Goreme Open Air Museum
Monks Valley (Pashabaglari)
Kaymakli Underground City
This brand new tour for 2014 visits Goreme Open Air Museum for Byzantine cave churches with beautiful frescos, Chavushin Castle to see how people lived in the caves, Monks Valley (Pashabaglari) for unique 3–headed fairy chimneys, Avanos for a local pottery demonstration of an ancient Hittite technique, Kaymakli Underground City where locals could hide in safety throughout history, as well as a final panoramic vista of Cappadocia‘s Pigeon Valley. Ideal if you only have one day to see Cappadocia.
Goreme Open Air Museum
is home to the world’s most important Byzantine cave churches in these once remote valleys where monks and nuns pursued monastic life from the 3rd century on. Saint Basil, one of the three Cappadocian Fathers of the Church and Bishop of Caesarea (Kayseri) who first formulated the rules for monastic life directly influenced the lifestyle of the monastic orders in these valleys. Here you can see the best preserved in situ Byzantine cave wall paintings and frescos from the Iconoclastic period through to the end of Seljuk rule. Icons with scenes from the Old Testament and the New Testament above portraits of Church Fathers and saints depict the structure of the Byzantine universe. The best examples, the Dark Church and the Buckle Church, should not be missed.
is a spectacular rock citadel that once housed everyone in the village. While it was a relatively safe place to live, the villagers had to carry their water up to their homes every day. The village was home to many Christians, and Saint John the Baptist’s Church, despite its poor condition, is still worth finding. You can also follow a narrow path to the top of the castle visiting some of the more recently lived-in homes on the way. As you descend on the other side there are some lovely examples of fairy chimneys.
means "The Pasha’s Vineyard", a name it received after the Byzantine Greek population left the region. In Seljuk and Ottoman times, it was called "Papaz’in Bagi" or "The Monk’s Vineyard" because Christian hermits chose to locate hermit cells and churches in these three-headed pinnacles symbolic of the Holy Trinity. Perhaps such symbolism helped these monks develop a greater understanding of God. This peaceful, attractive valley is famous for its three headed fairy chimneys, and it’s possible to see all the stages in the formation of fairy chimneys at this spot. The vineyards surrounding these natural wonders are still cultivated by locals (you can taste the grapes from September on), and trees such as apricot, apple, pear, quince, cherry, mulberry and walnut are plentiful.
Avanos has been famous for thousands of years for its pottery made from the red, iron-ore bearing clay deposited by the longest river in Turkey, the Kizilirmak (Red River). During the second millennium BCE, Avanos was inhabited by Assyrian traders and was later taken over by the Hittites; some of the techniques and designs used by potters today date back to this period. At one time every house had a potters wheel, and no family would give their daughter in marriage if the groom could not make pots! Today, the best of the ceramics and tiles on sale in Istanbul and other major cities are made here. You can watch potters spinning their traditional kick-wheels with their feet, and even try throwing a pot yourself.
Underground City Plan
Kaymakli 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 citiy of Kaymakli is one of the biggest and most fun to visit. In the past, thousands of people were able to hide here safely out of site of the enemy. Life (and death) continued relatively normally because of the special ventilation system, built–in water supply, and stockpiled food.
At Pigeon Valley Viewpoint you have a bird’s eye view of the dovecotes carved out of the rocks as well as a spectacular view of old abandoned fairy chimney cave homes and old Greek houses and castle of Uchisar. A final farewell to the spectacular lunar landscape and ancient cave dwellings of Cappadocia.