If you are looking for some adventurous action which can be experienced only in Turkey, a visit to Cappadocia definitely should be first on your list! Cappadocia is one of the most tourist attracting regions in Turkey with its unique fairy chimneys, interestingly shaped caves created by volcanic activity and landscapes molded by the lava. The name “Cappadocia” (Kapadokya in Turkish) originates from the Persian for “land of the beautiful horses”.
Telling the story of the region is the best way to begin this article because all the beautiful rock formations owe their beauty to what happened there about three million years ago. After an explosion of one of the biggest volcanic mountains in Turkey, a region about 5,000 km2 around the mountain was buried under lava and ash. Afterwards, the erosional effects of rain and strong wind made surprising changes to the surviving landscape. The smooth soil was eroded and the strongest soil remained sitting on little towers like a hat! These mushroom-shaped formations that we call “fairy chimneys” were discovered by local people and their reputation spread around the world!
Göreme Open Air Museum where the caves shaped by volcanic activities are located is one of the most interesting attractions of the Cappadocia region. It is a collection of painted churches with stunning frescoes that have survived for hundreds of years. You can also visit all the graves and see the skeletons which were found during excavation work and daily living areas such as kitchens, bathrooms.
Some interesting facts about the Fairy Land:
- Thanks to the lava, the land of Cappadocia is one of the most fertile plateaus in the world. The worldwide famous grape vines and pumpkin fields can be seen from roads while travelling.
- It is not necessary to have your meals in ordinary restaurants if you are spending your days in Cappadocia. Instead you can sip your wine in the restaurants built into the caves themselves!
- You can even experience riding a camel among the fairy chimneys!
- When the night falls, there’s still a chance to experience Turkish culture and the best way to do so is in a hamam (Turkish bath) which provides you with ultimate relaxation! While you are having a foam massage, you can drink apple tea lying on hot stones
- If you like the scenery of the fairy chimneys, you can take a hot air balloon tour which enables you to watch Cappadocia from about 500 meters above as the sun rises. This once in a lifetime experience is also very romantic, so you will always have a memory to tell your grandchildren.
All the fascinating things about Cappadocia are not in the foreground! The less known mystery of is hidden underneath the fairy chimneys, the underground cities that Christians spent their years in these cities to protect themselves from Arab invasion and the biggest one of them, Derinkuyu Underground City, is definitely worth visiting. It features seven levels below ground, where people created a new home. The tunnels connecting the floors and the rooms are so small that you have to bend to be able to move forward inside them. The main reason that the tunnels are so narrow, is so that their enemies wouldn’t believe anyone could live down there and would go elsewhere.
Cappadocia and Göreme Open Air Museum have been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for the more than 200 underground cities and unique characteristic landscapes. If you have a chance to visit the magnificent Cappadocia region, you should definitely go to find yourself inside these chimneys!