LAND OF FAIRY CHIMNEYS
Cappadocia, included in the UNESCO world Natural and Cultural Heritage List in 1985 as the ‘Goreme national park and Cappadocia,' is one of the most original examples of harmony between nature and human settlements.
Cappadocia is home to one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. With its fascinating geological structures, as well as its settlements carved into the rocks, its churches, pigeonries and its still enigmatic underground cities.
Being a mysterious place of Turkey and with its stunning view of the landscape,in Cappadocia, If you have chance for hot air balloon ride ,you will be fascinated by spectacular view of Cappadocia.
Let yourself experience turkish culture,traditions and have a real entertainment with Turkish Night Show.
Visiting underground cities, rock carved churches, monasteries, walking in the valleys, discovering villages carved in the rocks, meeting local people might be among your activities.
Below we have some tours for Cappadocia both in private basis and regular group tours.Up to your wish,we can customize the tours according to your taste. Here we are to plan your trip.
Make your choice for sightseeing tours operated by Meyel Tours.
DID YOU KNOW ?
- That The Goreme Open Air Museum has been a member of UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984 ?
- That the world largest number of cave churches are in Cappadocia many with frescos in-situ.
- 3 of the greatest fathers of the Christian Church, St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, and St. Gregory of Nyssa, were all Cappadocians ?
- That the most famous Dragon Slayer, St. George was born in Cappadocia and the crusades spreaded his fame to Europe ?
- That Cappadocia region houses about 30 well-known ancient underground cities that could safely hide 100,000 people in troubled times ?
- That Explosion of Mt. Hasan in Cappadocia was subject to the first landscape painting in the world as a wall-painting that today can be seen in Anatolian Civilization Museum in Ankara?
The Landscape of Cappadocia
Standing 1,000 meters above sea level, the Cappadocian relief is a high plateau, pierced by volcanic peaks that create a visually stunning landscape, which includes dramatic expanses of rock, shaped, into towers, cones, valleys, and caves. From a distance, Cappadocia appears like a deserted land, however, with closer examination, it is possible to spot the small, winding paths and beautifully-carved homes scattered within the unique land formations.The rock formations that make up Cappadocia were created by volcanic eruptions, erosion, and wind. Over three million years ago a volcanic eruption deposited a blanket of ash across the 1500 square mile landscape which formed into a soft rock. This rock, slowly eaten away by wind and time, has created some spectacular forms Although the area has been extensively used and modified by man for centuries, the resulting landscape is one of harmony and consideration of the intrinsic values of the natural landforms.
The Formation of Fairy Chimneys
The erosion of the masses of tuff by the wind and by flood waters descending from valley slopes has resulted in fascinating structures known as ‘fairy chimneys.' The courses created on the steep slopes by flood waters caused hard rocks to crack and break away. As the highly erodible material in the lower layers was deeply carved, the slope fell back and the conical shapes emerged which were protected from erosion because of the hat-like structures above them. The fairy chimneys, which are mainly to be found around Urgup, are conical in shape and are topped off by a large block of rock. The body is of tuff, tuffit or volcano ash, while the hat is made of hard rocks such as lahar or ignimbrite. The material of which the hat is formed is therefore more resistant than the mixtures of rock forming the body. This is the first condition for the formation of a fairy chimney. Depending on the resistance of the rock forming the hat, the fairy chimneys can stand for a long or short time. The fairy chimneys formed by erosion in the Cappadocia area are of numerous shapes and are called by such names as capped, conic, mushroomshaped, columnar and pointed. The greatest number of fairy chimneys is found in the valleys within the Urgup Uchisar-Avanos triangle, the area between Urgup and Sahinefendi, around the town of Nevsehir Cat, in the Kayseri Soganli valley and around the village of Selime in the province of Aksaray. Besides the fairy chimneys, interesting creases formed on valley slopes by rain waters add to the striking aspect of the region. A harmony of pink, yellow and white is visible on some slopes because of the oxidation and difference in heat occurring during the volcano eruption. Such formations can be seen in the valleys of Uchisar, Cavusin-Gulludere, Goreme-Meskendir, Ortahisar Kizilcukur and Pancarli.
