Cappadocia (Turkish: Kapadokya) is an area in Central Anatolia in Turkey best known for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved in the rocks.
The Cappadocian Region located in the center of the Anatolian Region of Turkey, with its valley, canyon, hills and unusual rock formation created as a result of the eroding rains and winds of thousands of years of the level, lava-covered plain located between the volcanic mountains Erciyes, Melendiz and Hasan as well as its troglodyte dwellings carved out of the rock and cities dug out into underground, presents an otherworldly appearance. The eruptions of these mountains which were active volcanoes in geological times lasted until 2 million years ago. A soft tuff layer was formed, 150 m in thickness, by the issuing lavas in the valley surrounded by mountains. The rivers, flood water running down the hillsides of valleys and strong winds eroded the geological formations consisting of tuff on the plateau formed with tuff layers, thus creating bizarre shapes called fairy Chimneys. These take on the names of mushroom shaped, pinnacled, capped and conic shaped formations. The prehistoric settlements of the area are Koskhoyuk (Kosk Mound) in Nigde, Aksaray Asikli Mound, Nevsehir Civelek cave and, in the southeast, Kultepe, Kanis and Alisar in the environs of Kayseri. This area with unusual topographic characteristics was regarded as sacred and called, in the Scythian/Khatti language, as Khepatukha, meaning "the country of the people of the chief god Hepat", although there are more poetic claims on the origin of the region's name, such as the Old Persian Katpatuka, which allegedly means "the land of beautiful horses". The tablets called Cappadocian Tablets and the Hittite works of art in Alisar are of the important remains dating from 2000s B.C. After 1200s B.C., the Tabal principality, of the Khatti Branches of Scythians, became strong and founded the Kingdom of Tabal. Following the Late Hittite and Persian aras, the Cappadocian Kingdom was established in 332 B.C. During the Roman era the area served as a shelter for the early escaping Christians. There are also several underground cities used by early Christians as hideouts in Cappadocia.
- Nevşehir — The main province of Cappadocia.
- Ürgüp — The biggest town and heart of Cappadocia.
- Göreme — Cave Houses built into the Fairy Chimneys.
- Uçhisar — The highest point of the region with it's natural rock castle.
- Avanos — Pottery town which is divided into two by the longest river of Turkey (Kızılırmak).
- Ortahisar — A small village famous with its rock castle.
- Mustafapaşa — Old Greek village.
- Guzelyurt — historic Greek Town in Cappadocia . There are underground cities, St. Gregorius church, Red Church, Monestary valley
- Ihlara — Biggest Canyon in Cappadocia. 1.2 million visitors every year
- Ihlara Valley (Ihlara Vadisi) — lots of churches carved into rocks, this valley is about an hour west of the core of Cappadocia, i.e. Ürgüp/Göreme area
Discouraged by its remoteness?
Due to location, roundtrip travel to Cappadocia can be tiring via bus, or expensive via plane. As such, many opt to visit as part of a somewhat larger circular tour of W. Turkey, usually utilizing the well-developed intercity bus system and/or one-way flights.
Most of the bus companies have bus services to Nevsehir and Göreme. By bus:
The fastest and most comfortable way of reaching Cappadocia is using the airway. There are two main airports that you can use to reach Cappadocia. One of them is Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR) located in Kayseri and nearly one hour driving to the center of Cappadocia region. Turkish Airlines operates several direct (nonstop) flights from Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) to Kayseri Erkilet Airport. There are also daily flights from Izmir into Kayseri via Istanbul. It's easy to arrange a transfer or shuttle bus from Kayseri Airport to Cappadocia.
The second one is Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV), which is located in Gülşehir town of Nevşehir Province. Turkish Airlines operates direct (nonstop) flight from Istanbul Ataturk to Nevsehir Kapadokya twice a day.
Kayseri is on a busy railway route. It is possible to find suitable trains to Kayseri from almost all the train stations of Turkey. From Kayseri, you can take bus to go to Göreme.
Due to the very low population density which leads to limited public transportation, and spread out nature of the sites (Cappadocia is a region, not an area), one may want to consider either renting a car or hiring a tour package. You can also have a look to Mappadocia - The Map of Cappadocia, which informs about main attractions and hiking paths.
- Underground cities. Up to 8 stories of underground tunnels and caves in Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu (cost 15 TL each), Gaziemir, Özkonak (free, but closed as of Oct 15, 2011 until further notice) or Mazıköy.
