Located at the heart of Central Anatolia, which coincidentally, almost is the centre of Turkey, Cappadocia has one of the most unique landscapes on earth, with rocks of various shapes and colours formed through centuries of wind and rain erosion. Because of its out-of-this-world scenery, movies such as Star Wars and Ghost Rider, which required a believable sci-fi backdrop, were filmed here. Today, it’s among the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey, second only to Istanbul. Now tourist s can apply for Turkey visa online.
Hiking around the valleys in Goreme is the best way to experience the natural beauty of Cappadocia. With names like Rose Valley, Red Valley, Sword Valley and Pigeon Valley, each named after a certain characteristic of the rock formations in that area, you’ll never be bored and the only thing limiting your sightseeing would be your leg power.
Red Valley has rocks that are in varying shades of red, pink and yellow.
It offers the perfect sunset, especially if you have a glass of Cappadocian wine in hand.
Pigeon Valley was named for being the resting home to pigeons in the past. The rocks have many holes in them where the pigeons used to reside in.
Sword Valley houses the tall, straight and pointed rocks. Locals often joke about the phallic appearance of the rocks, naming them after different nationalities based on size and width. Naturally, the “Turkish” rock was the tallest and thickest.
If you want a change of scenery from the arid and desert–like conditions of Goreme, head to Ilhara Valley near Aksaray. It is the only area with lush greenery and a river flowing through it, and the rocks here boasts dramatic steep drops as you walk through the valley.
It is also home to some of the most beautifully-painted church frescos in Cappadocia, which despite all the erosion, managed to survive the test of time.
One of the best memories you can create of Cappadocia would be to watch sunset from a hot-air balloon. Most balloon tour packages offer a champagne breakfast which you can slowly partake in as the crew sets up your hot-air balloon.
Even if you do not wish to get on the balloon, just climbing to one of the valleys and watching the morning sky get covered with colourful balloons is quite an experience. It’s hard to decide which to focus on, the explosion of colours from the balloons or the sunset.
Another fun thing to do is to stay a night or two in a cave hotel. Many hotels are carved into the rock formations, and have horse ranches nearby. You can enjoy the typical comforts of a luxurious hotel while marveling in the fact that you’re surrounded by natural stone and rock walls.
If you are in Cappadocia for a few days, do head out to Uchisar, which is a few kilometres from Goreme. The iconic Uchisar castle is visible from afar, and is unlike the European castle image that popped into your mind when you read the word “castle”. The castle looks like a huge, irregularly-shaped rock, but was once home to emperors during the Byzantine era. Not only does the castle offer a panoramic view of Cappadocia, it also gives you a reason to explore the little town of Uchisar. With little streets full of quaint shops selling local produce, you could easily spend a whole day here.
Uchisar also leads to Derinkuyu, the largest underground city in Anatolia. Constructed by the Romans and Greeks as protection from the Arab-Muslims around 8BC, Derinkuyu has 8 levels of underground cities, each with specialized rooms linked through a special system that only those who constructed them could easily navigate.
Hopefully this article has piqued your interest in Cappadocia to warrant a trip there!
About The Guest Blogger