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Cappadocia – Kapadokya


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Cappadocia – Kapadokya

The Bible’s New Testament tells of Cappadocia, but in fact this part of Central Anatolia has been important since Hittite times, long before the time of Jesus.

Bounded by the towns of Hacıbektaş, Aksaray, Niğde and Kayseri, it was known as Cappadocia in ancient times, and is still called Kapadokya informally today (map). Here’s how to get there.

Cappadocia is Turkey’s most visually striking region, especially the “moonscape” area around the towns of Ürgüp, Göreme, Uçhisar, Avanos and Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), where erosion has formed caves, clefts, “fairy chimneys” and sensuous folds in the soft volcanic rock.

Prime activities here are visiting the historic painted cave churches of the many monastic valleys (especially the Göreme Valley and Zelve Valley), flying in a hot-air balloon at dawn above the incredible landscape, hiking the volcanic valleys (especially the Rose Valley [Gül Vadisi]), attending chamber music concerts, and spending the night in a comfortable cave room with all the modern comforts. Here’s the full Cappadocian hotel picture.)

Although the volcanic landscape can appear inhospitable, the mineral-rich soil is excellent for growing vegetables and fruits, making Cappadocia a rich agricultural region. It has always been one of Anatolia’s prime grape-growing areas, and still boasts many productive vineyards and wineries.

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Here’s a list of the towns and major sights of Cappadocia.

Here’s a list of good Cappadocian travel agencies that can arrange guided tours, car rentals, car-and-driver, and any other services you may want.

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For an excellent full-day excursion, drive to the surprising underground cities at Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı and the formerly Ottoman-Greek mountain town of Güzelyurt before taking a hike of several hours in the Ihlara Valley. More…

You may also want to spend a half-day hiking the less-visited Soğanlı Valleys of southern Cappadocia, south of Mustafapaşa.

Another great excursion is to the Byzantine Iconoclastic rock-hewn monastery at Eski Gümüşler near Niğde.

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You can get to Cappadocia easily by bus from anywhere in Turkey. Here’s information on traveling to Cappadocia from Istanbul, Izmir/Ephesus, Pamukkale and Ankara, and here’s a region map. For travel times and distances, see the pages for Kayseri, Nevşehir or Ürgüp.

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