PLACES OF INTEREST CAPPADOCIA
GOREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM
GOREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM
Goreme declared as a national park in 1985.By the end of the 2nd century a large Christian community had formed in Cappadocia. It is known that there were two bishoprics at that time; one in Kayseri, which, for a long time, continued to be a Christian center in the regon and the other in Malatya. In the 4th century Cappadocia became known as the land of the three saints; The Great St.Basil, Bishop of Kayseri; his brother St.Gregory of Nyssa, and St. George of Nazianus. These three men created a new unity in Christian thought and many of St.Basil's thoughts and actions are still important today. St .Basil is important in that he introduced worship within the community in the churches of Cappadocia. Goreme Open Air Museum is the place where this kind of religious education was started.
Chapel of St Basil
At the entrance of the Goreme Open Air Museum the nave and narthex are divided with 2 arches. The three Maltese Crosses on the vault represent God, the son Jesus and the holy spirit.The church has two styles of painting technique . Along with the geometrical designs painted directly on the rock, the secco tecnique is used.The St Basil Church is dated to 11th century.
Scenes: On the main apse is a portrait of Jesus, and next to this is a portrait of Mary and Baby Jesus. On the north wall is picture of St. Theodore, whiLe St. George and the dragon are featured on the south wall. The paintings of St Demetrius and two female saints can also be seen.
Elmali (Apple) Church
The church has been dated back to the mid 11th century and the beginning of the 12th century.15 scenes are seen in the church about Jesus's life. Three of them are of his childhood, 2 of them are of his adult life and the other are of his suffering periods. In the central dome there is a figure of Jesus Pantokrator. The other seven domes carry the figures of the main angels.Due to the damage of the paintings on the walls, the restoration and reconstruction are being done by the Management of Reconstruction and the Restoration Society of Istanbul and directed by the restoration expert Revza Ozil.
Scenes: Deesis, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi, Baptism, Raising of Lazarus, Transfiguration, Entry into Jerusalem, Last Supper, Betrayal of Judas, Way of the Cross, Crucifixion, Entombment, Anastasis, Women at the Tomb, Ascension and portraits of the saints. There are also scenes from the Old Testament (Pentateuch) such as the Hospitality of Abraham and Three Young Men in the Fiery Furnace.
Chapel of St. Barbara
This is probably one of the most attractive church in the Goreme Open Air Museum. Situated in back of the Elmali church. The small divisions, red painted figures and the well cared for architecture, flow unison. This church always surprises the visitor with all the different varieties of religious and absurd figures.
Yilanli (Snake) Church of St.Onuphrius
The church dates to the 11th century .Scenes: A portrait of Jesus holding the Bible in his left hand. The donor of the church is pictured beside Jesus. On the east side of the vault are St. Onesimus, St. George and the Dragon, St. Theodare, and Helena holding the True Cross with her son Constantine the Great. On the west of the vault is the long haired, naked St. Onuphoilis behind a palm tree, with St. Thomas in a sanctifying pasition beside him, and St. Basil holding a book.
Karanlik (Dark) Church
It is called the Dark Church because it gets very little light from the window in the narthex, and for this reason the colours are still very bright.
The narthex and the church itself are richly decorated with scenes related to the lifes of Mary and Jesus. As in the Apple and Sandals Churches, there are also scenes from the Old Testament. The Deesis scenes in the main apse was painted using the fresco technique (directly onto wet plaster), which is very rare in Cappadocian churches, and one can still see the fingerprints of the artists on the faces of Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist.
Scenes: Deesis, Annunciation, Journey to Bethlehem, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi, Baptism, Raising of Lazarus, Transfiguration, Entry into Jerusalem, Last Supper, Betrayal of Judas, Crucifixion, Anastasis, Women at the Tomb, Blessing and Mission of the Apostles, Ascension,the Hospitality of the Prophet Abraham, Three Young Men in the Fiery Furnace and portraits of the saints.
