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Cappadocia: Mysterious dwellings in central Turkey whisper tales of times long past Story

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Cappadocia in central Turkey, is a steppe region might be easy to think that the arid and remote – even if less than 200 miles (300 kilometers) from the Turkish capital, Ankara. Cappadocia is in the midst of barren brown hills as far as the eye can see, and it has nothing to jittery markets and mosques of Istanbul. But do not let deter place – the allure of Cappadocia lies beneath the surface, in their ancient underground cities and churches carved into the stone towers and cliffs.

Thousands of people lived in the underground cities of Cappadocia, where a large number of underground tunnels, rooms, corridors and stairways link visitors to remote sections of civilization.

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Two of the underground city, and Kaymakli Derinkuyu, was dug up to eight levels deep, and is open to visitors today. With a little fantasy you can imagine the culture which, when continued here. Rooms, kitchen, stables, shops, churches and cemeteries were Bustled with shafts of activities and storage, large enough to hold month long supply of grain was stored.

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Corridors and steep staircases winding up to pass through a maze of tunnels and rooms, and large stone disks could be rolled into place to block the passages in the case of an attack. Today, the passages are lit by bare bulbs on the walls, and the voices of tourists echoed through the surrounding vacant. The person who goes before you can turn a corner and look to the floors above or below a few seconds later, then go to your side of a different passage. The sounds seem to come from afar can be just around the corner, and sounds that only thinks in turn can come from hundreds of meters away.

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Cappadocia, Nature Wonder of Turkey

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Cappadocia, Nature Wonder of Turkey

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Over millions of years, the mighty volcanoes of the Central Anatolian Plateau erupted and threw its contents across the land that became the cradle of civilization. Blessed with a temperate climate and fertile soil, one of the world’s first known communities was founded 10,000 years ago Catalhoyuk along the banks of the Casambasuyu near Konya. painting of the first nature of humanity is here and it portrays the most recent eruption of Hasan Dagi almost 9000 years. Today, its snow-capped peaks dominate the Konya plain, awash in golden hues in the vast fields of wheat blend subtly with ocher-colored earth and the monochromatic palette is interrupted only where rivers flow and the tall poplars flaunt of its vegetation.

Another great volcano rises in the distance to the east of Hasan Dagi. Once called Mt. Argeus, awesome presence of Erciyes Dagi inspired legends as the “Abode of the Gods” and the Persians built a Zoroastrian fire temple nearby. These two ancient volcanoes mark the western and eastern boundaries of a region known for its curious volcanic landscape that has been relentlessly carved by nature and by people who have lived here. “Fairy chimneys, cones and strange rock formations have been sculpted by wind and rain while subterranean towns were excavated by the search of a shelter population of the conquerors and would-be conquerors who crossed the open steppes of the plateau central Anatolia. Ancient Anatolian tribes, Assyrians, Hittites, Phrygians, Turkic tribes from Central Asia, Mongols, Persians, Syrians, Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Slavs, Greeks, Romans and Western Europeans have moved to leave behind some of their traditions and Cappadocian as their genes and their representation as exotic as surreal environment.

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Although the Hellenistic kingdom of Cappadocia once covered a much larger area, the name now refers to the region east of Konya is defined in Aksaray to the west, Kayseri in the east, Nigde in the south and north of Kırşehir. Guides and coaches focus on the underground cities and Kaymakli Derinkuyu and cliffs and Byzantine churches found in the area bounded by the trilateral Avanos, Nevsehir and Urgup. For those who take time to explore the paths less traveled, Cappadocia is a land lost. Far from Goreme, Zelve and major attractions, is partially excavated Hittite centers cavetowns and hundreds of churches, which are rarely, gorges to explore and some of the most vivid, pastoral scenes stick in all over Turkey.

