Adventures in Turkey: Cappadocia, Goreme, Cavusin, and Kaymakli

As we woke to depart Ankara, the snow continued to blanket the city in what turned out to be one of the worst snowstorms to hit the city in a decade. While leaving the city on a bus, we witnessed the havoc the storm had on the country, passing mangled wreck after mangled wreck. At one point, the road headed towards Ankara was completely shut down and passengers were getting out of cars, trucks, and buses to walk down the line of stranded vehicles to the nearest shelter. Fortunately, our bus didn’t evacuate, We imagine that one of our co-passengers was even more grateful than we were, as he told us: “The next time I come to Turkey, I’m bringing shoes and socks.” We agreed that it was probably a good idea. Once our bus was outfitted with chains, we continued east toward Cappadocia – a moonscape of fairy chimneys.

It was early evening when we pulled into Göreme, a town in the middle of a forest of geological minaret and pillar-like spires all shaped by mother nature. We knew we wanted to explore, but Emily was also very excited about our cave hotel – a common form of accommodation in the area. Each of the fairy chimneys (the geological minarets/pillars) is formed when winds blow away ash and smaller pebbles, leaving only harder materials, like volcanic stone, behind. The hotel we stayed at fashioned rooms out of the volcanic rock at the base of one of the chimneys, with parts of it lit by candlelight. It was both rustic and very romantic. We loved it.

It was late, but because the town was built in the midst of the fairy chimneys we were able to explore a little as we found a place to eat. The following morning, I got up very early to take in the sunrise and hot air balloons rising above the valley, leaving Emily huddled in the blankets. Overnight, a light snow fell, leaving a thin white blanket on the ground. It was peaceful walking along the rural road in the dark, as I made my way to Cavusin and a cluster of chimneys standing there. The tops of the peaks covered in snow provided much needed color on this mostly overcast morning. It was amazing to wander through this landscape. It felt strangely barren and foreign, a difficult experience to have nowadays.

Later, Emily and I joined a tour that took us to Kaymakli, a tunnel city dug from the hard volcanic rock. Persecuted groups would hide in this and other underground cities as armies and other pursuers passed by. Elaborate civilizations would live for years underground – I’m not sure I would have grown to over six feet tall though. Later, we hiked through a different valley and could look across at a forest of chimneys with belts of different colors from the different minerals in the earth. This is definitely a place to go back to and explore when it is a little warmer.

On our final day in Cappadocia, we took it easy and went to the open-air Göreme Museum. This museum is a collection of churches, gathering areas, and living spots carved into the walls of one part of the valley. The insides of some of the rooms were covered in intricate paintings. It was well worth the price of admission. We also saw some of the hot-air balloons float overhead. While we did want to go up in one, we thought the freezing temperatures at ground level were cold enough. Cappadocia was quiet reprieve from the hustle and bustle that were waiting for us in Istanbul the next day and in Washington the day after that.

Enjoy the photos below and some more on Smugmug. We hoped you liked our Adventures in Turkey: Post 1 (Turkey), Post 2 (Istanbul), Post 3 (Selcuk), Post 4 (Ankara)


~ by Rob Page III on December 1, 2011.

One Response to “Adventures in Turkey: Cappadocia, Goreme, Cavusin, and Kaymakli”

  1. […] Adventures in Turkey: Cappadocia, Goreme, Cavusin, and Kaymakli ( […]

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