Best Things to do in Cappadocia
Cave DwellingsCappadocia’s rocky wonderland landscape is a honeycomb network of caves that once had living quarters, places of worship, stables and storage rooms and all dug out from the soft stone. These complexes of tunnels actually formed whole towns with up to 8 different storeys and everything was hidden underground. They also served as a refuge for Christians in the early days of the religion. Today visitors will find these troglodyte dwellings have become museums, homes and hotels offering a truly unique hospitality experience. For further information click
Art & History Museum
Goreme Open Air MuseumThis vast monastic complex is made up of dozens of refectory monasteries sitting side by side and each having its own incredible church. It is just a 15 minute walk from the centre of Goreme Village and contains some of the finest rock-cut churches and beautiful frescoes that have managed to retain their original bright colours. Today the museum is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and in fact was one of the first two UNESCO sites in Turkey. For further information click
Zelve Open Air MuseumThis site once housed one of the largest communities in this region and inside the caved town was a honeycomb of dwellings and religious and secular chambers where Christians and Muslims lived harmoniously. Visitors can see the frescoes that are just visible from the now collapsed Geyikli Kilise (the Church with the Deer), a rock-cut mosque with a minaret, a monastery complex cut from rock that looks like an upside down bowl.
Ihlara ValleyThe valley is close to two of Cappadocia’s volcanoes, Mount Hasan and Mount Melendiz, and has a canyon depth of 100m which was formed by the Melendiz River 1,000s of years ago. It’s believed the valley housed more than 4,000 dwellings with 100s of cave churches, all beautifully decorated with frescoes, and almost 8,000 people once lived here. There are restaurants on the bank of the Melendiz River and daily excursion tours are available.
Hot Air BallooningCappadocia is famous the world over for being one of the best places to fly in a hot air balloon. The surreal and spectacular landscape along with the superb flying conditions allow the balloons to gently float and drift over and between the fairy chimneys, pigeon houses cut out of the unique rock formations, the orchards and vineyards, through extraordinary valleys each having their own unique rock formations, and experiencing all the colours and features whilst rising up over ravines and offering breathtaking views over the region. For further information click
Pasabag ValleyThis valley contains some of the most unique and striking fairy chimneys that have twin and triple rock caps and are known as mushroom shaped fairy chimneys. There is a chapel dedicated to St. Simeon (Simon) and a hermit's shelter built into one of the fairy chimneys with three heads and has an entrance to a cell decorated with antithetical crosses. The Hermits of Cappadocia distanced themselves from the world by cutting into the chimneys rather than living on top of columns and hollowed them out from bottom to the top creating rooms 10-15m high.
Caravanserais (Kervansarays)These have been used since the 10th century and some of the most beautiful examples can be found between Aksaray and Kayseri. They were cut out of volcanic stone, their walls thick and high so that they would be safe from thieves and raids and display some the finest examples of Seljuk stone carving.
AvanosSitting on the banks of the Kizilirmak (Red River) this area still produces pottery using techniques dating back to Hittite times in 2,000 BC. Avanos offers visitors facilities such as a hamam (Turkish bath) and has a large tented market every Friday selling everything from household items to clothing, fruit and vegetables and much more. The old village has a maze of old stone houses featuring Ottoman architecture with ancient decorations, murals and motifs.
HacibektasThis is the centre of the Bektasi sect of Islam that was established by the great philosopher Haci Bektas-i Veli in 13th century. Visitors are given an idea of the living traditions of the order’s followers where they can see the dervish lodge (dergah) that is now a museum, the cilehane (suffering house), bestaslar (five huge stones) and a cemevi (an alevi temple). In August tens of thousands of people gather here from Turkey and other countries across the world to attend the International Commemoration Ceremonies.
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