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Best Cappadocia Guide for All Underground Cities

TURKEY June 8, 2016
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The Cappadocia region is in the middle of the Anatolian Peninsula, between the volcanic mountain of Erciyes, Hasan and Melendiz, and has been formed with the thousands of years of wind and rain erosion to the lava covered flat plains. This article is Best Cappadocia Guide for All Underground Cities and hot air balloon…..

Cappadocia is the one of the most important places of Turkey for people who are from the foreign country. It has so different natural beauty. Mostly reason of this; its fairy chimneys. A lot of people are interest the fairy chimneys. Because, they are very unique. People comes from the different countries for see to them; for instance people who are from the Japan love this places. Same way European people comes for see to fairy chimneys. If love mystique places, we are sure you ‘re going to love this place. Before the article of Cappadocia, I think we should answer to FAQ about Cappadocia for you.

1. Cappadoacia Map

Cappadocia Turkey Map

Cappadocia Turkey Map

2. Cappadocia Airport

So many people who want to come Cappadocia asked to us same question; is there a airport at Cappadoacia. Yes, There is. We’ll share with you its airport map. So, you can see where it is.

Cappadocia Airport Map

Cappadocia Airport Map

An another question about this; How I can go to Istanbul to Cappadocia or Cappadocia to Istanbul. You can buy a ticket from Turkis Airlines and use the this airport. An advice; buy your fly ticket yourself.

3. Cappadocia Underground City

Do you wanna see underground city? You’re eight place. Actually not a single city. We can say cities easily. There are so many cave and underground cities in Cappadocia. We’ll talk about this at later part of this article.

4. Capadocia Hotels

So, If think about come to Cappadocia, probably you’ll need hotel for stay. Don’t worry, as we said; people from foreign country. This is why there are so may hotels in Cappadocia. You can find houses for stay or five star luxe hotels. Your choice 🙂 But, we can’t talk about whole hotels of this place, we’ll give some examples. 

Elevres Stone House Hotel

Phone: 0 850 600 99 81

Address: Mustafapaşa Köyü Yukarı Mahalle Turizm Cad. No:7

Kandil House Otel

Phone: 0 850 602 28 89

Address: Tekeli Mah. Göreme Cad. No:54

MDC Cave Hotel

Phone: 0 850 600 39 96

Address: Karagandere Mahallesi Mese Deresi Sokak No:2 50400

Taşkonaklar Cave Otel

Phone: 0 850 600 88 53

Address: Gedik Sokak No:8

 

Cappadocia / Kapadokya / Khepatukha and Underground Cities 

The Cappadocia region is in the middle of the Anatolian Peninsula, between the volcanic mountain of Erciyes, Hasan and Melendiz, and has been formed with the thousands of years of wind and rain erosion to the lava covered flat plains. It looks to be a diffrent world with its interesting shaped valleys, canyons, hils and rocks, its carved cave houses, and  cities carved into the underground. The eruptions of these volcanoes whic were active during the geological ages continued until 2 million years ago. There is a 150m thick layer of soft tufa, and flood waters from the valley slopes and harsh winds eroded the geological tufa formations, and created interesting shapes known as Peribacası (chimney rock). These are known as the mushroom shaped, sharp rocks, hatted ones and the conically shaped ones. Prohistoric settlements in the region are Köşkhöyük in Niğdei Aşıklı Mound in Aksaray, Nevşehir Civelek Cave, and Kültepe, Kaniş in Alişar near Kayseri to the southeast. This interesting topocgraphic featured region was considered sacred in the Scythian / Khatt language, and named “Khepatukha”, meaning the country of the people of the Chief God, Hepat. BC So-called Cappadocian tablets Alişar 2000s with important works of the Hittite ruins. The tablets from the 1200s B.C., the Tabal tribe within the Khatti became powerful, and established the Tabal Principality. Later, after the little Hittie and Persian eras, the Kingdom of Cappadocia was founded in 332 B.C. It became a region were the first Christians escaped to and took refuge during the Roman times, and and important centre of Christianity with its rock-carved churches during the Byzantine period. After the Sasanian and Arab invasions, the region passed into the hands of the Seljuk Turks in 1082. There are many thermal spas in and around Cappadocia, a wonder on the surface of the earth; some of these are Nevşehir- Kozaklı, Kayseri – Bayramhacı and Kırşehir – Terme.

IHLARA VALLEY

Located in the boundaries of Aksaray. Ihlara Valley is 40 km away from Aksaray. It is

one of the important regions of the Cappadocia. The valley which is 14 km long starts

from Ihlara and ends in Selime. Along the valley, numerous of shelters, graves and

churches exist which are graven to the rocks.

Ağaçaltı Church which is placed in the valley is dated between 9th and 11th century.

