Cities and Rock-Carved Churches
If you are a traveler who loves discovering different landscapes then Cappadocia is the perfect place for you. With a park recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Goreme’s mystifying landscape is a perfect spot for biking, walking and for enjoyin cultural heritage Cappadocia boasts churches carved from mountain rocks and is quite a sight to see!
Formed over a long period of time and covering an area of 300 square kilometers, Cappadocia is the product of erupting volcanoes and the combination of wind and free flowing water. Chimney-like columns were formed of materials called tufa and capped off by solid rocks, resulting in the exquisite landscape which visitors come to see. If you’re headed to Turkey, make sure to visit Cappodocia.
The Byzantines used this perfect landscape and accompanying materials to create houses, store rooms, stables and even churches, thus building complete underground cities. Although many communities followed their example with their own underground cities, like those found in Zelve, the painted churches proved to be the main attraction for visitors. Paintings of saints and the passion of Christ are made available for viewing at the Goreme Open Air Museum and continuously attract tourists to this place.
The Karanlik Church, built between the ninth and eleventh centuries, is one of the famous churches that can be found in the Goreme Open Air Museum. It is considered the center of monastery communes. The Tokali Church holds the same radiance and is worth a visit as well.
Although there are approximately 40 underground cities in this place, only a few are open to tourists. The Kaymakli and the Derinkuyu are one of them. The Derinkuyu which is an 8 storey underground city, with the first 4 open for exploration, attests to the untold skill of the designers of this landscape. Uchisar visitors are even given the privilege of reaching the peak of the castle found inside the town and are presented with the magnificent view of the entire landscape.
Activities in Cappadocia
A guided tour is the most effective way to visit Cappadocia. A guided tour not only gives you the chance to explore the landscape fully but you are also rewarded with accompanying history. A full day’s trip would suffice for a tour of the Goreme Open Air Museum and another day or two to explore the Ilhara Valley. The Ilhara Valley provides hikers with a 16 km hike trail with an accompanying view of 60 or more rock-carved churches. From Goreme, the Zelve is near enough to reach. However, the best way to really view the entire landscape would be through a balloon ride over the landscape itself.
Getting Around Cappadocia
Minibus, shared taxis or Dolmuses allow tourists to get the most of their visit to Cappadocia. Often times a driving tourguide is hired to get access and explore the Ilhara Valley and the Derinkuyu. Although for most explorers, hiking or biking is the best way to get around Cappadocia.
Have you been to Cappadocia, Turkey before? What did you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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