Cappadocia is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth. Filled with valleys and snow-capped mountains, this city is famous for it’s extremely scenic hot air ballooning. But what’s more interesting are the unusual troglodyte dwellings – people have carved houses into the sides of the mountains and live there even today. It greatly resembles termite hills!
Hot air ballooning definitely shouldn’t be missed although it is quite expensive. The company I used charged us US$220 per person. This is mainly because the pilots earn about $4000 a month – they have to be extremely talented to manipulate the winds at different altitudes to navigate their way around the area. They don’t have brakes nor steering wheels, so the pilots are greatly treasured. I’m now going to bombard you with the pictures I took from my hot air balloon.
Another attraction that definitely should not be missed is Derinkuyu Underground City. It’s a Unesco World Heritage Site and it’s easy to understand why. This enormous hidden city can accomodate 2000 people, and has an 8km underground tunnel to another city – there are a total of 15 underground cities in Turkey. It was built by the Hittites and other races, then used finally by the early Christians to escape persecution. It has 6 floors, and equipped with everything from stables, a church, a living room, kitchen, and even a chimney that runs through all 6 floors for ventilation. Nobody knows how long it took to build this city, because more levels were built over the centuries to suit the needs of the people.
One of the towns in Cappadocia is called Avanos, and this town is famous for it’s pottery and ceramics. In fact, pottery is so important here, if a man does not know how to makd pottery he cannot get married! Red clay is obtained from the Red River running just outside the town, and white clay is obtained from the mountains about 5km away. I visited the shop of the oldest pottery family in the town. They demonstrated how to shape the clay into beautiful shapes, and I got volunteered by my fellow pilgrims to try it out. It’s strangely soothing and calming – something about the creation of something functional and aesthetically pleasing from just a lump of clay is extremely satisfying.
It’s something like a mini underground shop!
Göreme Open Air Museum features church caves filled with beautiful al frescoes and stone arches carved into the sides of the mountain. One of the most impressive churches is Tokali Church. The whole interior is covered with magnificent al frescoes depicting scenes such as the Nativity scene, Crucifixon etc. You should not miss this for the world!
Wells, I’m going to continue to update you on my travels in Turkey – I will be sailing to the island of Patmos tomorrow! Hope to see you guys soon! 🙂