Top 8 things to do in Cappadocia!, Turkey!
The landscapes of Turkey are diverse and dramatic. Many of them are in fact so unique that you will probably only find them in Turkey. My trip to Turkey was so amazing that I saw many wonderful places and I was almost overwhelmed. Starting off from the only transcontinental metropolis in the world, Istanbul, I headed down south along the coast of the Aegean Sea and visited a number of ancient Greek heritage sites, then, we continued our journey to the beach resort down in Kuşadası, the white travertine terraces in Pamukkale, the camel trading center on the silk road, the blue hole, Lake Tuz, the Capital city, Ankara, and more… each of these places has left a mark in my heart and it was truly a “once-in-a-lifetime” (if not more), kind of experience.
Of all these incredible sceneries, Cappadocia is probably the most well-known destination in the country. Cappadocia is a semi-arid region located the heart of Turkey. The name, Cappadocia, means “the land of beautiful horses”. The region the region’s landscape is famous for being so distinctive to the outside world. While I was there, it felt like I was on a different planet.
There are a number of things to see and do in the area: The hot air balloon ride – for sure, the popular activity offers tourists the best view of the lunar landscape. The volcanic rock formations are carved by wind and water through years of erosion into peculiar shapes. As if the rocks are not special enough, there is also an ancient settlement that once lived in caves and left impressive artworks and wall paintings.
So, let’s take a look at the top 8 things to do in Cappadocia, while you are there:
Visit Göreme Open Air Museum and feast your eyes with vibrant Byzantine art
The Göreme Open Air Museum might as well be the highlight of the Cappadocia. Although the dramatic rocks could be basically seen anywhere as the car is approaching the area, the Göreme Open Air Museum is in the heart of it all. The museum is a cluster of over 30 carved rock churches and chapels for being an important monastic complex in the 17th century, the fine rock-cut churches and chapel showcase some of the best examples of Byzantine Art – and some of them are beautifully preserved being away from sunlight. The frescoes in the dark church and Buckle Church have left me in awe as the paintings still retain their original freshness.
Go to Monk’s Valley and Pigeon Valley to get the best view of fairy chimneys
There are a lot of giant mushrooms in Cappadocia, and they are called “fairy chimneys”. The “fairy chimneys” are millions of years in the making. The group of mushroom-like rocks had me wondered how many magic tricks the mother nature had in its pocket. Actually, it is a result of million years of erosion followed by a volcanic eruption that formed Turkey. After an eruption, ashes that covered the land were solidified into soft rock. These soft rocks were then covered by a layer of basalt. Over years and years of erosion, the softer tuff (light, porous rock formed by volcanic ash) in the bottom layer wore down faster than the harder basalt. Each stone pillar, in the end, has a mushroom-shaped basalt cap left and that’s how it became a “fairy chimney”.
The Monk’s Valley (in Pasabag) and Pigeon Valley are two great locations to see the fairy chimneys. While the Monk’s Valley is where the tall, remarkable fairy chimneys locate, and the Pigeon Valley offers a panoramic view of the area. There are some nice restaurants in Pigeon valley where you could have an awesome view of the rocks and caves, having lunch on a terrace.
Get imaginative in the Devrent Valley
Devrent Valley, also known as Imagination Valley, is a place that spikes imagination. There This is where natural rock formations are shaped like animals and so much more. While the “camel” is the centerpiece of them all. It would be fun to walk around the explore the area – you will have a lot of amazing discovery if you are inspired.
Travel through underground cities and learn about ancient citizens lives
Underground cities were built mainly in the period of Arab-Byzantine wars between the 7th to 11th century. These cities provide protection from Muslim Arabs attack and come “cities” could accommodate as many as 20,000 people with all kinds of facilities (school, churches, and more) built in these complexes. Not only the construction itself has become an architectural wonder, but also inscriptions and drawings in the chapels that made them valuable to historians.
Stay in a cave hotel and sleep in the rocks
living in a cave if your thing. Cappadocia offers a lot of choices for you to experience what it feels like sleeping in a cave. Well, I might be claustrophobic, but as I see these hotels are very luxurious, and nothing like how people used to live in the past. The hotels are built in rocks with windowed suites, modern amenities, and swimming pools. It would be a comfortable and unique experience!
Pamper yourself with a traditional Turkish Bath
After a day out and about, it may be a good idea to just relax and visit a Turkish Bath to wash away all your exhaustion. A Turkish bath is the Islamic variant of the Roman bath or Sauna. It took place in a classic Roman bath-style hall and it involves steam, foam and scrub treatment and finally, hot tub.
The foam was created by folding and turning a foam bag (done by the service people) and then apply the foam on your body – Kind of what Mariah Carey does and Instagram every day. The foam is supposed to clean every pore after a steam… Not exactly complicated but well, it’s an experience…
Enjoy a fun Turkish night out and watch Sufi Whirling
Sufi whirling is a very important religious dance in Turkey and whirling dolls or figurines could be seen anywhere in the country. It is a form of active meditation by letting go of one’s “naf”s, egos, or personal desires, and focusing on God with the music. It is a strong expression of emotion to the love of God. The whirl represents revolution – as is Sufi’s beliefs, everything turns in the universe: The world turns, the sun turns, the blood turns, and also the Dervish turns.
The dance is usually performed by dervishes, who must take a vow of poverty and live in monastic conditions. They are dressed in wide, white robes and hats with arms crossed in front of their chests. When they whirl, their arms are opened – the right palm upward toward heaven and left palm downward toward earth – in a counterclockwise direction.
Hop on a hot air balloon and let Cappadocia take your breath away!
I put it in the finale because it totally earns the “last, but definitely not least” title, and almost not require any further elaboration.
Viewing the unique and incredible landscape from the above and beyond would definitely be the highlight of your trip. it’s simply marvelous and you should see it for yourselves!