TURKEY - Cappadocia

20:20 Travel Bunny 2 Comments

DSC00420Located on the central Anatolia plateau, Cappadocia is a historical region within a volcanic landscape sculpted by erosion to form a succession of mountain ridges, valleys and pinnacles. Best known for its unique landscape, cave churches, houses carved in rocks and ancient underground city. Goreme National Park and the Rock Site of Cappadocia is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The name Cappadocia dates back from the late 6th Century BC during the Persian Empire. Cappadocia was traditionally used by Christians throughout history and is also mentioned in the Bible.

DSC00373Checked in to Kayakapi Premium Caves Hotel. We reached the hotel quite late that night, so I didn’t explore the hotel much. One might think that staying inside a cave is probably the furthest thing from a luxurious or comfortable accommodation. But it was really a pleasant surprise.


DSC00375This was what greeted my sight when I first open the hotel room door. It was more like a suite. There is a small area where I can hang my coats and sit down and enjoy the fruit. No, the fruit is not for display only. They were fresh fruit which is complimentary.


DSC00376And this is the room that I share with another colleague. A king bed and a single bed.


DSC00377This is the living room complete with fire place and a LCD TV.


DSC00378The bathroom is probably my favourite. This is the shower area. And surprise, surprise. Behind that door is actually a steam bathroom. No kidding! I forgot to take picture of the steam bathroom but it was really warm and cosy. I changed my clothes inside the steam bathroom after shower to avoid the cold.


DSC00382The next morning I woke up early and went for the hot air balloon ride. But the weather was bad, it was raining and the mist was thick. So we had to postpone the hot air balloon ride to the next morning. We went back to the hotel and took some photo before departing to our destination that day.


DSC00405The hotel had many picturesque spot. And every room or suite has slightly different design, layout or added amenities such as sauna, steam bathroom, Jacuzzi, extra bedroom and etc.


DSC00386This photo was taken in my boss’s parents suite. They had Jacuzzi in their bathroom, an extra bedroom and the suite was extra spacious. We were so envious.


DSC00391Kayakapi Premium Caves Hotel is located on a hill overlooking the surrounding area. Bus can only stop at the bottom of the hill and we’re being transported to the hotel by vans as the road leading to the hotel is narrow.


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DSC00401After breakfast, we departed to our first destination, Goreme Open Air Musuem.


DSC00407Goreme Open Air Musuem is an important tourist destination and a centre for all tourism in Cappadocia.


DSC00408As its name suggest, I thought I was going to visit a museum. In fact, Goreme Open Air Musuem is a vast monastic complex composed of scores of monasteries placed side by side.


DSC00409The entrance and exit of Goreme Open Air Musuem.


DSC00411This used to be a monastery for monks.


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DSC00424As we walked towards the main compound, beautiful rock formation and caves can be seen everywhere.


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DSC00427The compound comprises some 29 rock cut churches some as old as the 6th century.


DSC00435During that time, decoration of the sanctuaries was held to a minimum, usually symbols such as the depiction of the cross. It is during the the 10th, 11th and 12th century, where most of the churches in Goreme Open Air Museum belongs to, were dug into the rocks and were richly decorated with colourful frescoes. Christianity was the prevailing religion at that time evidently from the many rock churches that can be seen today.


DSC00433You have to climb some stairs to visit some of the churches.


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DSC00438The spectacular panoramic view of Goreme Open Air Museum.


DSC00442It was raining that day. I took shelter from the rain at the souvenir shop just beside the entrance.


DSC00446Some of the souvenirs sold in the shop. Really regretted that I didn’t buy the souvenir here because the tour leader told us that we will get similar souvenir with cheaper price elsewhere in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar and I believed him. Well, big mistake because Grand Bazaar only sell souvenir for Istanbul.


DSC00447Fortunately I did buy the hot air balloon miniature from the shop because I thought it was cute.


turkey 001We had a fun photo shoot wearing traditional Turkish clothes here though. One king and eight wives but the king doesn’t look very happy. Haha. Well, it costs10TL per photo. But because we shoot in a group, we had discounted price – 150TL for a CD containing all softcopy of the photos taken and one hardcopy of the photo for each and every one in the group.


DSC00468Next stop, Kaymakli Underground City.


DSC00467There are a total of of 36 underground cities in Cappadocia and the two most visited are Kaymakli and Derinkuyu. The ancient Underground City of Derinkuyu is the deepest and the largest excavated underground city and is thought that as many as 20,000 people could take refuge here. 

