The region of Cappadocia in the country of Turkey is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and intriguing places to visit in the world. It is an area rich with cultural history, and a stunning landscape to beat. Yet it is also slightly off the beaten path, and falls largely under the radar for the average tourist. For those looking for a bit of adventure in their travels, there are a number of ways to experience Cappadocia, and see all that Turkey has to offer.
Leafcanoer, girlxdeparture, recently shared her experiences in Cappadocia in her leaf entitled, Things to do in Cappadocia, Turkey. Her leaf is full of tips and suggestions on things to do while visiting Cappadocia. For those planning a visit to the area in the near future, here is our suggestion for the best way to experience Cappadocia.
With its tall rock formations, often called fairy chimneys, Cappadocia offers travelers a surreal landscape to enjoy. Many of these rock formations were created by volcanic eruption, formed and shaped after millions of years of erosion. The region, located on a high plateau in central Turkey, has a number of cones, pillars, pinnacles, and chimneys reaching as high as 130 meters. Trekking and climbing are popular activities in Cappadocia, and there are a number of companies that offer walking tours and climbing excursions in the area.
In addition to being a geological wonder, the area is also a historical one, with traces of settlements going as far back as several millennium ago. Many of these early inhabitants carved tunnels and caves directly into the rock. Often these caves served as hiding places for political and religious refugees, since Cappadocia sat in the middle of two opposing empires: first the Greeks and Persians, and later, the Byzantine Empire and their rivals. In the early days of Christianity, Cappadocia served as a refuge for Christians, and many monasteries were established in these caves. These days, Cappadocia is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and travelers can visit some of these well-preserved caves to learn about the history of the area.
The major towns and areas to visit in Cappadocia include Urgup, Goreme, Ihlara Valley, Selime, Guzelyurt, Uchisar, Avanos, and Zelve. Many visitors enjoy seeing the historic mansions and cave houses in Urgup, Goreme, Guzelyurt, and Uchisar. Also in Goreme is the Goreme Open Air Museum, which showcases the monastic communities of Cappadocia. This museum allows visitors to see more than 30 churches and chapels carved from the rock formations. Many of these churches have frescoes dating back to the 9th and 11th centuries. Even if you’re not a history buff, it’s worth exploring for the sheer uniqueness of the experience.
Being on the ground to experience the geography and history of Cappadocia is nice, but by far the best way to experience Cappadocia is from the air. From up high, you can really appreciate the otherworldly scenery, and see the influence of humankind’s touch on this natural landscape. Hot air ballooning is a popular activity in Cappadocia, and most of the companies that offer hot air balloon tours center around the town of Goreme. The best time of year to go is from April to October, when the weather is clear and not too cold. However, there are some hot air balloon companies that offer rides during the winter.
If you’re the kind of traveler who is up for adventure, Cappadocia is the perfect place. It offers a good balance of nature and history, while still being a beautiful place to be in. For more ideas of ways to experience Cappadocia, or to find out other places to visit in the world, download the LeafCanoe app.