Cappadocia

Cappadocia: why not?!?

The curtain rises in the first light of dawn against the backdrop of Cappadocia, giving unexpected suggestions. You are never completely ready for the emotions that the “land of beautiful horses” (its name in ancient Persian language) conveys when the sky takes on the tones of orange, red and then, slowly the heavenly and five hundred hot air balloons, they look like confetti scattered in the infinite streets of the horizon. In this region of Turkey, between Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, along the Silk Road, history has written important pages telling of bloody invasions and the prestige of a mythical trade route. The influence of the most ancient civilizations has forged its character and traditions, starting from the Assyrians and passing by the Hittites, the Persian, Hellenistic and Byzantine Empire and today revives in architecture, food and wine and the smile of the locals. There is no identical place all over the world, in a triumph of natural wonders that go beyond the imagination and conquer the hearts of anyone who has the good fortune to put feet and eyes on it.
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The hand of man, in this part of the world, has added beauty to the creative perfection of a nature that here has worked hard to forge weird forms, aided by wind, rain, ice and millennia. Its landscapes give a true world tour in a few hours, showing deep canyons, caves and pyramids with a sort of hat called “fairy chimneys”. Millions of years ago the surrounding mountains of Erciyes, Hasandag and Gulludag were active volcanoes, reproduced in the prehistoric paintings found between the valleys and from here the magic began. And then there is the Goreme National Park with its multicolored rocks, the result of high concentrations of iron oxides (and not only) and the rock sites. All wonders that, since 1985, UNESCO has included among its assets.
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For the early Christians, Cappadocia was a true sanctuary, so much so that today it remains an open-air museum where natural and cultural elements create an incomparable mix. The volcanic deposits have made the area fertile for agriculture and, even now, grapes are grown but also apricots, cherries, cereals and sugar beets.
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The volcanic eruptions of the area, have begun to carve their laborious masterpieces already 30 thousand years ago and, in some places, the blanket has reached a thickness of 150 meters. The solidified ashes have given rise to a friable material called tuff, in various points covered with hard volcanic rock. Over time, the first eroded, creating various rock formations like drawings in a child’s notebook. Among them are the famous cones surmounted by large boulders, known as “fairy chimneys”. They are called in this way because the first inhabitants of Cappadocia thought they were precisely the chimneys of fantastic creatures that lived in the depths of the Earth. Some of them are up to 45 meters high.
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The tuff was easy to dig and, therefore, dwellings, churches and over 250 underground cities have been created. Entire settlements, in this sense, never saw sunlight with living areas, ventilation systems, stables, warehouses, wells and production centers. In large part they were born to protect themselves from raids and, to save themselves from danger, the local populations began to build these places far from the eyes of the invaders, with hidden entrances. From troglodyte dwellings they have become real neighborhoods, given that sometimes it was necessary to live there for a rather long period of time. Therefore, drinking water and areas for storing supplies became fundamental, even for pre-Christian cities. Kaymakli, in particular, has five levels that can be visited, but scholars believe that it actually consists of eight floors. It was discovered in 1964 and is the second most important underground city in the entire region. Surely it is smaller and less crowded than the others, but it is believed that between the sixth and ninth centuries, it hosted thousands of people.
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Are hot-air balloons a tourist attraction now? Certainly yes, but no less exciting and it is for this reason that it remains a must for those visiting Cappadocia. Booking an hour’s ride in a hot-air balloon is really an experience you won’t forget and you will reach about 600 meters high. Flying over the Valley of the Fairy Chimneys is a remarkable emotion and you can try it all year long, as long as the wind is the right one. Certainly in spring and summer it is less risky that the “walk in the sky” leaps due to unfavorable weather conditions, but for those who are willing to get up at four in the morning to see the colors of dawn from another point of view, the suggestion is assured.

Where to Stay

Museum Hotel

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Created from the ruins of an ancient village, carved deep into a cliff, the Museum Hotel is a real one-off. It overlooks a breathtaking landscape of pink-colored ridges, rock formations and the volcanic cone of Mount Erciyes. The stone structure dates back to thousands of years ago, previously home to Hittites, Persians and early Roman Christians, who lived in these caves that today offer high quality accommodation. The Museum Hotel was built by hand using the best materials and has been restored to its former glory and original state.
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This will never be a banal stay in the hotel, but rather get ready to experience a real and exciting life experience. The Museum Hotel has 30 rooms and suites, which have been revisited, embellished and transformed into the luxurious rooms of nowadays.
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Guests can also enjoy a museum experience thanks to the series of historical objects and antiquities that are on display in all the caves including relics dating back to the 16th century. The facilities of Museum Hotel include an outdoor swimming pool on a terrace, which overlooks the valley, an ecologic garden, a massage terrace, library and a restaurant that serves some of the best cuisine in Cappadocia.

If all this has not yet convinced you to book the first flight to Turkey, enjoy the show captured by Abdüsselam Sancaklı in his timelapse dedicated to Cappadocia.

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