Published: July 9th 2011July 5th 2011
We left Ankara today heading towards Cappadocia. It is a good thing we were well rested from our stay in Ankara, because these first two days on the road were going to be packed with so many new, unbelievable sights with little time left for sleeping.
The first stop we made was at Dead Sea Lake to walk on water. Supposedly, when the water level is just right, it looks like you could be walking on water. The water was too high, but it was still cool to be out there, although it was tough on my feet.
Next, we visited the Kaymakli Underground City. This underground city was carved out by the early Christians as a way to hide for months if needed. There are several underground locations around this area of Turkey, and the site we visited went down seven levels, although we only explored the first four levels.
Next it was on to Cappadocia, where this area of Turkey is famous for its landscape. Millions of years ago, volcanoes were erupting and leaving behind several layers of different volcanic rock deposits. Certain volcanic rock deposits erode more easily than other kinds and that is why
the landscape in this area is so out-of-this-world. On some of the formations, you may notice a cap stone, a darker stone set on top of a lighter colored stone. The lighter colored stone weathers away more easily while the darker stone stays in place. The cap stone will eventually fall from being too heavy, and most of the time they fall in winter when the water expands into ice causing big cracks to occur.
We ended the first day in Konya, watching a Whirling Dervishes ceremony. The Whirling Dervishes are devote followers of Rumi, one of the world’s great mystic philosophers whose poetry and religious writings are among the most beloved and respected in the Islamic world. This ceremony was spiritual in every sense. We watched in amazement as these men performed. They whirled around and around while walking in a circle with their white robes billowing out. It was like we were allowed to watch from the outside this special intimate time of devotion.
The next morning, a big group of us were up early to ride in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia. I’m sure this magical experience will continue to be a top 3
highlight for me as I reflect on my five weeks in Greece and Turkey. For those of you who have been on a hot air balloon ride, you can understand the incredible feeling you have, but for those of you who have not been, it really is like you are silently floating through the air. I won’t take up much more space with my words, I will just let my pictures show you what I saw.
After the hot air balloon ride, it was back to seeing different sites around Cappadocia. We saw more rock formations and we visited the Goreme Open Air Museum, which was a Byzantine monastic settlement. There were several rock-cut churches, chapels, and monasteries, but we were not allowed to take any pictures inside, so I won’t be able to post pictures.
There are more photos below