Cappadocia

Rock houses in Göreme

Cappadocia (Turkish: Kapadokya) is an area in Central Anatolia in Turkey best known for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved in the rocks.

Understand

The ancient region of Cappadocia is located in central Anatolia between the cities of Nevsehir, Nigde and Kayseri. Millions of years ago violent eruptions of the volcanoes Mt. Erciyes and Mt. Hasan covered the surrounding plateau with tuff. Wind and weather have eroded the soft volcanic rock into hundreds of strangely shaped pillars, cones and "fairy chimneys", in colors ranging from pink to green and yellow. From the ancient times, men have hallowed out these soft rocks, and they have made countless cave churches, chapels and monasteries.

The churches are from the early Christianity. The art style of the churches can be classified into two categories: the 8th and 9th century are the iconoclastic years - the 10th to the 13th centuries whose decorations represent the lives of Christ and various Saints. The architectural plans of the churches are uncomplicated.

History

The prehistoric settlements of the area are Koskhoyuk (Kosk Mound) in Nigde, Aksaray Asikli Mound, Nevsehir Civelek cave and, in the southeast, Kultepe, Kanis and Alisar in the environs of Kayseri. This area with unusual topographic characteristics was regarded as sacred and called, in the Scythian/Khatti language, as Khepatukha, meaning "the country of the people of the chief god Hepat", although there are more poetic claims on the origin of the region's name, such as the Old Persian Katpatuka, which allegedly means "the land of beautiful horses". The tablets called Cappadocian Tablets and the Hittite works of art in Alisar are of the important remains dating from 2000s B.C. After 1200s B.C., the Tabal principality, of the Khatti Branches of Scythians, became strong and founded the Kingdom of Tabal. Following the Late Hittite and Persian aras, the Cappadocian Kingdom was established in 332 B.C. During the Roman era the area served as a shelter for the early escaping Christians. There are also several underground cities used by early Christians as hideouts in Cappadocia.

When the Turks started to arrive in the region after immigrating from their homeland in Central Asia around the 11th century, they found the area largely uninhabited. Seeing the strange, upheld rock formations drilled inside out as they were, they concluded that these should have been the chimneys of the homes of the otherkin, thus providing the popular name for the "fairy chimneys" (a direct translation of Turkish peri bacası).

Yaprakhisar

Cities

Landscape of Cappadocia
Ibrahimpasa

Other destinations

Get in

Discouraged by its remoteness?


Due to location, roundtrip travel to Cappadocia can be tiring via bus, or expensive via plane. As such, many opt to visit as part of a somewhat larger circular tour of Western Turkey, usually utilizing the well-developed intercity bus system and/or one-way flights.

By bus

Most of the bus companies have bus services to Nevsehir and Göreme. By bus:

By plane

The fastest and most comfortable way of reaching Cappadocia is using the airway. There are two main airports that you can use to reach Cappadocia. One of them is Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR) located in Kayseri and nearly one hour driving to the center of Cappadocia region. Turkish Airlines operates several direct (nonstop) flights from Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) to Kayseri Erkilet Airport. There are also daily flights from Izmir into Kayseri via Istanbul. It's easy to arrange a transfer or shuttle bus from Kayseri Airport to Cappadocia.

The second one is Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV), which is located in Gülşehir town of Nevşehir Province. Turkish Airlines operates direct (nonstop) flight from Istanbul Atatürk to Nevsehir Kapadokya twice a day.

By train

Kayseri is on a busy railway route. It is possible to find suitable trains to Kayseri from almost all the train stations of Turkey. From Kayseri, you can take bus to go to Göreme.

Get around

Due to the very low population density which leads to limited public transportation, and spread out nature of the sites (Cappadocia is a region, not an area), one may want to consider either renting a car or hiring a tour package.

However, you may come across car rentals trying to rip off exorbitant prices as much as 100 TL per day. Bargaining is the way to go in such instances.

See

İbrahimpaşa panorama
Winter in Cappadocia

Underground cities

Kaymakli underground city

Also there are a number of ancient underground cities which have up to 8 stories of underground tunnels and caves, about 85 m deep. There were rooms for grain storage, sleeping chambers, kitchens and ventilation shafts. Long time ago they've been used as hiding places during times of raids. But now they work as museums and are open to the public.

Underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu are the two most important.

Do

Rose Valley
From Kale Church in Rose Valley

Eat

Dishes:

Testi Kebab

Places:

Greek kitchen in guzelyurt

Drink

A trip to Cappadocia is not complete without visiting the Turasan Wine Factory. The grapes which are collected from local farmers are used for producing the world wide famous Cappadocia wines.

Sleep

You are strongly recommended to stay in one of the cave hotels which are the specialty of the region. There are also many accommodation options in Urgup, Goreme, Uchisar and Avanos towns for every budget of traveler. you can find also bewitching historical Greek mansions and cave hotels in Güzelyurt

In Cappadocia from five star hotels to little hostels there is a variety of accommodation facilities. However, the towns of ibrahim pasa (babayan)and Ayvalı are probably the most authentic ones. The restored Greek houses offer cave and arched rooms for those who want to stay in a pleasant accommodation.

Buy

Cappadocia is an important area for shopping, with wonderful carpets and kilims and very local wines. It is also a great region for trekking and the scenery is wonderful in all seasons for photograph taking.

Stay safe

Panorama

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.