A lunar landscape of a science fiction film, but with caves carved into the rock by a thousand-year-old culture, seasoned with glidings in hot-air balloons, succulent delicacies worthy of literary epics and history and adventure, a lot of adventure. Just a few hours away from Europe by plane. It exists, and it is in Turkey. Right in the heart of the Ottoman nation, to be more precise.
Cappadocia is a legendary rocky region with a unique landscape in the whole world, formed by its eroded erect pillars of limestone, where the most remote civilizations settled, as the Assyrian or Hittite. The limestone is very malleable, so its inhabitants were able to make caves throughout the region, some of which remained inhabited until a few decades ago.
Getting to Cappadocia, preferably from Istanbul, is not very difficult. There are daily connections from the Bosphorus city of only an hour and a half. The traveler can choose to stay in the small towns of Göreme or Uçhisar, both fascinating.
The traveler can also choose the small town of Ürgup on the slopes of the Göreme National Historical Park, a VIP option to stay.
Before starting the tour, we propose you to stay in the refined Hotel Boutique MDC Cave of Ürgup, which opened to the public in 2011. Its luxury suites in stone with marble bathrooms and jacuzzi will surprise you.
Once established, the explorer can take the road to venture into the 50 km diameter of Cappadocia.
The Rose Valley in Göreme is the main attraction of the region, with its pillars scattered in the form of slender chimneys with an easy access by foot. Following the well-marked path, you can reach Kolonlu Kilise, the small columned church carved in the white stone.
Another obligatory stop in this mystical region is Derinkuyu, the underground citadel of the ancient Hittites, located just 40 km from Göreme and which has 7 levels excavated in the rock, the deepest one is situated 85 m underground.
The underground cities in Cappadocia (36 different have been discovered), were not intended for permanent housing, but as a temporary refuge during the long periods of enemy attacks.
Back north, near Göreme, you will find another unlikely site of Turkish geology. The valley of Zelve of copper earth hosted settlers in its caverns until the decade of the fifties in the XX century. It is, in fact, the confluence of three connected valleys, where in addition to the old human settlement, you can see a mosque in the rock, a mill and the primitive churches of the Grapes (Üzümlü Kilise) and Fish (Balıklı Kilise).
Before continuing our trip, we will stop at one of the best restaurants evaluated by the experts and enthusiasts of the elaborate Turkish cuisine. Very close to the Zelve Valley, going back to the south through Göreme, we find Seyyah Han, with an extensive menu of typical delicacies from the Turkish center, cooked in a traditional wood oven.
If you are a lover of lamb or spiced beef, this restaurant built in stone, halfway between the luxury and the familiar side, will become one of the unforgettable experiences of the trip. The sunset views from the terrace of the Seyyah Han towards the caves of Çavusin will remain in your retina for a long time after leaving.
Situated in the Southwest of Göreme, in the town of Uçhisar, a high rocky outcrop, with a gallery of tunnels dug for centuries by its ancient inhabitants, we find another mandatory stop. It is the “Castle” of Uchisar which controls the whole town.
For centuries inhabited, nowadays all the rooms cannot be visited due to the collapse and deterioration of some of them. Until recently, some of them were used as pigeon lofts by local farmers, who used the guano of these birds as an excellent fertilizer.
However, as a genuine VIP traveler, you cannot leave Cappadocia without having flown over its lunar valleys with the help of a hot-air balloon. The geomorphological beauty of the whole region, in conjunction with its optimal atmospheric conditions, will allow the traveler to climb up to 300 m on walks of an hour and a half with the accurate explanation of a qualified guide.
Following this exclusive itinerary designed by Magazine Horse, or any other which best fits you, we can say that Cappadocia is worth a thorough visit, because in this millennial place, each of its corners keeps the most interesting footprints of the passage of time.