Here are my top reasons why a trip to Cappadocia , Turkey makes SO much sense if you love adventure, food, history and off-beat trips:
Ok, so you probably won’t make it to the moon in this lifetime. But Cappadocia will do just as nicely – it has lunar landscapes that are the result of thousands of years of erosion on soft rock. This soft rock came from volcanic eruptions in the area many centuries ago. What you see today are caves, mushroom and chimney shaped rocks, into which people settled in and left behind beautiful frescoes, churches and living areas.
One of the top highlights of a trip to Cappadocia is a sunrise ballooning adventure– there are plenty of local operators who offer this service – so the dawn sky is dotted with balloons silently making their way above the horizon. The Cappadocia valley known as Rose Valley – gives the best view of a sweeping landscape and takes you very close to the tops of chimney rocks. The balloon ride ends with champagne and breakfast.
Lighting up to take off!
Our Balloon’s silhouette against the valley
At least seventy hot air balloons were up in the air
Amazing local food
The deeper you get into Turkey, the more amazing and authentic food you will find. Each meal in Cappadocia was delicious and bursting with flavor– I’m talking about lamb curry being broken out of a sealed clay pot in which it had been cooked for hours. Or flaky baklava with coffee. And not to forget starting the day with fresh and delicious breakfasts on a patio overlooking blooming lavender trees against the stark background.
Slow cooked claypot lamb Pic credit: http://www.mdchotel.com/
Freshly baked breakfast and fruits
Goreme the main town of the Cappadocia region was always in a precarious geographical position, getting caught in political and religious crossfire across many empires. During the Roman Empire, many fleeing Christians found comforting refuge in the maze-like landscape which gave them great hiding spots. Over time, locals left behind beautiful frescoes and carvings on walls that are intact until today, and give deep insight into life in those times. The Kayamkali underground city is unreal, with several levels underground with churches, wine vats, kitchens, bedrooms, escape alleys where people lived for months in the absence of sunlight, for fear of attack. More than forty complete underground cities and 200 underground structures have been discovered in Cappadocia, many of them connecting to each other via tunnels.
Must visits: Göreme Open-Air Museum and Kayamkali underground city
A sketch of life in one of the many underground cities. Photo credit: Wikimedia
The best part of staying in Cappadocia is that you get a feel of how life was in the prehistoric times. Except you have electricity, hot tubs and television 🙂 Soo yeah, maybe not so much. Almost every hotel in Cappadocia is a cave hotel and every room has a low cave-like ceiling with ambient lighting. Hotels are all five star service with many offering wonderful wine options.
Do you see the Persian cat?
Deeply influenced by the Hittites, who were accomplished carvers and metalworkers, the Cappadocia region is known for its pottery. The town of Avanos in Cappadocia has been a center for pottery and craft making since the Hittite period, which makes it a fantastic place to purchase handmade ceramics.
It also helps that the Kizilirmak River runs through Avanos. It is from this river that the reddish-brown clay is harvested and used in workshops. We watched a pottery demonstration and I later took to the potter’s wheel and made a very gnarly looking pot! There’s all kinds of pottery – plates, vases, jugs in different colorful, intricate work. Not buying anything fearing a tourist trap is a huge mistake. Negotiate, but don’t walk away from a deal. It will come back to haunt you once back home!
Inspired? Start planning a trip today!