PRIVATE NATURE TOUR DETAILS
Visiting an UNDERGROUND CITY (KAYMAKLI or DERINKUYU) is a must if you are not visiting one on any other day. 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 ››
NAR GOLU (Lake Pomegranate) is a crater lake that was formed when a volcano blew its top some time in the not too distant geological past. The hot sulfurous water, which still bubbles up from somewhere below the surface, is supposed to be good for curing all kinds of skin problems. Walking around on the burnt-looking soil of the crater sides you may notice that it has become the home of a wide variety of birds, and it is also possible to come across the shiny jet black obsidian that was prized by Paleolithic and Neolithic people for making tools and weapons that were sharper than surgical steel. For those who want to bathe in these healing waters, a new hotel offers a small pool with separate mens and womens sections. If you are not visiting an underground city or Guzelyurt you can spend a short time swimming in the hot water before continuing on your way. BOOK by EMAIL ››
GUZELYURT (GELVERI, KARVALA, KARBALLA) is an old Greek village now inhabitied by Turks who came during the exchange of populations with Greece in 1924 (as determined by the Treaty of Lausanne at the end of World War I). Connections with its Byzantine past are still in evidence. If you are not visiting an underground city you will have time to see this "Beautiful Homeland".
The village mosque is a converted Byzantine church originally built from local stone in 385 CE by Emperor Theodosius. Named Saint Gregorius Church after Gregory of Nazianzus the Theologian from Cappadocia (one of the three Cappadocian Fathers of the Church), it is still a site of Christian pilgrimage. It was so important to eastern Christianity that the iconostasis and other wooden items were a gift from Tsar Nicolas 1st in the 18th century, and the Ottomans even granted the Church the right to mint coins. Outside there is a staircase with 36 steps leading down to a sacred spring. On the opposite hill you can walk up the rock to Sivisli cave church which is still worth visiting. BOOK by EMAIL ››
IHLARA CANYON was formed by the Melendiz River which originates from a spring fed by the melting snows from Mount Hasan (3,268m). The 14km long gorge has sides of up to 110 meters high. We know Mount Hasan was volcanically active during Neolithic times because of the wall painting found at Catal Hoyuk (now on display at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara).
The gorge formed a wonderfully hidden and sheltered place because it is invisible from the plateau and the zigzagging valley means you can’t see more than a few hundred meters ahead at any one time. This is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why it became home to many Byzantine monasteries, although very few of the remaining cave churches are in reasonable condition today.
The walk along the gorge can be either a sedate 4km (2 hours), a rather more adventurous 10km (5 hours) or even the full 13 km (6½ hours). The aim is not just to walk the gorge but to take in the views and sights along the way. The three villages on the willow–lined banks are still the home of traditional rural life, and you may spot women drying foodstuffs, spinning wool and milking goats on the roofs of their houses, and even washing their clothes in the river. You should also look out for villagers using horses to plough their small fields and donkeys to carry wood back to their villages. BOOK by EMAIL ››
Belisirma VILLAGE for lunch gives an opportunity to sample local dishes of fish while relaxing to the sound of the water flowing by. After lunch, it is fun to visit the remains of the two mills, one for flour and the other for linseed oil which was used for lighting before electricity arrived. Moving on, you’ll pass through YAPRAKHISAR where the pointed pinnacles down the valley side are magically appearing as the softer rock around them is slowly washed away. BOOK by EMAIL ››
SELIME is home to the biggest monastery complex of Cappadocia, and you will be amazed by the cathedral–sized church. The cave expanse is supported by two rows of rock columns and the soot covering the frescos is from the time when Turks used it as a kitchen. You can also see the monks’ quarters, a large kitchen, and a stable for mules. On the way up to the monastery, you pass through a tunnel–like corridor which was used by the trading caravans of camels that stopped over at Selime’s large bazaar. BOOK by EMAIL ››
AGZIKARAHAN CARAVANSERAI (13th century) is on the Silk Road. This famous trading route was probably used for 3,000 years by Assyrian traders before the Seljuks built the Caravanserais (motels for camel trains) every 10–15 kilometers, a day’s walk on foot. There are roughly 350 of them in Turkey, 7 of which are in Cappadocia. A caravanserai was at the same time a fortress, a hotel, a stable, and a market place where silk, paper, carpets, gunpowder and spices were traded. These caravanserais are some of the first Turkish works of art in Anatolia and the doorways show amazing examples of Seljuk stone decoration. BOOK by EMAIL ››