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Cappadocia: A wonder of nature based in Turkey




Cappadocia is a region in Central Anatolia in Turkey, lying mainly in the Nevsehir Province. Cappadocia is known for its stunning and visually striking landscape that resembles the surface of the Moon, with caves and “fairy chimneys” (chimney like structures). It is a unique place with underground cities that include houses carved in the rocks, churches, wine production places etc. The unique landscape is a result of the volcanic eruptions that occurred in the volcanoes of Erciyes, Melendiz and Hasan, leading to the formation of a large volcanic plain, and together with the work of the waters of the Kizilirmak river and hostile winds, over tens of thousands of years, there appeared this unique rocky landscape, with chimney structures, a wonder of nature.
The history of Cappadocia is long and very old, dating back to prehistoric times. Hitti culture was active during the Bronze Age, with the Hittites arriving in 2000 BC. Then came the Assyrians (2000-1800 BC), and while the Phrygians were the rulers from 1250 BC, the Persians ruled till about 334 BC, after expelling the Lydian’s. In AD 17 came the Romans, encouraging settlements and building of urban centres in the region. It was the first Christians, who, fearing persecution by the Romans, hid inside these underground cities, from they couldn’t be seen and found. Staying underground for such a long time, they built an elaborate living system, with water wells, churches, rooms, toilets etc. Finally, the Seljuk’s and the Ottomans arrived.
Though the rocky, volcanic region appears to be dead to vegetation, its soil is mineral rich, perfect for growing fruits and vegetables. The region is Anatolia’s prime place for growing grapes, and has many vineyards and wineries. Cappadocia is a major tourist destination of Turkey. There are a number of attractions that include the underground cities, the hot air balloon rides over the fairy chimneys, hiking etc. There are even underground hot nightclubs, giving it a night life.

Climate and best time to visit:

Cappadocia has a continental climate, hot and dry in summers with chilly and snowy winters. The area does not receive much rainfall. The best time to visit is from April to Mid-June and September to October, when it’s not too hot and less crowded.

LOCATION ON GOOGLE MAPS:


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Driving directions from Ankara in Turkey to Cappadocia:


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Map of Cappadocia: http://www.cappadociaonline.com/images/capharita.jpg

How to get there:

By bus: There are buses available to Nevsehir and Goreme from major Turkish cities.
By plane: There are flights available to Kayseri from Izmir and Istanbul. Goreme is about an hour drive from Kayseri.
By train: There are trains available to Kayseri from almost all railway stations in Turkey. From Kayseri, a bus can be taken Goreme.

Places to stay (Hotels / Restaurants along with website / Contact Numbers):

There are plenty of hotels to stay in Cappadocia, from expensive to budget ones. Some of the underground cities have been converted into hotels, and some have even been carved out of the rocks. Some of the top rated hotels are as given below:
1. Serinn House
Esbelli Sokak No. 36, Urgup, Turkey
Phone: +90 384 341 6076, Website: http://www.serinnhouse.com/
2. 4ODA Cave House
Esbelli sok. No: 46, Urgup 50400, Turkey
3. Gamirasu Cave Hotel
Ayvali Koyu, Urgup 50400, Turkey
4. Kismet Cave House
Kagnii Yolu No: 9 | Belediye cad. Goreme 50180, Turkey

Source: Trip Advisor

There are many restaurants Cappadocia, offering all kinds of cuisines. Cappadocia has a lot of wineries too, producing some very fine wine. Some of the best restaurants are given below:

1. LIL’A RESTAURANT
Tel: +90 384 219 2220
http://www.lil-a.com.tr
2. ZIGGY’S SHOPPE & CAFE
Tevfik Fikret Caddesi No. 24 | Yunak Mahallesi, Urgup, Turkey
Tel: +90-384-341 7107
3. ALATURCA
Tel: +90 384 271 2882

Source: Cappadociaonline.com

BLOGS / SITES ABOUT CAPPADOCIA (WITH SMALL EXCERPTS FROM THESE BLOGS):

1. A brief history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cappadocia
Cappadocia was known as Hatti in the late Bronze Age, and was the homeland of the Hittite power centred at Hattusa. After the fall of the Hittite Empire, with the decline of the Syro-Cappadocians (Mushki) after their defeat by the Lydian king Croesus in the 6th century, Cappadocia was ruled by a sort of feudal aristocracy, dwelling in strong castles and keeping the peasants in a servile condition, which later made them apt for foreign slavery. It was included in the third Persian satrapy in the division established by Darius, but continued to be governed by rulers of its own, none apparently supreme over the whole country and all more or less tributaries of the Great King.

2. Things to do, sightseeing and attractions:
http://wikitravel.org/en/Cappadocia
• Hot Air Balloon Tours: This is one of the most popular activities in Goreme. Typically lifting off at sunrise, these rides last about an hour in the air and literally go wherever the wind may blow in the Cappadocia Valley. The balloon baskets hold around 20 people with the pilot riding air currents much like a boat, floating down the valleys, often below the ridge line and quite close to the chimney rocks. It’s a fantastic ride and if you’ve ever had the urge to splurge on a balloon ride, this would be the place to do it. There are 15 balloon companies in the region.
• Cross Golf. : Cappadocia is a national park and its natural environment must be protected for everyone to enjoy today and in the future. Cross Golf uses the natural features of the landscape to challenge even the most experienced golfer. The fairy chimneys, fascinating rock formations and flora and fauna in the unique environment of Cappadocia remain unaffected by Cross Golf.

2. http://www.great-adventures.com/destinations/turkey/cappadocia.html
Rock Cut Churches and Monasteries
Many settlements in Cappadocia were established primarily as monastic communities. As Bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in the 4th century, St. Basil the Great wrote the rules for monastic life that are still followed by monks and nuns of the Greek Orthodox Church. He advocated community life, prayer and physical labour rather than the solitary asceticism that was popular at the time and it was under his guidance that the first churches were built in Goreme Valley. Here, a number of small communities with their own churches formed the large monastic complex that is now the Open Air Museum. Hundreds of churches are reported to have been built in this valley but no churches from St. Basil’s time remain. In Goreme, the Tokali Kilise or the “Buckle Church” is easily the loveliest of the churches with graceful arches and beautiful frescoes.

3. Photo Gallery:

1. Cappadocia photos with tags by a traveller: http://www.pbase.com/dosseman/capadocia_turkey

2. Cappadocia photos collection:
http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Middle_East/Turkey/Central_Anatolia/Nevsehir/Cappadocia/

4. You Tube Videos:
1. A small video of Cappadocia with narration:

2. Underground city in Cappadocia:

3. “Cappadocia – The Land That Time Forgot”:




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