Kaymakli Underground City
Soganli Valley of Churches
Tour to Kaymaklı Underground City, one of the most interesting underground settlements in Cappadocia. Soğanlı Valley, an Open Air Museum in a wild natural setting near a typical Cappadocian village with its different style Rock-Cut churches and frescoes. Villages in the valleys, surrounded by the “table top” mountains, are spectacular. Lunch and Visit to Sahinefendi ( Sobesos )- Sobessos is newly discovered (01 May 2002) mosaic houses & Archaeological excavation site. Continue with Keslik Monastery near Cemil, that hides it’s frescoes behind a very thin smoke layer which we can only see by torch light. Our tour finishes with a visit to Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old Greek houses; very fine examples of late Greek settlements and architecture.
Return to your hotel at around 17:30pm.
Underground City Plan
Underground City 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.
Kaymakli Underground City
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.
Soganli Valley of Churches
Soganli Valley Soganli, which directly translated means ‘Land of Onions’, is really a corruption of ‘Son-a-Kaldi’ meaning ‘The Last One’. It truly is the last of the line of villages in the valleys south of Urgup, and the most traditional one. Once again, people have built homes in the rock cones created as erosion swept down the hillsides, and until a few decades ago it was home to the highest number of dovecotes in the region, providing guano for the fields around.
Soganli Village Ladies
Its isolation meant it was the ideal place for Byzantines to build monasteries, which were inhabited until at least the 1750s. Today, the visitor can enter 10 different churches with reasonably well preserved wall paintings dating from the 10th to the 13th centuries. The locally made doll is the emblem of the village, but this symbol originated from a tragic event. A local woman lost her baby and, unable to cope emotionally, made a rag doll to take its place. Later on, the women of the village developed the art of making these dolls while their men were out on the mountains grazing their animals. A Soganli doll is a must for every doll collection.
Sobessos Roman MosaicSobessos is a newly discovered Roman-Byzantine wealthy city just outside Shahinefendi village. We are very excited about this as nothing so big has been found in the region before. You can see the remains of the 4th century baths with its mosaic of a pair of sandals, and the huge 6th century church with a geometric mosaic floor. It says on the Internet that it could one day rival Ephesus — while this is probably an exaggeration, it nevertheless emphasizes the importance of this ancient town.
Tashkinpasha Medrese takes its name from the Turkish philosopher, Tashun, who taught in the now ruined local Medrese (Madrasa or Islamic Theological School). The Medrese building, the nearby mosque and Tashun Pasha’s tomb were built in the 14th century by the Karamanids using classical Seljuk style stone decoration. Now, all that remains of the Medrese is its doorway, outstanding testament to the skilled stone masons of the period.
Keshlik Monastery This monastery complex, situated in a paradise–like green valley, contains the Church of the Archangel, the Chapel of Saint Stephen, a huge dining area, living quarters and a pool of sacred water. The monks and their guests could hide from danger in a room secured by two mill-stone doors, and a secret passage and spy-hole next to this room would have allowed one of the senior members of the monastic order to secretly listen in on their conversations! The Church of the Archangel is one of the few cave churches to have been used by the local population into the twentieth century.
Mustafapasa (Sinassos) Old Greek Village
Mustafapasha (Sinassos) This town remained predominantly Christian throughout the Seljuk and early Ottoman periods, although the Muslim population increased from then on. The Byzantine Greeks left the village during the exchange of populations agreed in the Treaty of Lausanne, and the incoming Turks took over their houses. While here, take a stroll through the narrow streets of this old town and see traditional Turkish rural life. Don't miss the beautiful ornamentation at the entrance of the 19th century Church of Constantine and Helena in the town centre, one of the biggest churches in the region.