A natural wonderland

To venture into Cappadocia is to find oneself suspended in time, surrounded by the enduring artifacts of geography and history. It is this vast and captivating expanse of cliffs, valleys and flatlands where wind, rain and the scalpels of millions of cave dwellers – from prehistory to the present day – carved their stories into the soft volcanic tufa.

Visitors are increasingly enticed by the poetic landscape of Cappadocia, by its fascinating fairy chimneys, its romantic cave hotels, its rose-hued valleys and by the enduring, hearty and hospitable spirit of the region’s inhabitants.

Hollowed out fairy chimneys and cliffs feature as monastic dwellings in Pasabag, inspiration for the imagination in Devrent Valley, a UNESCO Heritage open air museum in Göreme and captivating hotel suites in the region. The larger chimneys, castles actually, in the villages of Ürgüp, Üçhisar and Ortahisar, invite the physically sound to scale the steep stones up to places where the ancients stood sentinel against outside attacks.

In the valleys of Göreme, Mustafapasa and Ihlara, visitors meander through rose hued valleys to see ancient chapels adorned with colorful frescoes depicting Christ, the Virgin Mary and saints.

Vast multi-layered, underground fortress-cities complete with kitchens, stables, wine presses and arched chapels tell the story of survival by communities under siege over the centuies, hidden beneath the present-day villages of Kaymakli, Derinkuyu and Maziköy.

The region is also known for its superb artisans including pottery craftsmen in Avanos, rugmakers in Ürgüp and Avanos, and wines have been made in the region for thousands of years.

Visitors who enjoy active, outdoor vacations will also enjoy the natural wonders and fun of Cappadocia. Glide over captivating landscapes in a fleet of hot air balloons. Take a mountain bike through the gravelly trails of the valleys. Try your hand at earthenware pottery in the manner of the ancient Hittites. Scale tufa valleys to find isolated pigeon houses, forgotten chapels and abandoned homes. Enjoy a ride on horseback into the verdant plains, partaking in the ritual of the Sema in a Selçuk caravansaray. Sample local wines from the terrace of a luxury cave resort.

Yet the soul of Cappadocia is as much a product of its residents as in the whisper of the wind through age-old valleys. Children still frolic along the stone alleyways of the area’s villages, farmers still haul their product to market on the back of a donkey, and hearty old women still prepare the day’s meal in ancient ovens hollowed into the floor of the family cave. To venture into Cappadocia is an experience of nature, outdoors, history and an utterly unique lifestyle.

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