Aksaray is located on Melendiz Çayı (Melendiz River) along the ancient trade route linking Persia to the Aegean. It was once the Garsaura city, later renamed Archelais but little of its ancient past survives. During the Seljuks (1071-1300), was transformed into an exemplary city Muslim Aksaray, where a hospital and schools were built. One of the first two schools of Islamic theology, was Ibrahim Kadiroglu Medrese built here in the 12th century. The second was built in Konya, Turkey one of the oldest inhabited cities and the capital of the Sultanate of Roum. These schools, and later drew some of the greatest Islamic scholars, philosophers and theologians of the age, including Jelaluddin who escaped the Mongol invasion of Afghanistan. He is best known as Mevlana Rumi Jelaluddin, a famous master mystic and saint favorite Konya.

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Above the verdant valley has remained relatively untouched by the oil strikers, who have swept the country. Protected natural barrier, a massive Hasan Dagi, to the south, the valley is located away from main travel routes, which are further proof of the main streets of Aksaray and Kayseri, and Kırşehir and Nigde. He then acted as a physical and mental oasis for people who have lived here. Hittites, Phrygians found refuge from invaders, while the early Christian monks to impose its isolation in a remote corner of the kingdom during the second century Roman persecutions, and subsequently protected by the Arab conquests of the 7th and eighth centuries.

The valley became an important center of monasticism that lasted for ages 4-14. It is estimated that 150 different churches and monasteries in the canyon between the villages and Ihlara Selime. 14 km walk through the peaceful gorge is a delight. Mottled light poplars and olive trees, and the continuous noise of water provide relief from the relentless sun and the monotony of wheat fields, which constitute the landscape of Cappadocia. Near the village, the river remains a center of village life: women washing clothes in the noise and laughter, children splashing, shepherds and their animals to drink.

The main churches are marked, although a few have been closed to the public. The most popular churches are those of the canyon area between the villages and Ihlara Belisirma. However, Selime Yaprakhisar and more interesting architecture and stone houses that range in rock caves. The village is named Selime sultan, whose tomb is tapered at the river bank and many facades are carved into the cliffs of Yaprakhisar. For the adventurous, throughout Ihlara Valley is a wonderful place for exploration. Children know the hidden entrances and offer some of the most amazing ‘tours’ are found in Cappadocia, and sharing the special field, running along the tracks through the rocks into a maze of caves and tunnels that are open to unexpected hiding places.

Ihlara only nine miles, the town sits Helvadere foot of Hasan Dagi. Peaks over 10,000 feet and the north side is placed with ribbons of snow where the gullies have recorded the powerful volcano. The mountain called for that abounds in secrets and legends. Has witnessed the comings and goings of Central Anatolia since the dawn of civilization. Roman ruins, Byzantine churches and Seljuk tombs scattered along its northern slopes and mountain villagers tell stories intriguing legends of the serpent. In his book, Caves of God: Cappadocia and its churches, Spiro Kostof interprets the symbolism of the paintings in the Kilise Jilani (Snake Church), located on the bridge from the Manor Pavilion Ihlara throat. For a painting, suggests that a woman is being punished for not breastfeed her children because two snakes attached to her nipples. It seems likely that the true meaning can be hidden inside the snake legends of these inhabitants of the mountains. Although long to discover the secrets of Hasan Dagi, just enough time to walk half an hour late Helvadere to visit the ruins of Viransehir (Destroyed City). There was a large monastic complex here and the remains of a Byzantine fortress and two churches can be seen.

A walk along the road north of Aksaray, Nevsehir is to visit the true heart of Turkey. Many farming communities are found along streams and rivers that flow into the pillar Kizilirmak, the longest river in Turkey, which is over 800 miles long. Agriculture in Turkey is generally highly mechanized, but here, harvesters still maintain the false and plants are often hand-watered with buckets plunged into nearby irrigation canals. When the sun reaches its zenith, the workers gathered under the shade trees for lunch and a rest in a scene reminiscent of 16th century painting “The Harvesters.” In this way, the life of centuries-old remains, seemingly indifferent to the invasion of mass tourism.

