First Timer’s Travel Guide to Cappadocia
Travel Guide to Cappadocia .Cappadocia is an ancient and wondrous region found in modern day Turkey. The region’s history is vast and can even be found mentioned in the Christian Bible. The mystique and strategic position of the region has caused many great leaders, including Alexander the Great, to fight for it. Today, the Cappadocian trail continues to attract people from around the world. Drawn by the natural phenomena and the layers of human history which can be found in every cave, tourists continue to find themselves enchanted by this ancient place, and it all starts in the city of Göreme.
It began with six volcanoes: Erciyes, Develi, Melendiz, Kechiboyduran, Hassan and Gulludag. For thousands of years, these fuming volcanoes covered the area with ash and lava. That volcanic waste created a great plateau. Thousands of years of exposure to the elements has carved Cappadocia into its unique form we see today. The process of destruction of the plateau and the creation of new features continues to this day – some pillars crumble whilst others appear.This soft rock with plenty of caves and protective valleys has been the sanctuary for people for centuries. The rock acts as insulation and guards against both harsh summer heat and bitter winter cold.
It is surprising that the cave dwellings in Cappadocia were hollowed out as early as the second millennium BC. Between the sixth and ninth centuries, Göreme was occupied mainly by Christians. During their occupation, they managed to carve over 400 churches into the soft walls of the mountains and hills. Many wore away with time, while some others were destroyed when the Ottomans invaded. Today you will be amazed to find whole three and four star hotels, hollowed out in the rock!
Best ways to do it :
- Rent a scooter to explore the local valleys. A fast and efficient way to get around and soak up the unimaginable landscape.
- Sign up for a tour leading from Göreme to the cave city of Derenkuyu through the Ihlara Canyon. The information and legends bestowed by a local guide are insightful and add value to your visit.
- Take a walk along the old streets of Göreme, visit souvenir shops and, if the opportunity allows, be sure to purchase one of the luxury handmade carpets.
- Explore in detail the ancient frescoes decorating the walls of temple shrines dug in the middle of the rocks in great abundance. The largest number of these objects of ancient culture is concentrated in the open-air museum.
- Immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere of the city underground, explore the local labyrinths from rooms and passages to feel for yourself how the first Christians survived here many centuries ago, who avoided Arab persecution and sought protection within these walls.
- Visit one of the local eateries to taste the unsurpassed traditional food, Testi Kebabi – meat with vegetables, baked in a clay pot.
- At least for one night, stay in a cozy hotel, carved into a cave. Despite the rather plain and archaic exterior, inside such mini-hotels you can find all the benefits of modern civilization.
Facts & Tips
- Despite the dry desert landscape, the land here is very fertile. A large number of grapes grow here, which are supplied to almost all of Turkey. Cappadocia also grows beets, apricots and chickpeas.
- Rumour has it that it was the landscapes of Cappadocia that inspired director George Lucas to create the planet Tatooine in the famous Star Wars. In addition, the area has repeatedly become the set for famous Hollywood films such as Empire of the Wolves and The Ghost Rider.
- Many locals still use the caves as their permanent home.
- The ideal months to visit Cappadocia are May, June, September and October. At this time, it is not so hot, but not cold, there is practically no clouds or rain.
I hope this travel guide to Cappadocia was helpful !