A visit to Cappadocia

Why visit Cappadocia?

Cappadocia

The Cappadocian region is the place where nature and history come together most beautifully within the world. While geographic events are forming Peribacalari (fairy chimneys), during the historical period, humans had carried the signs of thousand years old civilizations with carving houses and churches within these earth pillars and decorating them with frisks.

During the Roman Emperor, Augustus period, territories of Cappadocian Region as a wide region lying till to the Toros Mountains at south, Aksaray at west, Malatya at east and Eastern Black Sea shores at north – within the 17 volume book named ‘Geographika’ of Strabon, one of the Antic Period writers.

Today’s Cappadocian Region is the area covered by Nevsehir, Aksaray, Nigde, Kayseri, and Kirsehir cities. More limited area, rocky Cappadocian Region is composed of Üçhisar, Göreme, Avanos, Ürgüp, Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, Ihlara and environment.

Traditional Cappadocian houses and dovecotes carved into stones show how unique the region is. These houses are constructed at the feet of the mountain via rocks or cut stones.

Rock, which is the only construction material of the region that is available is very soft and can be easily quarried and processed because of its structure. However after contact with air it hardens and turns into a very strong construction material.

Cappadocia

Due to being plentiful and easy to process the used material, regional unique masonry has been developed and turned into an architectural tradition. Materials of neither courtyard nor house doors is wood. Upper parts of the doors built with arches are decorated with stylized ivy or rosette motifs.

Dovecotes within the region are small structures constructed within 18th century and end of 19th century. Some of the dovecotes, which are important for showing Islamic picture art are constructed as monastery or church. Surfaces of dovecotes are decorated with rich inscriptions and adornments by regional artists.

URGUP

Urgup, 20 km east of Nevsehir, is one of the most important centres of the Cappadocia region. Like Goreme, it had numerous names in the course of its history, and its cave dwellings scattered around the village make it a very tourist-friendly destination. It has many hotels and guest-houses, good entertainment, old Greek houses from before the population exchange of 1923, and an atmosphere which has remained attached to its tradition despite a modernising tourist industry.

It is a good base to explore the nearby Goreme Valley.

Climate

From season to season, the climate is quite extreme. Summers are hot and dry, with warm nights. Winters are cold and it can even snow, while spring and autumn are mild.

History

With a geological structure of volcanic formations, Urgup was established within the region which had been shaped into fantastic forms known as ‘Fairy Chimneys’, through erosions of water and wind. The were formed as floodwater poured down the sides of the valleys, combined with strong winds which tore away the softer volcanic rocks, resulting in this unique landscape. It is an important centre in Cappadocia, and has been known by many names: Osian (Assiana), Hagios Prokopios (Byzantine), Bashisar (Seljuk), Burgat Kaalesi (Ottoman) and finally Urgup, from shortly after the founding of the Turkish Republic.

Cappadocian night

AVANOS

The old city of Avanos overlooks the longest river the Turkey, the Kizilirmak (Red River), which also separates it from the rest of Cappadocia. Located 18 km north of Nevsehir, the ancient name of this city used to be Venessa. The most famous historical feature of Avanos, which is still relevant and very visible today, is its production of earthenware pottery. The ceramic trade in this district and its countless pottery factories date right back to the Hittites, and the ceramic clay from the red silt of the Kizilirmak has always been used. It is a popular destination because of its attractive old town with cobbled streets, and superb views over the river.

Climate

Summers are hot and dry, while winters are cold and wet.

GOREME

Goreme, which hide among fairy chimneys, is the heart of Cappadocia. First period settlement within the region reaches to Roman period from Christianity. Ortahane, Durmus Kadir, Yusuf Koc and Bezirhane churches in Göreme, houses and shafts engraved from rocks till to Uzundere, Bagildere and Zemi Valley carries the mystical side of history today.

Devrent Valley: The wonderful and impresive valley of fairly chimneys. A short walk through this enchanting valley using your imagination to see the different shapes at the top of the fairy chimneys.

Pancarlik Valley: Where you can stop to see the 12th century chruch with its splendid frescoes.

Mustafapasa (Sinasos): The traditional stone houses with carved and decorated facades evoke another age.

Taskinpasa: The 14th century Karamanid Mosque and Mausoleum Complex and the remains of a medrese portal on the edge of town, make for a pleasant diversion.

Zelve: An important and ancient town in Cappadocia comprised of dwellings in the rocks. An adventurous hour is spent here walking through the three valleys in which the town was located.

Pasabag: (The Monks Valley) in this spectecular spot you can see the fascinating fairy chimneys unique to this location, as well as the hermitages carved into fairy chimneys.

Uchisar: The ancient citadel for a panaromic view of the rocky Cappdocia. The castle is the highest point in Cappadocia.

Guvercinlik: (Pigeons Valley) A stop here for a panaromic view of the valley and to learn something about the importance of pigeons in the history of Cappadocia.

Underground Cities: The most famous, the largest and biggest under ground city in the region eight levels open for inspection.

Ihlara: (Collapsed land) The Melendiz River has eroded this impressive canyon into the walls of which Byzantine rock chapels covered with frescos, have been cut.

Soganli: 50 km south of Urgup, is a picturesque valley of innumerable chapels, chruches, halls, houses and tombs. The frescoes, from the 8th to the 13th century, trace the development of Byzantine painting.

Devrent Valley: 4 km north of Urgup, is the wonderful weather has eroded the stone into peaks, cones and obelisks called fairy chimneys.

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