There cavetowns and rock formations scattered within this area. Tatlarinkoy complex has a large semi-troglodyte caves but only available to the public. The small Byzantine church has been vandalized and its original colors remain rich and vibrant. A typical cave house with several rooms you can explore and complete with “phone” (a special channel to talk to another level), toilet, kitchen, shelves and a solid rock in the shape of rolling wheel that serves as the door. Above the door is a compartment from which to attack an intruder who may have broken the barrier. The main features of this cave dwelling duplicated throughout Cappadocia. In Tatlarinkoy tickets, caves dotted around the cliffs carved by the river Acisu. Some caves are used by farmers for food storage and animal shelters, but many seem to have been abandoned completely.

Kayseri was already an ancient Hittite Mazaca call when it was renamed Caesarea in Cappadocia by the Romans in the 1st century AD. Nearby, Kultepe archaeological excavations have revealed that the area was first occupied about 4000 a. C. and known as Kanesh in ancient times. Operation was a powerful commercial and mining center around 2000 BC and 4000 years the Assyrians silver mines can still be seen there. Most Kultepe artifacts found in the Kayseri Archaeological Museum.

During the Byzantine period, Caesarea Mazaca maintained its importance as a city of commerce and trade as well as a major metallurgical center that specialized in the manufacture of heavy cavalry armor. Their schools were classified with Athens, Alexandria and Constantinople. Must have been a rich city, because there have been historical references to their beautiful homes, fine cuisine and many hospices were built by St. Basil the Great, another Cappadocian Father and friend of St. Gregory Nazianzen. Much of his Byzantine years has been lost because the city was leveled in the 11th century when it was captured by the Seljuk Turks and was abandoned for fifty years. Ruins of a quarter-century monastery and the fortress of Justinian’s sixth century has been restored by the Seljuks and Ottomans, still remain. Surprisingly, one of the culinary traditions have survived Mazaca Caesarea. They developed a type of cured meat called Paston was presented to Hungary and Romania as pastirma conquest by the Turks. It was then adapted and brought to New York as pastrami on Jewish immigrants.

Under the Seljuks, Kayseri became prominent again the second most important city of the kingdom, many architecturally significant structures. theological schools, medical schools and hospitals were built here. As the main center of learning and commerce Kayseri attracted intellectual elites, merchants, craftsmen and skilled artisans. Today is the university city of Kayseri, a large country and is located in a lively trade in carpets and kilims.

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Birds of the Reed Forests
And south of Kayseri Erciyes Dagi, or Sultansazligi Sultan Marshes is a large wetland area that is surrounded by Plain Devel. The road and the city of Kayseri devel offers a very scenic drive along the river Karasu Tekir Yaylasi a popular ski resort located on the eastern slope of Erciyes Dagi. The road down the southern slopes, where the Sultan Marshes ecosystem size spread throughout the majestic, snow-capped mountains. A closer look, and the reeds swaying in the breeze, the iridescent blue waters glisten in the sun and the masses of pink flamingos on a rampage in Yay Golu.

This wetland consists of two freshwater lakes covered with reeds and Egrigol Col Golu, north and south of the normal Develi Yay Golu, a salt lake, including and surrounding wetlands. It is the largest wetland ecosystem in Turkey and is fed by numerous springs and streams in the surrounding mountains. Its location at the crossroads of three continents, makes it an important breeding ground for birds and 250 species are found here. While the Sultan Marshes are of particular interest to ornithologists, the pink flamingos are so impressive Yay Golu to most travelers as those at Lake Nakuru in Kenya and Lake Manyara in Tanzania.

Ovaciftlik There is a lookout just east of the Kayseri-Nigde highway along the road connecting Yahyali, a village where women weave carpets world-renowned hallmark stamped. The people of Sindelhuyuk near Ovaciftlik Develi and are suitable for making arrangements for the flamenco Yay Golu but boating on the lakes of various usually can negotiate any of the villages surrounding the area.

