Having arrived in the dark, I haven’t had a chance to eat anything yet. I find a café for breakfast, but then the program continues. I book one of the local day tours and after the last drop of hot tea on my lips I’m off.
The tour group is boring, but I get the opportunity to get around a bit around Göreme and Uçhisar. And through a guide, I also learn something about the history of these cave structures.
The “Green” Tour
The first stop of our non-adventure group is the Rose Valley. Not that there are any roses here. The name comes from a rusty coloring of the stones due to an iron content in the rock. Sandstone, basalt and tuff predominate here.
Most of the houses in the valley and many buildings in Cappadocia belong to Greek families. There was a time when Orthodox Christians and Turkish Muslims lived harmoniously here. In the time of Atatürk, many Greeks left the country or were expelled beforehand.
Some of these families have restored the old houses and made fortunes from hotels.
The Rose Valley has no roses at all
There are also many pigeons in this valley. Since these birds were sacred to both Christian and Muslim residents, small dwelling caves and dovecotes were even built in the rock.
Pigeons are sacred to the people here? They should see the city center of Cologne…
Tours in Cappadocia are simple. There are only three different ones: a red one (the classic tour), the blue one and the green one. You can’t go wrong with any of the tours. While the Red and Green Tours cover more of the inner circle around Göreme and Uçhisar, the Blue Tour goes a little further into the countryside.
There are countless agencies offering these three tours. I had a good experience with Cappadociavisitor. I was in constant contact with the organization via Whatsapp, was made aware of changes or was able to easily change the route and determine the pick-up location if desired. The prices are around 30-50 euros.Make a tour
Afterwards we also go into the rock, to the underground city of Kaymaklı. Four thousand years ago, people dug holes and built underground cities here to hide and protect themselves from enemies.
A network of tunnels and dwelling caves, supplying water and air, and massive stone locks runs throughout Cappadocia, largely unexplored to this day. These underground cities were connected by tunnels.
Like marmots, the people must all have disappeared underground when the alarm went off and could come out again where the coast was clear.
And if not – there were enough stores of wine in the caves to keep you in a good mood for weeks.
Drink yourself a siege funny?
What a great idea!
In contrast to underground cities like Georgia’s Vardzia and Uplistsikhe, people didn’t live here permanently, but only used the place as a bunker in case of danger.
What would a trip through Turkey be without the opportunity to be offered tea and a full range of carpets from an innocent merchant? Of course, the coach only stops at a carpet factory out of cultural interest. Carpets made of wool and silk are shown to us while we sip our tea. The patterns of the carpets are designed according to the purpose of the occasion for the production. Nobody weaves a carpet because their feet are cold.
Culture with a price tag…
Women traditionally weave carpets to show that they are willing to marry – or not.
At the birth of a child, with the tax return and of course depending on the region of origin of the family, there is a new carpet with a wide variety of patterns. Of course, this manufactory, which offers poor women a single opportunity for their own earnings, has also won a number of international awards. I vividly remember the same experiences 15 years ago in Morocco. The only difference is that the Berber country had mint tea.
Volcanic activity has sculpted the landscape here, leaving behind basalt and tuff that are easily worked, providing the basis for the people here to carve their condominium out of the rock.
NO FANTASY REALM WITHOUT FAIRY VILLAGES AND MOUNT DOOM!
It is not without reason that the tourism industry gave the area the name “Fairyland“, as these villages in sandstone towers that look like morel mushrooms look really mystical. And in the background you can also see the obligatory mountain of fate. On the horizon, the 3925 meter high, snow-capped Erciyes volcano looms through the cloudless sky.
The landscape is impressive, we keep coming across a collection of typical stone mushrooms.
The “dwarves” of the fantasy realm were also active. In the rock, people found the most exciting minerals. Turquoise was found in the ground and was worshiped as divine, the color reminiscent of the sky. As the stone spread around the world, it got its name “Turkish Stone” or turquoise for short. Sultanite, onyx and other gemstones are also found in the area, boosting the jewelry industry.
The name of the area “Cappadocia” has nothing to do with minerals, but means “land of beautiful horses“. Visiting a jeweler, who shows us the gems in his range with a price tag, is only for scientific and cultural reasons.
THE LAND OF BEAUTIFUL HORSES
PROTECT YOURSELF WITH THE EYE OF EVIL?
Finally we visit the castle of Ortahisar, which with the attached small town looks like a big version of what I used to build and dig in the sandpit as a child: a multitude of small towers made of rock with small windows and tunnels in and out of the Floor.
People have attached an incredible number of “Eyes of Evil” on trees. Sounds bad, but is well intentioned. These blue glass stones with a painted eye are said to ward off the “evil eye” and protect the wearer. Hanging on a tree it is said to bring good luck.
EVEN MORE PIGEONS. MILLIONS OF PIGEONS
In the “Pigeon Valley” there are actually thousands of pigeons for the same reasons as in the Rosental. However, there are so many of the birds that the whole valley was named after them.
The rock towers and houses hewn into the wall with small windows and doors are much more exciting.
IT LOOKS LIKE THE HOME OF ELVES.
I split from the group to do the rest of the time myself until sunset. I want to go back to Uçhisar, walk up the castle there and march back down the Taubental to have a nice view of the castle at sunset. The tour guide tells me that the route is crazy but doable.
NOBODY WALKS HERE. I DO. SO, LET’S GO.
It takes me three hours, the road is slippery, muddy and icy, but I reach my accommodation in Goreme in time for sunset.
My tour is over. I completed this Green Tour with my own ending.
Now another nice evening in Göreme is waiting for me.