Cappadocia (pronounced: Kapadokia), is a region in the middle of Turkey that is known for it’s landscape. The main features are the fairy chimneys and beautiful valleys that look similar to the grand canyon. Each year the ISS (International Student Society) organizes a trip to Cappadocia, filled with activities and tours.
Expand around the red dot about a quarter inch in all directions and that is the Cappadocia region.
My pictures should help explain what we did while we were there:
Thursday night and Friday:
My swollen knee. I fell up the stairs and landed on this knee with all my weight about 2 hours before we left for Cappadocia. That red line developed into a very pretty purple bruise within the next couple hours.
Bus buddies. This is Jenn She is from Prince Edward Island in Canada. (think Anne of Green Gables)
We left campus at around 10:30pm (it was supposed to be 9pm, but it’s Turkey!) on buses that we rented through the school. They were like Raz busses without TVs. This was a view of the pretty sunrise in the morning. We arrived at our hotel (owned by the family of the president of ISS) at about 11am the next morning.
We took three busses full of people which is about 135 exchange students!
Everyone chilling in the lobby while we waited for our room assignments. The theme of this trip was not knowing what was going on at any given time. (As many of you know, I love organization and having a plan, so I was frustrated for most of the weekend. As I have learned, flexible timing is part of Turkish culture, so I am working on being accepting :] )
A new hotel being built on the street near the hotel. We stayed at Dadak Thermal Spa & Welness Hotel in Kozaklı. This is north of most of the attractions in Cappadocia. The hotel is right behind this building in the picture. It was really nice.
As soon as we got to the hotel, my roommates and I settled in and waited around for instructions. Of course noone knew what was going on, so when we finally went to the lobby to find out, everyone was getting ready to leave the hotel for sightseeing.
Our first stop was to see fairy chimneys. There was a camel there for touristy rides.
According to the tour guide, the fairy chimneys were formed when erosion took away the soft rock layers (Tuff) and left the hard rock layers (Basalt) in place.
Cappadocia has been occupied by various powers (including the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, and Byzantines, Ottomans and finally the Turks) since the Bronze Age. The fairy chimneys have been used as houses, churches and hideouts for centuries and many can still be toured.
Jenn and Rumeysa (from Holland, but she is Turkish in heritage).
The landscape here is beautiful in every direction.
This is a church built in the fairy chimneys. It is several stories tall, but there aren’t any ladders inside anymore. Of course that didn’t stop some of the more adventurous people from climbing the walls and through the holes to the top stories.
Civil engineers should really take some lessons from the people that built these. They are well designed and very sturdy. The rooms are comfortable and shelves, benches and tables are built into the stone in some of the chimneys.
A window in the church.
It’s so weird to me that we can walk all over the chimneys. This would never fly in the US at the National Parks.
Cappadocia is also famous for wine. The grapes are grown low to the ground without tresses.
Our next stop was Imagination Valley where many of the fairy chimneys look like shapes. can you guess what this one is??? Answer: It’s a camel
Aida, Rumeysa and me.
This one is supposed to look like the Virgin Mary.
We then went to Pigeon Valley, so named for the large amount of pigeons there.
There was a tree there that you could tie evil-eye protectors onto. This symbol is everywhere in Turkey. It is called Nazar Boncuğu in Turkish. You are supposed to wear one at all times to ward off the evil-eye.
Every single touristy shop sells these, so be prepared to get one from me when I return
After a REALLY late lunch (4pm) we went across the street to a pottery workshop where one girl got to try throwing a pot. We were then told that everything in the shop was 50% off. More like each price was double the actual price so we thought we were getting a deal. The pottery was beautiful, but taking it home is going to be a challenge, so I only bought one piece.
We left the hotel midmorning and went to Kaymaklı where the underground cities are located. These cities were up to 8 levels below ground, VERY well engineered to let fresh air into the even the lowest levels, and built around 2000BC but the Hittites. They were mainly used in the time of the Romans by Christians looking for a hideout. The cities could accommodate up to 50,000 people and be completely sealed off so no above ground trace was visible.
A room in the underground city.
Our tour guide showing us a mill stone.
This is not a place to go if you are claustrophobic. The tunnels are very small and even I had to bend at the waist to move through them. I did bonk my head on the ceiling and lost a bunch of hair since the rock in so rough. No worries, I didn’t go bald in that spot
Huge grates have been added over the holes in the floor that show the lower layers.
This is an open air natural castle. I can’t remember the name though.
This was our next stop. The view was fantastic and the sky even cleared up to give us better picture weather!
These are whirling dervishes. I haven’t seen them yet, but I plan to.
So Young (from Vancouver, BC). We are Pacific NW buddies.
Rumeysa with a bunch of pretty lamps. I want to buy one, but don’t know how I will bring it home without it breaking.
This picture is from the Göreme Open Air Museum. This museum includes about 10 churches carved in the fairy chimneys. They date back to the 4th-11th centuries. St. Basil was instrumental in developing Christianity in this region and the churches are still here with mostly original murals and painted decorations. We couldn’t take any pictures inside the churches, but you can see some pictures of what it looks like here.
Some of the entrances to the churches at the museum.
After the open air museum, we stopped a winery to taste some Cappadocian wine. (the drinking age is 18 in Turkey, but they never check IDs so I’m sure you could be much younger)
I have no idea what kind of white wine I tasted, but it was yummy. It was really cheap as well, but I didn’t buy any.
We got on the buses Sunday afternoon (We didn’t leave in the morning because everyone [not me] wanted to party at the discotek (just a club) at the hotel on Saturday night. Getting up for the bus ride home was hard enough for them I think.) We arrived back to campus at 1am on Monday morning. And of course I had my first Ochem lab at 9:30am that day.
Getting closer to being caught up! One more weekend to post about Leave me some comments like always!