Chapel of St Catherine
Situated between the Karanlik (Dark) Church and the Carikli Church, the Chapel of St. Catherine it has a free-cross nave and narthex. The Chapel of St. Catherine, built by a donor named Anna, dates back to the 11th century.
Scenes: Deesis in the apse with the templon, below are Doctors of the Church (Gregory, Basil the Great and John Chrysostom), on the south wall of the northern arm is St. George, opposite St. Theodore, St. Catherine and other panels depicting saints.
Tokali (Buckled) Church
This is the oldest known rock-cut church in the region, and comprises of four sections: The Old Church with one nave; the New Church; the Lower Church under the Old Church; and the parakklesion to the north of the New Church.
The single-naved, barrel-vaulted Old Church, built in the 10th century, today acts as the entrance to the New Church. Its apse collapsed when the New Church was added to the east wing. Frescoes are to be found on the vaulted ceiling and at the top of the walls. The life of Jesus is told on separate panels on the vault, running from left to right.
The New Church is transversely rectangular with a simple barrel vault. On the east wall there are four columns joined by arches, behind which there is a raised corridor in front of the main apse and two side apses. On this barrel vaulted nave is the story of Jesus in chronological order in mainly bright red and blue colours. The dark blue colour serves to distinguish the Tokali Church from the other churches.On the transversal nave are scenes from the life of St. Basil, portraits of some saints and pictures of the Miracles of Jesus. The Church is dated back to last decade of the 10th century and the first decade of the 11th century.
KAYMAKLI UNDERGROUND CITY
Kaymakli underground city is built under the hill known as the Citadel of Kaymakli, in the centre of the town 19 km from Nevsehir, on the Nevsehir – Nigde road. It was opened to visitors in 1964. Kaymakli Underground City is different from Derinkuyu Underground City in terms of both form and organization. The passages are low, narrow and sloping. Only 4 floors are open to the public, in which the spaces are organized around the ventilation shafts. The most important areas of the underground city are on the 3rd floor. Besides numerous storage places, wineries and kitchen, the block of andesite with relief-texture found on this floor is very interesting. Even though the whole city has not been completely opened, and since only 4 floors have been uncovered, it is certain that Kaymakli is one of the largest underground settlements in the region. The number of the storage rooms in such a small area supports the idea that a great number of people resided here.
DERINKUYU UNDERGROUND CITY
Derinkuyu is situated 29 km from Nevsehir, on the road to Nigde. The city is approximately 85 m deep. It contains all the usual rooms found in an underground city (stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, wineries etc.). Apart from these, a large room with a barrel vaulted ceiling on the second floor was a missionary school, the rooms to the left being study rooms.
4th floors onwards the descent is by way of vertical staircases which lead to a cruciform plan church on the lowest floor. The 55m deep ventilation shaft was also used as a well. Not every floorwas provided with a well, however, and some wells were not connected with the surface in order to protect the dwellers from poisoning during raids. Derinkuyu Underground City was opened to visitors in 1965, but so far only 10% can be visited.
PASABAG (MONKS VALLEY)
Pasabag Valley which was formerly known as “The Monks Valley” is located on the right of the Goreme-Avanos road. This area which is full of peculiar fairy chimneys looks remarkable. Some of the multi-bodied and multi-headed fairy chimneys were carved to construct chapels and sitting areas. In one of the three-headed fairy chimneys, a chapel and a seclusion room dedicated to St. Simeon was carved. Entrance of the stylite which is accessible with a narrow chimney is decorated with crucifixes. There are oven, sitting and sleeping quarters and window apertures to ensure light transmission in this fairy chimney.
