Amazing Volcanic Rock Formations of Cappadocia & UNESCO World Heritage Site
After having experienced the beautiful sights and sounds of Istanbul, I took the flight from Istanbul to Kayseri to head to the region of Central Anatolia and Cappadocia which was included as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.The drive from Kayseri Airport to Urgup took around 60 minutes, where I was to stay at Dinler Hotel, a four star property which overlooks Ürgüp, the centre of Cappadocia, 80 kilometers from Kayseri Airport.
Cappadocia is a land locked region and comprises of several provinces.The most popular areas are Nevshir, Ürgüp, Avanos and Göreme-the open air museum. The other provinces are Aksaray, Nigde, Kayseri and Kirsehir. The moon-like landscapes of Cappadocia are in fact the result of the erosion of the different layers of lava spat in the distant past by Erciyes, Hasandag and Gulludag, the three active volcanoes of the region. The erosion by wind and rain still continues today and makes some parts collapse and others stand out. Small rivers meander in surprisingly beautiful wild canyons lined by the so-called ‘fairy chimneys’. You will be overwhelmed by the astoundingly beautiful array of colours which continuously change according to the time of the day and changing light.
The ancient town of Ürgüp is built at the slope of a rocky hill and you have several cave hotels where you can stay.The hill is made of volcanic tuff and most of the houses are carved out of this soft rock formation.The entire area is covered with unique land formations and the sudden slopes of colourful gorges, the fairy chimney formations along with natural and man-made caves gives the place a unique character.
The fairy-chimneys are in fact tall pinnacles made of tuff with a large rock sitting on the top. There are a number of early Christian churches, monasteries and chapels carved out of this volcanic tuff material in the surroundings. The town is known to be the residence to the bishops, during the MiddleAges.
The best way to see the various formations is to start your tour at the Imagination Valley where you see some amazing animal shaped rocks including the mighty King Kong, the head of a dinosaur as well as the camel with its hood which is one of the most photographed sights of the valley.
I would strongly recommend to spend at least 2 nights in Cappadocia so that you can explore the region by Hot Air Balloon and glide through love valley and a stay at a Cave hotel is highly recommended. In winters, this region is covered by snow and becomes a popular skiing area and one of the exciting ways to explore the region is on horseback as Cappadocia in Persian means the “land of the beautiful horses”. You can also experience the Hamam-Turkish bath at the end of the day to rejuvenate yourself.
The volcanic eruptions millions of years ago have made this area rich and fertile and you find grapes, apricots, cherries as well as chick peas and sugar beets grown in this region. The region of Cappadocia is also famous for its wine and at Avanos which is 18 kilometers from Nevshir, there is a tradition of pottery-making which has been in existence for more than 8000 years. Read more to explore for the next day…