Underground cities
Although referred to as “cities”, the underground communities of Cappadocia probably served as temporary shelters rather than permanent and hidden cities. Constant darkness is hardly conducive to life and some of the passages are not more than crawl spaces would have been intolerable in long-term situations. No one knows with certainty the number of underground communities that exist or for which they were built.

The two largest communities that have been discovered and are Kaymakli Derinkuyu, 20 and 30 kms. south of Nevsehir Nevsehir-Nigde road. It is believed that the Hittites may have excavated the lower levels in the rock, when they were attacked by the Phrygians about 1200 BC. However, some archaeologists believe that the oldest caves, hewn stones instead of metal tools, they are much older. These rooms were later extended to a complex of caves, most Christians who fled the Arab invasions of the century 7 and 8.

The digital inputs cracks to develop rail systems with ventilators, waste pits, wells, chimneys and connection time. The upper levels were used for housing, while lower levels were used for storage, wine making, flour milling and worship in the chapels simple. Everywhere the walls were blackened by the use of torches. There is a tunnel linking Kaymakli Derinkuyu and allowing three people to go through together, but it is not accessible to the public through the tunnel collapsed.

Just 10 kms. Kaymakli east is another cavetown in Mazikoy that can connect to Derinkuyu but this has not been demonstrated. This community was built within the walls of a cliff. Unlike Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, there are no steps or grades that go from one level to another. Instead, different levels are well defined with connecting tunnels through which people came and left through footholds carved into the walls of the shafts. Mazikoy is often ignored because it is a smaller community, its location is off the main road and some flexibility is required to fully appreciate its features.

Rock Cut Churches and Monasteries
Many settlements in Cappadocia settled mainly in monastic communities. Mazaca As Bishop of Caesarea in the fourth century, St. Basil the Great wrote the rules for monastic life that are still followed by monks and nuns of the Greek Orthodox Church. Advocated community life, prayer and physical work instead of solitary asceticism that was popular at the time and was under his direction that the first churches were built in the Valley of Goreme. Here, a series of small communities with their own churches formed the large monastic complex is now open air museum. Hundreds of churches are reported to have been built in this valley, but are not churches in the time of St. Basil. In Goreme, the Kilise Tokali or “Church of the buckle is easily the most beautiful churches with graceful arches and beautiful frescos.

The impressive monastery in Cappadocia is the Monastery Eskigumus east of Nigde of Kayseri-Nigde highway. It is the southernmost of the monasteries of Cappadocia and is near the route taken by the Arab invaders who crosses the mountains of Tarsus in the south to plunder Kayseri, in the seventh century. This route follows the river from Tarsus through a steep gorge called Bogazi Gulek. He was known in the ancient world as Cicilia doors and was used by Alexander the Great in his campaign to the east against the Persians. The nondescript entrance to the Monastery Eskigumus was designed to protect the monastery complex of the invaders that happens. It was so successful that the monastery was not discovered until 1963, after having escaped the vandalism to which many of the churches of Cappadocia and monasteries were subjected. The large inner courtyard with high walls, surrounded by the monastic rooms and storage rooms. The church is spacious and airy, and well-preserved frescoes are considered the best example of Byzantine art in all of Cappadocia.

Paloma Homes
Near Uchisar is a valley that has become quite popular with hikers. Is known by many names (Valley of the pigeon, Dovecote Valley, Paloma Valley), but they all refer to the thousands of pigeon houses that have been dug into the soft tufa since antiquity. Although you can find over Cappadocia, which are particularly abundant in this valley must have one of the greatest collections of pigeon in the world. Were carved where space permits including abandoned caves and walls of the church collapsed. They lack the architectural interest of the doocots of Scotland or the towers of the Persian develop dove, but their absolute numbers are impressive. In Cappadocia, pigeons have long been a source of food and fertilizer. The advent of chemical fertilizers has reduced fertilizer use dove. However, some farmers still keep their lofts because they insist that the reputation of the fruits of Cappadocia as the sweetest and most succulent in Turkey is due entirely to pigeon droppings. “

The best time to go:
Cappadocia is generally cooler than the popular areas of the coast of the Mediterranean and the Aegean. From April to mid-June and September to October are the best months to avoid the intense heat and crowds of summer.

