Cappadocia Region in TURKEY

 

CAPPADOCIA

The biblical realm of Cappadocia, south of Ankara in Central Anatolia, is a wonderland of unique geographic ormations sprinkled with green vineyards and fruit orchards.  Agriculture  thrives in the mineral-rich volcanic soil, making this one of Turkey’s premier wine-making regions.

Cappadocia baloons

The most famous sight in the region is the Goreme Open Air Musuem, a moonscape volcanic valley filled with richly-painted monastic churches hollowed from the soft volcanic stone.  In neighboring valleys and villages, local people have dug homes, storehouses, stables, grain, mills, dovecote, and other necessary living spaces right from the rock. 

Tour the region and you’ll find much more.  The nearby valley of Zelve is impressive, and the natural citadel at Uchisar gives visitors a panorama over the entire region.  (The only way to get a better view is to take a hot air balloon ride, for which the region is famous.)  In the valley of the Fairy Chimneys, huge boulders balance precariously atop spindly cones of volcanic turf.  In other valleys the pale yellow stone lays in folds just like cloth, and turns to gold in the late afternoon sun.
The otherworldly beauty of the Cappadocian landscape makes it an excellent place for walks and horseback rides.  Numerous paths have been laid out and marked, going from village to village through the vineyards and across the volcanic hills. 

Dramatic terrain aside, the towns and villages of Cappadocia are attractions in themselves.  Goreme and Urgup are tourist centers, but also authentic local farming towns.  Avanos is famous for its pottery ateliers where pots both artful and useful are made by hand. Neveshir, a provincial capital, has a good museum and a Seljuk-era hilltop fortress.  Kayseri, at the eastern edge of the region, is a carpet-weaving center with an ancient fortress at its center, many monumental Seljuk  Turkish buildings from the 1200s, and lots of carpet shops.  In the southern part of the region, vast underground cities lie beneath the surface.  These labyrinths, which extend as much as eight levels down into the earth, were constructed by peaceful farming peoples who lived under the threat of attack by the warlike Arabic tribes, that often marched across the land bridge of Anatolia.  The farmers could retreat to their underground warren’s, roll stone wheel-doors across the entrances, and live for months on stored food.  Many of the underground cities are now equipped with electric lighting and directional signs, so you needn’t fear getting lost in the labyrinth.

The famous Silk Road passed right through Cappadocia in ancient times.  You can still visit several of the monumental “truck stops” built by the Seljuk Turkish sultan to accommodate these wealthy traders.  The great caravanserais of Sultan Han,  Agzikarahan and Karatay Han included all the services needed by the caravans: strong walls for safety, Turkish baths, mosques, refectories, dormitories and, of course, an accounting office.  Poorer travelers were able to stay there for up to 3 days without a fee as the caravanserais were managed by a pious foundation and a large part of their income came from the donations of the wealthy.

Cappadocia's  belongs to the Central Anatolia climatic region  with hot, dry summers and cold winters.

Tours of Turkey and Aegean Islands cruises   

Religious and Archeology holidays in Turkey

History of Anatolia

 

 

 

 

 

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