Extraordinary, soaring rock formations. Exciting walking trails. Mysterious underground cities and rock-cut churches. A troglodyte lifestyle that dates back to the Middle Ages. All this and much, much more.
Hos geldiniz! Welcome to Cappadocia, the amazing wonderland right in the middle of Turkey.
No matter what your interests, you are bound to love Cappadocia, one of the most beautiful and historically fascinating parts of Turkey. It’s also a region that has been hosting visitors for more than 20 years which means that you can be sure not just of a warm welcome but also of accommodation and places to eat to suit your every need.
Where is Cappadocia?
Once a province of the Roman Empire, Cappadocia is now the sprawling area of central Turkey which lies between Aksaray in the west, Kayseri in the east and Nigde in the south. Modern Cappadocia is an incredible place, criss-crossed with valleys and dotted with dramatic rock formations. Whatever your expectations you are unlikely to go home disappointed.
There are many tour options that Turkish Heritage Travel organizes to see these highlights. You can also hire a car, motorbike or scooter and make up your own itinerary as you go.
By far the best way to get your bearings is to float gently over the landscape in a hot-air balloon, picking out the many valleys as you go. Or you can take your time and explore the valleys on foot. Alternatively, why not saddle up and explore the back roads on horseback, following in the hoof tracks of the first European explorers?
How Cappadocia came into being?
Thousands of years ago a group of ancient volcanoes, Mts Erciyes, Hasan and Melendiz, spewed out layer upon layer of thick tuff which blanketed the countryside for miles around. Over the centuries the wind and rain worked their magic on the soft rock, carving out spectacular gorges and leaving behind the dramatic pinnacles of rock – the ‘fairy chimneys’ – that have created the Cappadocian moonscape.
But Cappadocia has always been much more than its dramatic scenery. Humans, too, have left their unique mark on the region, carving cave storerooms, cave stables, cave houses and even entire underground cities out of the rock. To this day many of the soaring pinnacles are still inhabited and many of the rock-cut storerooms are still stuffed with grapes, lemons, potatoes and flat bread waiting for the winter.
Long, long ago Cappadocia was inhabited by Christians who also carved thousands of cave churches, chapels and monasteries out of the rock. Many of these churches were decorated with frescoes of medieval saints whose ghostly images still gaze down from the walls. In the 21st century these ancient churches make some of the most remarkable sights for visitors.
In the days before tourism local people called the strange rock cones that surrounded them kales, or ‘castles’. Nowadays these amazing structures are usually called peribacalari, or ‘fairy chimneys’. They come in an extraordinary range of shapes and sizes but most are tall and phallic-shaped with a cap of harder stone that protects the softer rock underneath from erosion. Eventually these caps fall off, whereupon the wind and rain start to whittle away the cone until eventually it, too, collapses.