Getting There:
Turkey is an excellent service buses and dolmus (minibus). Bus service is available to Cappadocia from Istanbul, Ankara, and major cities of Turkey. delivery points vary by city of origin to take a bus from where you can find any destination in Cappadocia is available then use a taxi or the dolmus service to reach people who may want to visit.

Travel agents in major cities of Turkey offer tours to Cappadocia. If time is a problem and have no other options for visiting the area, it is best to take the tour instead of giving to the region, but be aware of the limitations of such trips, a propensity to spend too much time carpet shops.

The main airport in Kayseri region and there are regular flights from Istanbul by Turkish Airlines (THY). Buses are available from the airport to the otogar in Kayseri Erkilet. Argeus Tours (tel. 90-384-214-2800) has a shuttle service from the airport to Goreme and Urgup.

Clothing / Equipment:
Modest clothing season suggested for visits to Cappadocia. Immodest clothing for women (shorts, short skirts, tank tops, tight clothing) still invites unwanted attention in this conservative region, especially in villages less crowded. Long pants are recommended for those wishing to explore caves as some tracking may be necessary and the tufa surfaces can be quite difficult. Be sure to wear a brimmed hat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes.

When traveling in Turkey, is a good idea for women to wear a long skirt, light sweater and a nice shawl. Can quickly be slipped into more casual clothing to dress for dinner or to be dressed appropriately for visiting mosques.

General Information:
Those planning to visit other areas of Turkey should consider flying as the distances are so great between different areas of interest. Bus travel within Turkey is easy and cheap. No smoking, but this is not always realistic, especially on long trips.

It is easy to navigate the main areas of Cappadocia by dolmus service which is cheap and offers regular tours. However, the service to areas with low traffic is sporadic and not always convenient. A variety of day tours are offered by numerous local travel companies at a cost of about $ 75 – $ 100 per person per day. It is better to rent your own car or rent a car and driver. The car rental price $ 60 – $ 100 per day and the cost of hiring a car and drive around $ 75 – $ 125 per day. The development of a small group to make this option more profitable. Avis has an office in Urgup (tel. 90-384-341-2177), while local companies hire car or a car and driver can be found by your hotel.

Hotel rates excellent Aegean coast does not extend to Cappadocia where hotels modern, Western-style exist but are much more expensive. Fortunately, there is a good selection of reasonably priced pensions and small hotels, some of which offer unique accommodations, such as caves and monasteries converted. Restaurants are plentiful and if you can not read the menu, we invite you to look into the pots to make your selection.

Planning Tips:
Assign more than two or three days to experience this unique area.
Konya is included in your itinerary of Cappadocia. It was once known as Iconium under the Romans and later became the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum. The best examples of Seljuk architecture and the handwriting can be viewed here.

The culture of rural Turkey is conservative for modesty and good manners are always appreciated.

Be sure to stay hydrated and maintain a pace in the summer as the heat can be very fierce.

Try to vary your activities. Unless you are a specialist in Byzantium, visiting the rock cut church of 50 years on the same day becomes a blur.

Worth exploring the area around Guzelyurt. Particularly interesting is the nearby Kilise Kizil (Red Church), a sixth century cruciform church with a dome located on top of an unusual structure, octagonal. This graceful church, little is constructed from red trachyte, a type of volcanic rock.

Do not visit the rock fortress of Ortahisar, spectacular Devrent Valley, the lush Valle Soganli and other well known sites. These areas have not been mentioned only because substantial information is already provided in most guidebooks.
Buy a good road map before leaving home. They are hard to find in Turkey, especially outside major cities.

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