Sunday, February 19th 2017

Fairy Chimneys and old civilizations in Cappadochia – Day One

We arrived to Goreme, Cappadochia early in the morning, right in time to watch the sunset and hot air balloons above our heads. Goreme is located in the middle of the Goreme National Park with rock formations usually called “fairy chimneys”. A fairy chimney is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the ground. Very often they are formed near volcanoes. Goreme lies surrounded by 4 dead volcanoes.

Goreme at sunrise Cappadochia Turkey

Goreme at sunrise

It was still pretty early when we have found a hotel with a rooftop terrace overlooking all Goreme and the surrounding hills. As it was not too hot yet we decided to have a short walk in the area before hiding for siesta. Goreme open air museum was chosen as a direction. As a guidebook says: It contains the finest of the rock-cut churches, with beautiful frescoes (wall paintings) whose colors still retain all their original freshness. 

On our way towards the museum we spotted some caves or cut rooms in the rocks next to the road. Without long discussions we decided to explore those first and then continue to the museum. We turned from the road and dived into the valleys surrounded by fairy chimneys. The whole area looked like the moon or some other neighboring planet.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Kiliclar valley 01

Here and there we could definitely see remnants of settlements. Although many of them were fallen apart, we could see rooms cut in the rocks.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Kiliclar valley

The constructions often had several floors or levels with windows, stairs and something looking like shelves in a form of a bell.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Kiliclar valley 03

In several places we came across ruins of churches with clearly visible frescoes on the walls.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Kiliclar valley 04

The trail led us a valley which was getting narrower with each turn. It looked like a bed of a creek and in some places we had to climb. There were ladders installed in very steep places.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Kiliclar valley 05

It looked like Indiana Jones flims and we were intrigued what was awaiting round the next corner.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Kiliclar valley 07

We had to squeeze through narrow tunnels, sometimes in darkness using our cameras flashes as we had not taken any torches with us. We did not expect to end up here when started our a lazy morning walk.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Kiliclar valley 08

How I saw later the tunnels were connecting different parts of the settlements. I have no idea what exactly there were for, but they definitely kept us from the heat. Probably people who lived here long time ago made them for protecting themselves from the elements of nature.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Kiliclar valley 09

At the end of our expedition we reached the hills above Goreme open air museum. I was not sure i wanted to visit the museum after what i have seen during our Indiana Jones expedition. Most probably the museum has better preserved churches or caves, but most probably it will be very similar to what we had seen just with some paved paths, installed stairs and herds of tourists. And i was right. Later our friends visited the museum and that is what one of them wrote in an email: We visited the open-air museum but was disappointed cause photography was not allowed in most places, one of the main church was closed,rest were not so exciting,n there were way too many Asian tour groups, till Lukas felt like the minority! 

So i guess we saves us some money and saw probably more authentic places. What concerns churches – i have seen enough in Romania and Ukraine. So i was happy to skip on that. Besides we saw more churches in the area later that day.

Maybe instead of the museum I should have taken a camel ride. Plenty of camels around the entrance. Isn’t it lovely?!!??!

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Goreme open air museum

After our lunch-siesta-nap we set off to explore the Rose valley, which seemed like an interesting place. Plus it was leading to Cavusin castle recommended by people in the hotel.

Beautiful mushrooms were around us. Remember the mushroom from Alice in Wonderland. Would be good to bite from one side, and…..well the fairy tale was around us. Frankly i had never seen anything like this in my life.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Red Valley Kizilcukur valley 01

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Red Valley Kizilcukur valley 02

Are we still on our blue little planet? Already on the Moon? What is all this around us?

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Rose Valley Gulludere valley 01

Mount Aktepe

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Rose Valley Gulludere valley 02

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day one Rose Valley Gulludere valley 03

After returning back to earth we reached Cavusin village, and the half preserved castle hanging above the village. It is not really a castle but a hill dotted with windows and gates, and called referred to as Cavusin caste by locals, because it looks like a castle from distance.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day Cavusin castle 01

It is said to be built or rather cut around year 630 when Christian religion reigned in the region. So people built, well cut a lot of churches.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day Cavusin castle 02

Rooms

Big part of the construction fell down and we could see piles of stones covering the lower rooms and structures, as well as rooms torn apart and hanging like eyeless faces above us.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day Cavusin castle 04

We climbed up and walked through the remaining rooms, going higher and higher through narrow staircases and tunnels. One of the most prominent rooms of the castle is (surprise, surprise!) a Christian church.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day Cavusin castle 05

Church

It has several rooms and frescoes are still clearly visible on the walls, though many of them were destroyed by time or people.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day Cavusin castle 06

Frescoes

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day Cavusin castle 07

Side wall of the church

The higher we climbed the more gorgeous views we got. The top of the castle is a perfect spot for watching sunset.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day Cavusin castle 08

Once we were at the top we calmly enjoyed the change of colors on the cliffs and fairy chimneys around us. With each minute shades of red, brown and yellow were gradually changing.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day Cavusin castle Rose valley 01

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day Cavusin castle Rose valley 02

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day Cavusin castle Rose valley 03

And that is us contemplating the passed day. We came just in the morning but it felt like 3 days already.

Goreme Cappadochia Turkey Day Cavusin castle Rose valley 05

Mara, Ange and Lukas

Well well enough for today, tomorrow new activities and destinations – sunrise air balloon watching, underground cities, rock castles, valleys and mushroom…ooopppsss. i meant chimneys ;-) magical chimneys.

 

 

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