- Old greek houses in Sinasos
- Göreme Open Air Museum (cost 20 TL pp as of August 2014)
- Ihlara Canyon
- Dark Church in Goreme Open Air Museum
- Zelve Open Air Museum
- Selime Cathedral
- Gaziemir Undergorund City
- Gümüşler Monastery, (10 km from Niğde in the village of Gümüşler). Spectacular monastery carved in rock, hidden from the outside world. Dated at 10-11th century and only recovered in the 1960s. The ticket seller speaks some English and can give you a tour. The monastery has some well preserved frescoes, including the only smiling (Mona Lisa style) Madonna in the world. 3 TL.
- Hiking - Following the paths along the valleys is an amazing (and free) option. Check with your hotel owner or the tourist office for a map of the area with suggested walks and trails. There are several nice loops on packed dirt, sand and rock, that maintain a constant elevation and pass through the scenic valleys. However, please be aware of your surroundings, as some less-traveled trails are frequented by packs of stray dogs who may exhibit aggression toward perceived threats.
- Güvercinlik (Pigeon) Valley - You can hike the Pigeon Valley between Göreme and Uçhisar. The 4km trail starts from the road near the Ataman Hotel on the south side of Göreme or on the paved road on the north side of the hill where Uçhisar Castle sits in Uçhisar. Both trailheads are signed. Stick to the more traveled trails and you will have no trouble finding your way on this moderately hilly hike. The path through the valley offers spectacular views of the natural cliffs and the man-made caves and passes through a few tunnels carved into the rock.
- You can hike Gulludere, the Rose Valleys. Follow the road out of Goreme towards the Open Air Museum and Ortahisar. Shortly after the Open Air Valley you will come to a look out point on the left. Here you can apparently find a marked rock, and from there you should apparently take the right hand trail. However if you cannot find the marked rock, just look over the edge and you should see paths marked with the word "Rose" and red arrows. Take the arrows to the right away from the paths heading to Goreme (because they point to the left and right) so that you can get good views of the valley and descend into Rose Valley II. In Rose Valley II, there are plenty caves you can explore. Notably is a 4 level one deep in the valley, on the right hand of the path if you walking away from Cavusin. As of November 2015, you may be able to ask the gentleman at the cafe at the entrance of Rose Valley II for help finding this cave, his English is all right. There are many different trails and caves to explore in this area. Afterwards, continue heading towards Cavusin. Eventually you will pass the entrance to Rose Valley I on your right. Eventually you will end up at Cavusin- the trail essentially takes you from the lookout at Ortahisar to Cavusin. If you are staying in Goreme, you can take a dolmush/mini bus back to Goreme by walking through Cavusin until you are at the highway, and then wait on the side of the highway (opposite Cavusin Seramik).
- Rose Valley, (From Çavuşin, Ortahisar and Kızılçukur). Beautiful green valley.
From Kale Church in Rose Valley
- Cross Golf, . Cappadocia is a national park and its natural environment must be protected for everyone to enjoy today and in the future.Cross Golf uses the natural features of the landscape to challenge even the most experienced golfer. The fairy chimneys, fascinating rock formations and flora and fauna in the unique environment of Cappadocia remain unaffected by Cross Golf.
- Cappadocia trekking in ihlara valley, atv safari , monestry valley trekking in guzelyurt.
- Ballooning, (toll free: +1 800 262 1045), . Cappadocia is known around the world as one of the best places to fly with hot air balloons. The spectacular surrealistic landscapes combined with excellent flying conditions allow the balloons to gently drift over and between fairy chimneys, pigeon houses hewn into the unique rock formations, orchards and vineyards – through impressive valleys, each with distinctive rock formations, colors and features – and then float up over rippled ravines for breathtaking views over the region.
- Dried apricots and grapes
- Mantı (kind of ravioli with minced meat served with yoghurt and garlic sauce)
- Testi Kebap (jug kebap)- Meat and vegetables cooked in a clay pot (or jug) sealed with bread dough. The pot is broken when serving.
- Pastirmali kuru fasulye (white beans with spiced meat)
- Local wines - Cappadocia is one of the biggest wine-producing regions in Turkey, and many wineries thoroughout the region's towns offer winetasting options.
- Grape Church, (near Uzumlu Church in Kizil Vadi=Red Valley), ([email protected]). Excellent local cuisine and inspiring amosphere. Run by Ibrahim Sakinan. Has a few rooms to sleep.
A trip to Cappadocia is not complete without visiting the Turasan Wine Factory. The grapes which are collected from local farmers are used for producing the world wide famous Cappadocia wines.
You are strongly recommended to stay in one of the cave hotels which are the specialty of the region. There are also many accommodation options in Urgup, Goreme, Uchisar and Avanos towns for every budget of traveler.
you can find also bewitching historical greek mansions and cave hotels in Güzelyurt