Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Cappadocia is one of the most widely known areas of Turkey, as well as one of the most distinctive. After our hot air balloon adventure, we had nearly two full days to explore this wonderfully surreal landscape.

I don't really have a lot to say about this area, so I'll just let the pictures do the talking for most of this post.

Goreme Open-Air Museum

Besides providing a scenic subject for photographs, it turns out that Cappadocia's unique rock formations - formed in the relatively recent geologic past by a nearby volcanic eruption - are also ideal for carving. As a result, early settlers in the area carved entire towns - including homes and churches - into the stones. Nowadays, even the hotels are built into caves (but more on that later.)

These rock structures dot the whole region, but the Goreme Open-Air Museum contains some of the most distinctive. 

The area was predominantly inhabited by Christians, so there are many churches among the formations. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside - but some of the paintings and frescoes were truly impressive, even after 1,000+ years. (Do a Google image search for "Goreme churches" for some examples - and remember that all those pictures are painted on the inside of caves.) 

The Valleys

After exploring the cave, we took a horse-drawn carriage ride through some of the most scenic valleys in the area. 

While the carriage driver's dog merrily followed for miles and miles...

The Underground City

One of the most famous aspects of the region is the 200+ underground cities. 

The cities weren't generally used for long-term living - rather they were used as a place for Christians to hide when invading armies were in the area. The one we visited, Derinkuyu, was surprisingly massive - nearly 200 feet deep at its deepest point and with thousands of feet of tunnels. They had to be big enough to contain thousands of people, live stock, and food supplies.

We don't really have any good pictures of this part of the tour - being underground, the city is unsurprisingly dark and not particularly photogenic. 

Sorry, random guy. I know this isn't the most flattering shot, but I needed some perspective.

As you might suspect, it was quite claustrophobic - particularly when you had to bend your knees just to get down a staircase. I can't even imagine what it would have been like filled with thousands of people and animals. 

This is just one reason I'm glad I'm not a 10th century Turkish Christian. 

Other Stuff

I have lots of pictures from this part of the trip, and no good place to put them. So I'll just dump them here.

Next up: One more day in Istanbul, then out of Turkey and onward to... Well, you'll just have to wait and see. 


  1. What an interesting place with underground cities, hotels and churches carved into stone and in caves, and carvings and painting that still survive after more than 1000 years. I am very impressed by what those Turkish Christians accomplished. And the landscape is awesome.

    I don't think I could have forced myself to go into that underground city especially seeing that narrow hallway. Claustrophobia would definitely come calling. Do you think the people then were smaller than people nowadays?

    Love that beautiful mobile under the Cappadocia sign. Great pictures as always. Love reading your blog.

  2. So glad we decided to go to Cappadocia! And thank you for chronicling the trip for us. Your writing style is much more entertaining :o)

  3. If I were a movie producer, I would film a movie in Cappadocia. It would feature camels, hot air balloons, underground cities, and bearded red-heads who recently shaved. It would be a blockbuster for sure!

    PS I love your travelogues and the way you're able to capture, with your words and pictures, the personality of the area you've visited!

  4. Oops....maybe these pics are pre-beard, not post-beard. Either way, it will be awesome.