DRIVER ONLY HIGHLIGHTS ROUTE DETAILS
GOREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM is home to the world’s most important Byzantine cave churches in these once remote valleys where monks and nuns pursued monastic life from the 3rd century on. Saint Basil, one of the three Cappadocian Fathers of the Church and Bishop of Caesarea (Kayseri) who first formulated the rules for monastic life directly influenced the lifestyle of the monastic orders in these valleys. Here you can see the best preserved in situ Byzantine cave wall paintings and frescos from the late Byzantine period through to the end of Seljuk rule. Icons with scenes from the Old Testament and the New Testament above portraits of Church Fathers and saints depict the structure of the Byzantine universe. The best examples, the Dark Church (yes, you can see the Dark Church on this trip) and the Buckle Church, should not be missed. BOOK by EMAIL ››
PASABAGI means "The Pasha’s Vineyard", a name it received after the Byzantine Greek population left the region. In Seljuk and Ottoman times, it was called "Papaz’in Bagi" because Christian hermits chose to locate hermit cells and churches in these three–headed pinnacles symbolic of the Holy Trinity. Perhaps such symbolism helped these monks develop a greater understanding of God. This peaceful, attractive valley is famous for its three headed fairy chimneys, and it’s possible to see all the stages in the formation of fairy chimneys at this spot. The vineyards surrounding these natural wonders are still cultivated by locals (you can taste the grapes from September on), and trees such as apricot, apple, pear, quince, cherry, mulberry and walnut are plentiful. BOOK by EMAIL ››
DEVRENT VALLEY also known as "Imagination Valley", is the most surreal–looking landscape. This is one part of Cappadocia that really makes one feel they are on a different planet. Thousands of years of wind, rain and extreme temperature changes have worn the beautifully colored rocks into strange and wonderful animal and human shapes that make you think a modern sculptor has been living in the valley. You are wrong! You have just been introduced to the work of nature’s greatest artist, Erosion. BOOK by EMAIL ››
AVANOS has been famous for thousands of years for its pottery made from the red, iron-ore bearing clay deposited by the longest river within Turkey, the Kizilirmak (Red River). During the second millennium BCE, Avanos was inhabited by Assyrian traders and was later taken over by the Hittites; some of the techniques and designs used by potters today date back to this period. At one time every house had a potters wheel, and no family would give their daughter in marriage if the groom could not make pots! Today, the best of the ceramics and tiles on sale in Istanbul and other major cities are made here. You can watch potters spinning their traditional kick–wheels with their feet, and even try throwing a pot yourself. BOOK by EMAIL ››
KAYMAKLI or DERINKUYU Underground City is a must–see sight. Although all towns and villages in Cappadocia once had safe and secure secret rooms dug out of the soft tufa (tuff) rock, the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu are intrinsically different because their size, scale, and evidence of underground city planning. Up to 50 meters deep and 3 kilometers wide, as many as 5,000 people were able to hide safely underground out of site of the enemy, with their store of food that could last for months if necessary.
Life (and death) could continue relatively normally in these well–ventilated cities lit by linseed–oil lamps, which had their own water supply, stockpiled food, kitchens, toilets, churches and even graveyards safe behind their gigantic circular mill–stone doors which could only be opened from the inside. The people could even cook food safely, as multiple chimneys dispersed the smoke imperceptibly so their presence would not be discovered by the enemy. BOOK by EMAIL ››
UCHISAR CASTLE can be seen from two different places. Each view is spectacular and unique. The lower gateway to the castle provides a close up panorama of the rocky edifice that is the highest point of Cappadocia with its surrounding cones and carved out honeycombs of ancient dwellings. At PIGEON VALLEY you have a bird’s eye view of the dovecotes carved out of the rocks, the snow capped Mount Erciyes (the mountain that gets bigger the further away you are), as well as a spectacular view of old abandoned fairy chimney cave homes, old Greek houses and UCHISAR CASTLE. BOOK by EMAIL ››