Cappadocia: A Turkish Delight
If you like fairytale landscapes and otherworldly scenery, then make Cappadocia the next destination on your travel bucket list.
Located in Anatolia, in the western most part of Asian Turkey, the surrealist yet natural geology of honeycombed hills and towering boulders is unique to say the least.
The area has attracted visitors for centuries, and whether it’s the natural topography that appeals, or the many man-made features, there truly is something for everyone.
The Top Five Cappadocia Highlights of Our Turkey Tours
In no particular order…
Göreme Open-Air Museum
One of Turkey’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Göreme Open-Air Museum is an essential stop on any of our Turkey tour packages. The site was initially an important Byzantine monastic settlement, which, in the 17th century, then became a pilgrimage site. With its myriad rock-cut churches, chapels and monasteries, Göreme is as unique as it is surreal.
The stunning, fresco-filled Karanlık Kilise is the most famous of Göreme’s churches. The name originated from the church’s lack of light, but by chance that was the very thing that preserved the vivid colour of the frescoes, which show, among other things, the Betrayal by Judas.
The Cave Churches of Aziz Basil Şapeli and Yılanlı Kilise
Byzantine soldiers carved the 11th century Azize Barbara Şapeli, and dedicated it to one of Cappadocia’s most important saints, St. Basil, and they also painted the mysterious red ochre scenes on the roof.
A little way up the hill is the Yılanlı Kilise, or The Snake Church, also called the Church of St Onuphrius, where St. George of George and the Dragon fame claimed his name. Both are interesting in their own way, and well worth the hot and dusty walk.
Imagination Runs Wild in Devrent Valley
Locally known as ‘Imagination Valley’, Devrent Valley’s quirky rock formations are some of the most amazing in Cappadocia. It’s not difficult to see how it got its nickname, and it’s fun to try and spot the famous dolphins and seals, Napoleon’s hat or the Virgin Mary amongst the stones.
Most of the pinkish orange rocks are topped by flattish, darker stone that sheltered those below from the rain. Geologists have a name for the phenomena: differential erosion. We just call it bizarre.
The Secrets of the Ihlara Valley
On the far western edge of Cappedocia, and hidden in the quaint mountain village of Güzelyurt, is the Ihlara Valley. Filled with cave and rock cut churches, it is also known as Monastery Valley, and with its own underground city running under the main street, the lifestyle here is timeless and traditional.
Panoramic viewpoints are endless and everywhere, and if you’re a keen photographer, Ihlara Valley is a must-see place for you.
Following in Jesus’ Footsteps
The 13th century Çarıklı Kilise is famous for footprints. But they are no ordinary footprints, and represent the last imprints left by Jesus before his ascension to heaven. Gospel writers are depicted beneath the central dome, and to the left is the Betrayal by Judas.
Maybe it is the world class hiking that has lured you to Cappadocia, or the richness of its religious history? Or maybe you are attracted by the unique and dreamlike quality of the landscapes, or the ingenuity of the ancient architecture? Or maybe you just want to play a troglodyte for a night, and sleep in a cave?
Whatever it was that made you choose Cappadocia, any visit to this stunning area of Turkey will provide you memories that will last a lifetime.