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Published: October 13th 2008
WOW! What a magical place!
Cappadocia is UNIQUE, unlike no other place, with its magnificent landscape reveling the curious cones, pyramids, mushrooms and hats of the fairy chimneys. No doubt one have to be here to marvel the place's wonders completely. Pictures fragment the whole scenario and in Cappadocia you are surrounded with 360 degrees of natual beauty. I never had so much trouble selecting pictures for a blog... I took hundreds but they still can't traslate the beauty of the place I experienced. That's it... you need to experience it and a still picture doesn't capture the feeling.
The town casted a spell on me immediately. It's fairytale like, with the fairy chimneys, ancient pigeon house, the stone walls, the tortuous cobblestone streets winding up and down the hills, flower pots made out of recycled cans with tomoatoes, peppers and flowers bringing color to the stone and sand walls.
We visisted a few of the cave guesthouses carved into the fairy-chimneys, and picked the "Aydinli Cave House Hotel". Brand new, friendly owner, great rooms, bathrooms, breakfast, and view. Recommended!
Despite tourism and the convertion of many cave homes to guesthouses, new and old coexist well
and the past still dominates the present in Goreme. Locals go on doing their own business, largely ignoring the visitors.
I witnessed traditional village life being lived. While roaming the streets at 7am, I got to see women making grape marmelade on an enourmous pot over an open fire, another arranging peppers to dry under the sun, and another collecting the grapes already dried as raisins. When the sun went down, it was commom seeing 3 to 4 women sitting on the ground in front of their house, just chatting.
GOREME OPEN-AIR MUSEUM:
Incredible history, beauty, simplicity.
This is not an ordinary museum. It's a cluster of rock-cut Byzantine churches, chapels and monasteries carved into the rocks.
You go around, entering the cone shaped "tuffs" with rooms like small caves, with carved archies, tables, seats, storage, shelves, windows, ventilation system. It's incredible, like in a fairytale, Flinstones style.
The 11th century frescos brings vivid color and beauty to the simplicity of the rocks.
It was sad to see some of the paintings with signs of vandalism, with the faces of the saints scratched. At least from now on they are protected.
Imagine a subteranean wonder,
with 15 floors into the ground. the first 2 floors were built long ago for storage of food, but the subsequent floors were built as hidding place. Invadors would push the population of up to 2000 into the ground for up to 6 months!
We walked the tunnels down to the freezing 8th floor. There are 7 archeologists working on the deeper floors at the moment.
We hired a guide, well worth the 20 Turkish Lyras, as he reviewed the history behind every tunnel, cave, hole... and there were too many to count. The ventilation and communication tunnels are incredibly efficient. Highly recommended visiting the sight as one can only imagine it's real.
It was simply amazing hiking among the peculiar rock formations of Cappadocia. Climbing the rocks was particularly challenging because the loose sand of the tuffs makes you slide very easily. Definately not for everyone, as the risk for a nasty fall is quite high. I felt pretty scared at times, hanging on not to slide down. But going into ancient cave homes was simply umbilievable, wondering what life was like for the troglodytes who inhabited them. The views from the top of a tuff was
If you like unique places and hiking, I can't think of a better place to do it. I can't wait to be able to go back with time to explore the other trails.
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