Due to scene of Saint Daniel’s entrance to the lion’s cave in the opposite wall of entry

of the church, it is also called as ‘’Saint Daniel Pantanassa Church’’ The single nave

church Pürenli Seki Church is dated in 10th century. In ceiling of the Kokar Church

that is dated at the end of 9th century, a big cross motif and hand motif that

symbolizes the crossing in the black frame can be seen. In the inscription that is in

the east wall of the Eğritaş Church, it is written that it’s dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Big cross is depicted to its ceiling. One of the important churches of the Ihlara is

Snake (Yılanlı) Church.

The scene that name for the Yılanlı Church is related with the four women who were

attacked by snakes in west wall. In this wall, the snakes bite one woman from her

breast because of not giving milk to her child, the other scene from her mouth

because of lying, and in another scene from her ear. The sin of the fourth woman

could not be determined due to destroyed frescoes.

 

Sümbüllü Church is a two floor church that was assumed as a monastery church.

The Saint George (Kırıkdamatlı) Church which is near the Belisirma village is a high

dimensioned church of the area. This church was built by the order of the Emir of the

region Vasilis Yakobos and his wife Thamara in 1290s. The church which was

decorated with frescos and has a portrait of Seljuk Sultan Mesud II (1284-1305)

shows the tolerance of sultan in an interesting way.

The other churches in Belisirma are Direkli Church and Ala Church.

GÜZELYURT

Güzelyurt is located 45 km east of Aksaray. In the Rome and Byzantine era, it was

known as Karbala, in Seljuk’s era it was known as Gallery. In Güzelyurt, which is a

town in present time, there are numerous rock churches and underground

settlements. In the center of the town, ‘’Saint Gregorius Church’’ which looks exotic

with its cross plan and high conical dome is now being used as a moque. The

monestry valley that located in the borders of Güzelyurt district is 4 km long. With

graven rock churches and underground cites, it looks like miniature copy of the Ihlara

Valley.

NEVŞEHİR

Nevşehir was a small village in the outskirt of the castle at the beginning of the 18th

century named as Muşkara. In this era, Ürgüp was a much more crowded settlement.

The improvement of the village had started with Damat İbrahim Pasha, who was from

Muşkara, prompting to high levels of the government. After getting married to Ahmed

II’s doughter (Fatma Sultan), he was brought to grand vizier position in 1718. The

famous grand vizier of the tulip era reconstructed and changed the name of the

village to Nevşehir in 1726 which means new city.

Nevşehir castle that was built in the high hill of the southwest of the city in Seljuk’s

period was restored by Damat İbrahim Pasha. As a one of the oldest monumental

structures, Kaya Mosque was built by Damatİbrahim Pasha in 1715. Over the

courtyard door, the symbol of the tulip era motifs was embroidered. Damat İbrahim

Pasha Külliye (complex of buildings adjacent to a moque) that is located in the

southwest of the city was completed between 1718 and 1730. As a one part of the

‘’Külliye’’, Kurşunlu Mosque’s marble inscription was written by famous poet Nedim. A

lot of fountain was built in Nevşehir in this period.

Because Cappadocia’s natural formations are mostly remaining in the city boundaries

of Nevşehir, the city is very important in terms of tourism. Göreme and around of it is

very close to Nevşehir where the formations are dense. The underground cities that

are dense mostly in the south of the Nevşehir astonish the people who see it. It was

designed to take shelter and meet the various necessities of the wide communities in

any case of attack. The biggest of these underground cities; Kaymaklı (20 km to

Nevşehir) and Derinkuyu (30 km to Nevşehir) are 8 floors. The smaller example of

these Özlüce (6 km to Kaymaklı), Mazı (10 km to Kaymaklı), Özkanok (14 km to

Avanos) and Tatlarin (10 km to Acıgöl) are underground cities.

GÖREME

Göreme’s boundaries are specified by fairy chimneys and perpendicular rocks that

are 13 km to Nevşehir. Göreme is an area where Cappadocia Church exists and

because of that monastery life was strong in this area.

El Nazar Church is in the left hand side of the Göreme-Müze road. The church that

was dated to the end of the 10th century was engraved to the triangular small piece

of rock. Inside of the church was decorated with portraits of saints and the scenes

including Jesus’life from his childhood to his miracles. Saklı Church that is near the

El Nazar Church is called Saklı (Hidden) because it was explored in 1957. The

church that is hard to Access has mostly red frescoes. Also fancy cross motifs that

cover the ceiling of the church are also very interesting for the visitors.

 

GÖREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM

It is located in 2 km east of Göreme. It has become a very important monastery

center from the 9th century. Substantial churches of Cappodocia are located in here.

