Beneath sweltering skies, find salvation from drifting through the winds in a balloon basket.
During the day, Cappadocia’s sand towers and clay mounds evince the dreaming worldmind of nature, conceiving a whimsical fanfare paralleled only by the storied history of human dwelling whose architectural tapestry and spiritual penchants are carved in minutiae – stone spires endearingly named as fairy chimneys for its semblance to divinity. When night should come, delve deep beneath its soil to discover a sunken garden of cavern inns for a sleeping experience most inimitable.
But, one should not be mistaken that only the earthen surface is suspended in an idealised past; this enchanted world of honeycombed hills is best explored from its hushed skies – an ethereal space untouched by time, forever young and lavish with gentle winds.
This is Turkey’s most remarkable beauty. Welcome to Cappadocia.
EXPLORE THE FIVE OF CAPPADOCIA’S MOST EXTRAORDINARY VISTAS.
Strewn with the most intricate formations of fairy chimneys, the Güllüdere Vadısı, or Rose Valley, is the lone king of all valleys for all of its vivid scenery and panoramic sights.
Owing to an origin of volcanic eruptions, the elaborate configurations of earthen spires were imparted a wild palette by ashen geysers: Grays and white from the substratum that change into hues of tan and red – littered with saffron yellow – toward the crown.
Despite more ways than endless to explore the meandering plains, the formidable landscape culminates in the central church where fresco paintings predate the 9th century. Being within proximity of these artifacts has been known to inspire certain melancholia, and quickly infects observers with ghostly emotions; this lends firmament to a native expression that though this ancient sanctuary is away from their time, it remains close at their heart for its significance of their history, which is remarkably substantiated by the nearby Üç Haçlı Kilise that pictures an enthroned Jesus in older frescoes.
At the peak of the Uçhisar Castle – an enormity carved out of volcanic rock – you would have ascended to the highest point of the valley. It was designed as a stronghold for refugees during hostile invasions from times immemorial, which persisted for centuries thereafter. Though the rustic overtone offers nothing but rugged charm, one can be subdued with a moment of royalty just by observing the world in motion beneath one’s feet.
Be warned to be clothed simple, for the walls within are known to cut into fabric.
In everlasting assertions for the unhurried life, the Ihlara Valley is a refuge to feed the idyllic soul. Its daily bustle – the simple chaos of sheep-grazing – is a relentless prod at its drowsy surround to an airy rhythm that is hypnotic to watch, and when it shies moments before the midday heat blisters is when one will learn what it means to rest.
Göreme Open-Air Museum
Of all things that are symbolic of a cultural travel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is most essential, and within Cappadocia nestles one such prime find: The Göreme Open Air Museum, the walls of which are inscribed with biblical scenes.
Conceived as a cluster of sacred settlements, an unspoken mandate exists for ones of religious penchant to pay homage to the remnants within. Though the sanctity of this once holy place is anything but preserved, the churches and monasteries are remarkably unchanged; the Basil of Caesaera, one of Cappadocia’s most important patron saints, rediscovers immortality in a byzantine fresco within the church’s walls.
Apart from Cappadocia’s cultural realisation, the life of Christ – herein includes the Betrayal of Judas – also comes alive in Göreme’s largest church, the Tokalı Kilise.
Eski Gümüşler Monastery
Yet another pious destination, this site sets itself apart with its sole possession of the Virgin And Child: the only fresco to depict a Smiling Mary in existence. Though the paintings preside as the focal element, the monastery is itself a labyrinthian wonder – the architecture of which, if not for its genius, is an intriguing pursuit to unravel.
CAPPADOCIA’S BEST HOTELS, ACCORDING TO TRAVELERS
CAPPADOCIA, A TRAVEL GUIDE BY LONELYPLANET