Thursday – 26/12/2019 | Cappadocia ~ the land of the horses
Our day started with a traditional Turkish breakfast. Tea, coffee, boiled eggs, cheeses, honey, jam, nuts, tomatoes, cucumber and sigara böreği (a philo savoury with cheese). The hospitality of the hotel was overwhelming, these people went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed. It was a cloudy and cold day so this breakfast left us feeling warm inside.
After breakfast, we drove to Göreme where we met our tour guide Lutfiye. Göreme is about fifteen minutes away from Ürgüp, it’s a really cute town with little bridges, a canal and lots of cute cafes.
On the way to our first stop, we passed fairy chimneys. There was a volcanic eruption that caused the chimneys to form. There’s a legend that says that they’re called fairy chimneys because when the french came to Cappadocia, they thought no humans were living here but the caves looked like fairies so they thought fairies were living in them.
The first stop with Lutfiye was Love Valley. It’s a beautiful site, the valley is natural, it’s made from volcanic ash.
We then saw Cavusin Castle, it held a church and monasteries used to live in the caves.
Afterwards we went across Asma Köprü. This bridge was designed specifically for pedestrians to cross over the Red River.
Next we went to Gold Loom Carpet. They hand make carpets. It takes two months to make just one square. After showing us how they make the carpets, they showed us how they get the silk for the carpets. It comes straight from the cocoon which is placed into hot water. A kind of small broom is then used to move around all the cocoons and the silk is then pulled out and put onto a big machine. It was a really cool experience to take out the silk from the cocoon. After this, they took us to the showroom where they showed us many, many different carpets.
After this we went to a pottery shop in Avanos. They make the pottery using a 4000 year old system from the Hittites. They explained one of the patterns that was made up of three flowers: a tulip, a carnation and a rose. The tulip symbolises Allah, the carnations symbolises health and the rose symbolises Nabi ﷺ.
Next was imagination valley. It has a lunar landscape. The valley also has many animal shaped rocks, camels, snakes, seals, and dolphins. It looks like a sculpture zoo made by nature. If you let your imagination run free you will find many others.
As we drove to Kaymakli Underground City which is the largest underground city, we saw our first snowfall in Turkey. This was the first time in a really long while that we saw snow, so we were mind blown by it.
The underground city had eight floors but three collapsed. There are more than one hundred tunnels in the city and each one has its own door. People used the city to hide from enemies. They needed five things to survive: air, water, toilets, food and light. They used oil candles for lighting. The first floor was for animals, it also served as an alarm system if intruders tendered. The second floor was used by priests. The tombs of the priests are on this floor because the church is near. The second floor was also for the high class. It was used to store dry food. It’s 12m down. The third floor was the winery. It was for the middle class. The fourth floor was for slaves and immigrants. It’s 20m down. The fifth floor is 75 feet down. There’s a public kitchen there. They only cooked at night so the enemies couldn’t see the smoke.
After we left the underground city, a heavier snowfall started and as we drove the countryside around us turned into a winter wonderland. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
Our last stop was Pigeon Valley, it’s named after the pigeons that live here. In Pigeon Valley, there is a wish tree. Legend has it that if you tie an eye on the tree, your wish will come true.
We then had lunch/supper at Old Cappadocia Cafe & Restaurant. The food was amazing, their pide (Turkish pizza) was the best one I’ve had in Turkey so far.
After our lunch/supper, we went back to the hotel, relaxed for a bit and then went for a quick walk at night. Cappadocia really has a magical vibe to it.
Step count: 9 867