The top of the citadel provides a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area. Many rooms hollowed out into the rock are connected to each other with stairs, tunnels and passages. At the entrances of the rooms, there are millstone doors, just like the ones in the underground settlements, used to control access to these places. Due to the erosion in places of this multi-leveled castle, it is unfortunately not possible to reach all the rooms.The fairy chimneys to the west, east and north of Uchisar were hollowed out and used as graves during the Roman period. Inside these rock cut tombs, the entrances of which generally face west, are klines or stone slabs on which the bodies were laid. Many rock cut churches have been discovered not only on the skirts of the castle but also inside it. The reason for this may be the fact that Goreme, having numoreus churches and monasteries, is very close to Uchisar. The simple byzantine graves on top of the castle are not very interesting due to the fact that they have been eroded and ransacked. It is said that in towns with citadels, e.g. Uchisar, Ortahisar and Urgup, long defense tunnels reached far into the surrounding areas. However, since the tunnels have collapsed in places, this theory cannot be confirmed, but is a popular myth as to the great distances they cover
DEVRENT (IMAGINATION) VALLEY
Devrent Valley is 20 km far from Nevsehir . Situated over Avanos-Urgup road, Devrent Valley is one of the most attracting places of Cappadocia where different formations of fairy chimneys can be watched. In the valley, known also as “imagination” or “Pink Valley” for resembling to some creatures.
Also, it is possible to see interesting rock formations on the road through valley. Some of these are swollen skirted Mother Mary imitation and large and small human figures imitations. The most interesting figure is the rock formation which is similar to camel.
Devrent Valley, in which no rock church is found, is like a wonder of nature which takes the attention of hiking fans and compels the limitations of their imaginations.
It is 55 km far from Goreme. It collapsed and settled during earthquakes and these dips got deeper with natural effects,formed valleys and plateaus as the consequence of such natural phenomena.Settlements in this area took place during the Roman times. The Romans used the stone conies on the slopes of the valley as graveyards and the Byzantine as churches. Church frescos in styles, dates back to the 9th and 13th centuries.There are thousands of carved bird aviaries, caves and shelter in addition to some churches and monasteries along the Soganli Valley. This captivating scene combined with the mild effects of the colorful trees on both sides of valley coerces the limits of another time.The major churches in the Soganli Valley are Karabas, Yilanli, Kubbeli St. Barbara (Tahtali).
Kubbeli (the domed) church was formed by carving into a chimney rock. It reveals a characteristic architecture with its vaults and apse. Kubbeli (the domed) church is of great importance in that it is one of the fine examples of its kind due to the carving made outside the rocks.
The St. Barbara Church, which was supposed to be built in the 10th century, is located at the end of the valley. This church, which is also called Tahtali (wooden) church, has a single apse and a barrel vault.
Authentic hand-made linen dolls produced in Soganli and its surrounding have attracted the attention of the tourists visiting the area and this has already become an industry.
Handwork, gloves and socks ornamented with Anatolian motifs, etc also attract attention as well as the linen dolls made and sold under different names in the area.
Ihlara Valley, near Mount Hasan (one of the three volcanoes of Cappadocia) is a canyon with a depth of approximately 100 m and was formed by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago.
The churches in the Valley can be divided into two groups: the Ihlara group, including the Agacalti, Purenli Seki, Kokar, Egritas and Yilanli churches that reflect oriental influences, and the Belisırma group,comprising Sumbullu Church and others with Byzantine characteristics.
The churches of the Ihlara group display scenes dissimilar to the scenes depicted in other Cappadocian churches. There are many churches in the valley. We have chosen 11 of them for you to visit.Important Churches from Ihlara Village to Belisırma Village,
- Egritas Kilise (Church with Crooked Stone)
- Kokar Kilise (Church of Sweet Smell)
- Purenli Seki Kilisesi (Church with the Terrace)
- Agacalti Kilise (Church under the Tree)
- Sumbullu Kilise (Hyacinth Church)
- Yilanli Kilise (Church with Snake)
- Karagedik Kilise (Church with Black Collar)
- Kirk Damalti Kilisesi (Church of St. George)
- Bahattin Kilise (Bahattin's Granary Church)
- Direkli Kilise (Pillard Church)
- Ala Kilise (Mottled Church)