BUDGET SOUTH WEST TOUR DETAILS
ESENTEPE viewpoint is the best panoramic viewpoint from which to see Goreme Valley. The village is full of fairy chimneys, some of which have been converted into homes by cutting caves out of the soft volcanic rock, and some of which became churches. In the distance you can see the red, rose and cream coloured rocks of the local valleys. BOOK by EMAIL ››
DERINKUYU UNDERGROUND CITY is one of the most amazing wonders of the world. 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 ››
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 canyon 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 canyon is about 3½km (taking about 1½ hours). The aim is not just to walk the gorge but to take in the views and sights along the way. 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 ››
PIGEON VALLEY viewpoint 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 and old Greek houses and UCHISAR CASTLE. BOOK by EMAIL ››