The historical region of Cappadocia in Turkey offers one of the most remarkable landscapes on the planet. Perhaps the most easily habitable place in all of Eurasia, with thousands of natural caves and workable volcanic rock that’s strong, yet easy to carve and shape into dwellings as well as various tools.
Today, Cappadocia’s a tourist hotspot offering some of the most incredible natural architectural landmarks available on the planet. In my opinion, this area of Turkey is as about as close to walking on the moon as many of us will get to in this lifetime.
The altitude is high here, the summers hot and winters blistery and cold. Plan your trip to Cappadocia accordingly.
Check out some of these visit-worthy destinations to plan your trip there this year:
Derinkuyu Underground City (Central Anatolia)
This amazing underground achievement dates back to the 7th century B.C. The 60 meter (almost 200 feet) deep city contained in soft volcanic rock has seen the rise and fall of many cultural influences in its time including the Phrygians, Romans and Greeks. Archeologists believe that as many as 20,000 people may have inhabited the city at one single time. Even after the city fell hundreds of years ago, both Muslims and Christians have used the city to hide from religious persecution.
You’d never know an entire city lay underneath with such as innocuous entrance:
After a longish initial descent, you’ll make it to the top level of this multilevel cavernous ancient city:
Look at the details carved by the ancient peoples who’ve inhabited this place throughout the years!
Don’t look down if you’re afraid of heights!
This is one of many wine presses to be found throughout the city. There were no machines for this task in ancient times, so workers would stomp the wine with their feet.
Goreme (Uchisar, Nevsehir)
Goreme is so cool! The entire city is dotted with massive “Fairy Rock Formations” known as Hoodoos. This is a hotbed of activity for tourists who come mostly to hike and take in all the area has to offer by air balloon. Try to view this place in different lighting conditions to really make the magic happen. The rocks literally change color throughout the day and light levels due to the array of different rocks and minerals within them. Goreme has plenty of accommodations, including cave hotels! The people of this city thrive on tourism dollars and are among the friendliest you’ll see anywhere.
What an incredible sight. I could live here indefinitely!
Not a place you want to land an airplane, but certainly a wicked view of something nature created:
Talk about living nestled in the rocks!
Love the snowcapped Hoodoo backdrop in line with the city in the forefront:
Monastery Valley (Anatolia, Turkey)
Called”Güzelyurt” by the Turkish which means “beautiful homeland”. Like most all of the Cappadocia region, this is place is deeply connected to the roots of early Christianity. There are hundreds of churches carved into the rocks throughout the region, with at least 50 that are still active and many located in the Ilhara Valley which draws thousands of visitors a year. There are at least 3 underground cities that exist here that were built in the Byzantine era, including one recently discovered in Gaziemir city.
Aside from the natural beauty, caves and highly workable volcanic rock outcroppings, Monastery Valley has one of the best water supplies to be found in all of Cappadocia; the Melendiz Stream:
So many caves that have housed thousands of inhabitants over the years. Just close your eyes and soak in the history!
The spirits of thousands of ancients who lived in the caves carved into the “Fairy Rocks” must surely watch over those who live in the town below:
Relax in Güzelyurt and have some traditional Turkish coffee with the locals!
Man, what an experience ancient Cappadocia has to offer. Sure, the Hoodoos and the caves they contain are spectacular and the underground cities are historically inspiring, but it’s the incredible locals throughout that really make this trip worth the while. Some places offer an amazing feast for the eyes, but fall short on personality. Cappadocia is not one of those places.
Check out Uptourist’s Tours and Activities Finder if you’re looking for even more things to do on your visit to the alluring Cappadocia region of Turkey.
Happy and safe travels!