Cappadocia, The Land of Beautiful Horses
Cappadocia is word of Persian origin and it means “The Land of beautiful horses”. Therefore, the meaning of its name gives us the feeling that Cappadocia is like a wonderland and no doubt this makes it more interesting among tourists.
The most prominent feature of Cappadocia that makes it a wonderland is its fantastic “fairy chimneys”. These chimneys and other unique geographical formations came into existence by the lava and ashes Mount Hasan (Hasandağı) and Mount Gullu (Güllüdağ) produced.
A Short History of Cappadocia
Cappadocia is situated in the center of Turkey. As a result of a long and slow process, nature worked wonders in this area and created tons of works of natural art.
In addition to the chimneys that were formed naturally, man-made works like churches, mausoleums, and even underground cities make the city even more attractive and special.
City-states, empires, and religions rose and fell in this region. Some of the great civilizations that existed in the region are Hittites, Persians, Alexander the Great, Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Empire.
Cappadocia Hot Air Balloons
Where is Cappadocia? Which Cities Are within its Boundaries?
In fact, it’s impossible to visit every part of Cappadocia in a few days. It’s because the region consists of a huge area and it is spread on cities like Kirsehir, Aksaray, Nigde, and Kayseri.
In short, Cappadocia has a rich mixture of unique architectural works and natural beauty in a huge area. So, if you want to make the best of Cappadocia, you will need to dedicate more of your time than you may think. However, Cappadocia totally deserves every minute of your time with its unbelievable wonders.
A Must Watch Movie Before Travelling to Cappadocia
Another nice feature of Cappadocia is that it’s possible to visit Cappadocia any time of the season, as winters are mild in Cappadocia.
Moreover, Cappadocia is beautiful in every season and if you love winter and wonder how Cappadocia looks like in winter, we definitely suggest you watch world-famous Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan‘s movie Winter Sleep (2014).
The Best Places to Visit in Cappadocia 2018
Here is the list of the things to do and best places to visit in Cappadocia.
Goreme Open Air Museum
Goreme Open Air Museum is one of the best places to visit in Cappadocia. The most important feature of Goreme is the spectacular cave-churches.
The Christian priests who lived in Middle Ages, built these churches by carving the soft volcanic rocks. Thus they created chapels, churches and monasteries. The monks had the Byzantine influence in their culture, therefore they adorned the walls of their churhes with Byzantine art.
As you can see from the Cappadocia Map above, Goreme is located at the center of Cappadocia. It’s definitely recommended to visit Goreme Village after the Goreme Open Air Museum visit.
Churches At Goreme Open Air Museum
Gulludere Valley (Rose Valley) – Nearby Goreme
You can enjoy the panoramic view of the chimneys on both sides of your way while you pass by a 4 km road. Therefore, you should keep in mind that it’s not advisable to cover the whole valley just by walking. In addition to its numerous chimneys, the valley houses countless churches too.
Ask Vadisi (Love Valley) – Nearby Goreme
Love Valley is the best place to have a balloon tour and trekking. It is located between Goreme and Avanos and covers a five-kilometer area.
Cappadocia’s Magical Landscape
Avanos is considered as one of the must-see places to see in Cappadocia. It consists of valleys and museums.
Pasabag Valley (Monks Valley) Nearby Avanos
You can see Cappadocia’s otherworldly chimneys at Pasabag Valley. Also, this place used to be where monks lived in seclusion in the past. Therefore, this area is a really popular tourist spot.
Devrent Valley – Nearby Avanos
It’s possible to see Cappadocia’s characteristic landforms in this valley. Moreover, this valley attracts attention thanks to its geographical formations that resemble animal & human figures and a praying figure of Virgin Mary.
Guray Ceramic and Handicraft Museum
Guray Museum is where unique works of Cappadocia’s traditional pots are exhibited. Furthermore, Guray Museum is the only underground museum in the world. This museum is the surely the best place to learn the history of pottery and how pots are made.
Amazing Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia
The Underground Cities of Cappadocia
Cappadocia’s underground is also rich in terms of history and touristic attractions. There are a lot of underground cities in Turkey and it’s thought that there are still uncovered underground cities waiting to be discovered. Kaymakli, Derinkuyu are the most famous of these underground cities.
Kaymakli Underground City
The most noteworthy and popular of these cities is Kaymakli. This underground city was founded in 3000 B.C. by the Hittites. The city has the capacity to accommodate 5,000 people.
In Kaymakli Underground City, every need was taken into account. Surprisingly, this underground city is a lot more organized than many cities in the modern world. The city meets the need of a regular city, so much so that, it even has a meeting room and wine cellar too.
More information: Cappadocia Underground Cities
Cappadocia Underground Cities
Uchisar Village & Castle
Uchisar is also the name of the county in the region. As the fortress is situated on the highest point of Cappadocia, this is where you can enjoy the best view of it.
If you wish to bring your memories back to your home or buy some gifts for your beloved ones, you can definitely find some cool shops around the fortress.
Uchisar Fortress is definitely one of the coolest spots in Cappadocia with its majestic fortress and historical streets.
Ortahisar Village & Castle
Ortahisar is known as Turkey’s major cold storage house and it still has traces of an active village life. In this village, you can come across numerous stone houses, historical churches and monasteries.
Furthermore, the history of Ortahisar Village dates back to Roman Empire and the fort is accessible via various tunnels.
Cappadocia’s Uchisar Hill
Churches at Ihlara Valley
Cappadocia is not a famous tourist destination only for its chimneys and underground cities. The canyons in the area make this place even more unique.
One of the examples of such canyons is Ihlara Valley. It consists of historical churches built on a long canyon and some other remnants.
The murals on top of the churches at Ihlara Valley are still preserved to this day. Ihlara Valley is also a stream bed, so it’s an ideal place to take a break and enjoy a glass of Turkish tea on your way.
Cappadocia Balloon Tours
A balloon tour must be on the top of your list if you plan to visit Cappadocia. It’s a breathtaking once in a lifetime experience.
The most fantastic photos of Cappadocia that you see in magazines and Google search are the ones taken during such tours. Therefore, you can imagine how amazing the view is when colorful balloons create an unusual spectacle.
Companies that organize these tours usually pick their customers from their hotels before sunrise and take them to the balloon launch site where balloons take off. While you are enjoying your morning coffee, you can also watch how balloons are prepared for the trip.
After your balloon is ready and the necessary security precautions are taken, you get on it. Balloons usually take off around the same time. That’s when you can enjoy one of the most amazing views in your life.
Zelve & Unique Chimneys
If you go to Zelve, you will enjoy different types of chimneys together, as the area consists of tons of chimneys of different characteristics. This area used to be where Christians lived densely. Therefore, Zelve hosts numerous historical monasteries as well.
Mustafapasha and Stone Art
Mustafapasha Village used to be a place where Christians lived densely until 1924. However, the Greek left the village due to the exchange treaty after World War I. There are around 30 churches in this village. Moreover, this is where you can find the unique works of stone.
The Best Photo Spots in Cappadocia
A balloon tour takes around 1-2 hours and it gives the tourists the privilege to enjoy the best view of Cappadocia. However, if you are afraid of traveling by a balloon or you want to watch the balloons fly, “sunset point” is the best place to be. Sunset point also gives you a great opportunity to watch the sunset too.
The best places to visit in Cappadocia blog post by Serhat Engul