The main reason of existence of these towns was to provide refuge during the recurring threat by the invading armies. Opened to visitors in 1964, only four out of the total of eight floors are opened to the public.

DSC00448Just like other underground cities, the first floor is the stable as it is difficult to take animals any lower underground.

Contained under a hill known as the Citadel of Kaymakli, the people of Kaymakli constructed their house around nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city. The organised, structured and comprehensive nature of the city had the necessities from living space, stables and communal kitchens to a church and graveyard as well as being well fortified to protect its inhabitant.


DSC00452The storage area, wineries and kitchen is located on the third level.


DSC00465The elaborate labyrinth of tunnels and caves of Kaymakli Underground City.


DSC00451This is possibly the living areas. Although in existent more than a thousand years, the underground city is still well preserved.


DSC00455The passage contains a millstone door that leads to another underground town which is 11km away!


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DSC00459The ventilation shafts is deep, reaching all the way down to the bottom of the underground city.

 
DSC00461Some passages are quite narrow and have low ceiling. So we have to bend down or squat to get through the passage.


DSC00463There are a lot of staircase to climb too inside the underground city. Didn’t spend very long time exploring the area as only a fraction (10%) of the complex is open to visitors.   


DSC00511Our next stop is Panoramic View which is a great viewpoint to see the vast landscape of fairy chimneys.


DSC00509Cappadocia is most famous for its unique geological features called ‘Fairy Chimneys. Well, it sure looks a bit like a chimney but how was it actually formed? The softer rock was eroded by the wind, rain and snow, leaving the hard cap rock on top of the pillars, forming the present day fairy chimneys.


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DSC00524The stunning landscape of Panoramic View.


DSC00520It even snowed a bit that day. The snow was too fine and brief to be captured in photo unless you really squint.


DSC00525Our last stopover is Guvercinlik Vadisi or better known as the Pigeon Valley. It is the longest valley that can be visited in Cappadocia.
 
 
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DSC00526View of Pigeon Valley. The rocky wonderland is honeycombed with living quarters. Even though the dwellings are now museums, some still serves as home and others as hotels.  


DSC00482Uchisar is another small town in Cappadocia. One of the many small dwellings are carved into the rock.


DSC00497Passed by another town in Cappadocia, the old city of Avanos. Avanos, whose name in ancient times was Venessa is known for its production of earthenware pottery for centuries. Avanos overlooks the longest river in turkey, Kizilirmak (Red River), which also separates Avanos from the rest of Cappadocia.


DSC00499The ceramic clay from the red silt of the Red River has always been used for the ceramic industry in this district and its countless pottery factories date right back to the Hittites, which is a few thousand years ago.  


DSC00540At night, we attended a Turkish night show at Yasar Baba Restaurant.


DSC00543The first dance is the whirling dervishes. They switched off the lights while they danced. I didn’t manage to have a good photo to show the whirling dervishes though.


DSC00566Another dance from the dancers.


DSC00567The bride dressed in red dress and veil entered by riding a horse. This performance showed the traditional way in which a girl gets married in Turkey. The groom first tried to court her by showing how handsome he is, how strong he is and how rich he is. But the bride refused all his attempts. She only accepted him when he showed her that his heart only beats for her.


DSC00572Then while they started their wedding dance, the guests were invited to dance with them.


DSC00570The highlight of the night was supposed to be belly dancing. But guess what. The food was so bad that none of us could stomach all of it. (See above photo of all the leftovers. Even the French fries was bad and the bread was hard as rock. Can you imagine that?) And to be honest, the dance shows were pretty boring with no narration of the meaning of the dances. So we all agreed to retire to the hotel earlier and gave the belly dance a miss. My advice is give this Turkish night show a miss. The money is better spent elsewhere. You’ll miss nothing, really.


DSC00425Like Bryce Canyon in US,  the spectacular landscape of the Rock Sites of Cappadocia through erosional force provides a globally renowned and display of hoodoo landforms.

But this is not all. If you can afford it, don’t miss the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. The altitude will give you a whole new perspective of the unique landscape and rock formation in Cappadocia. My next posting will be the my experience of riding a hot air balloon ride in this area.


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2 comments:

  1. Amir Shahzad Khan16 January 2014 at 05:08

    nice and quite informative
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much for the post.!!

    ReplyDelete