Sisters Monastery is located at the left of the entrance of Göreme Open Air

Museum. Churches, dinning hall, kitchen and a few rooms in this huge rock show that

the monastery was used as a complex. Monastery of Priests is located at the right of

the entrance of Göreme Open Air Museum. Chapel of St. Basileos is dated to 11th

century. The Apple Church which is dated to mid-11th century and the beginning of

the 12th century is one of the leading churches of Cappadocia with its architectural

characteristics and rich frescoes. Geometrical and cross motives belonging to

Iconoclasm can be seen under the disintegrated frescoes. The Church of St.

Barbara and Snake Church are dated to 11th century. The Dark Church is one of

the most precious churches for its portraiture. The frescoes have survived in a good

condition for it receiving low light. It is dated to the end of the 11th century. The

Ascension of Jesus and the Act of Apostles scene on the ceiling of narthex is

fascinating. Three Mary as Magdalene at the left, Wife of Clopas at the center and

mother of Jesus at the right are portrayed together in the well-preserved crucifixion

scene. The Chapel of St. Catherine located in between The Dark Church and

Çarıklı Church was built by a woman named Anna in the 11th century. Çarıklı

Church is located in high parts of a rock mass. It is dated to the end of the 12th

century and the beginning of the 13th century. It gets the name from the footprint that

looks like a shoe track under the frescoes of Jesus’ ascension into heaven. The

Church of the Buckle (Tokalı) which is one of the leading churches of Cappodocia

consists of a combination of two churches that were built in different times. It is the

biggest church of Göreme Valley. Old Tokalı is the entrance of the new church. It is a

leading church where religious scenes are embroidered in chronological order. New

Tokalı is dated to the second half of the 10th century. It has a rectangular plan, single

nave and it is covered by a barrel vault. It is stated in an inscription located in the

north abscissa that the church was built by Constantine and Leon, and the painter

was Nikophoros. A new bigger church is revealed with the combination of old Tokalı

and New Tokalı.

Church of Virgin Mary which is located on a steep sloop in the south of Kılıçlar

Church is dated to the first half of the 11th century. Kılıçlar Church which is located

in Kılıçlar Valley is dated to the end of the 9th century and the beginning of the 10th

century. Inside of the church is decorated with rich frescoes depicting the Biblical

topics and saints.

GÜLLÜDERE – KIZILÇUKUR

There are many monk cells, churcles and chapels in this valley, located between

Göreme and Çavuşin. These churches show early period characteristics and they are

not rich in art. However, symbolism is more common. Ornaments before Iconoclasm

period can be seen in the Church of john the Baptist which is located in Güllüdere

Valley. Holy Cross Church is located on a high hill in Kızılçukur Valley. Magnificent

Latin and Maltese cross reliefs can be seen on the ceiling of the church.

There are no ornaments except a few red patterns in the Columned Church which

was constituted by carving the rocks smoothly. Üzümlü Church (Church of St.

Nikhitas) is located in the entrance of Kızılçukur Valley, 1 km away from the road.

The church has single abscissa and nave. It got its name from the grape figures on

the roof of the entrance.

ÇAVUŞİN

Çavuşin is located in the 2nd km of highway from Göreme to Avanos. It is 4 km away

from Avanos.

Çavuşin (Nicephorus Phocas) Church which was built in between 964 and 965 is

located near Göreme – Avanos Highway. It is one of the few structures that the

construction date is known in Cappadocia. Walls and vaults are decorated with

frescoes depicting scenes from Jesus’life. The Ascension and Act of the Apostles

scene covers the half of the vault. Frescoes of Emperor Nicephorus Phocas,

empress and other family members are on the niche left to the main abscissa.

ZELVE

Zelve region is reached after passing towards Çavuşin while going to Avanos. It is to

km inside from Zelve road. It always witnessed settlements for being a sheltered

area. Historical city of Zelve which cosists of two valleys is one of the places where

fairy chimneys are intense.

Direkli Church (with the columns) belongs to the first year of monastic life of Zelve.

In the same valley, Balıklı Church (Fish) contains frescoes before Iconoclasm

period. Ornaments belonging to Iconoclasm period period consists of fish figures and

cross patterns. It is adjacent to Üzümlü Church (Grapes). It is named after the

simple grape patterns in the church.

AVANOS

Avanos located 18 km north of Nevşehir, and it was established in the coast of

Kızılırmak. It ancient age name is Venessa. The area is very skilled on ceramic

production and pottery due to qualitative mud of the river and clay pits nearby.

This occupation has come from Hittite to the present. Pottery and ceramics produced

in small workshops attracts attention as souvenirs.

ORTAHİSAR

It is on Nevşehir – Ürgüp highway, and 6 km away from Ürgüp. Ortahisar was

established around a 50 meters high huge mass of rock named castle. The castle

was used for both strategic and settlement purposes. The fascinating view can be

watched from the top of the castle. There are also various churches in Ortahisar.

Canbazlı Church, Church of Balkanderesi, Sarıca Church and Monastery of Hallaç

Dere are among them.

ÜRGÜP

Ürgüp is located in 18 km east of Nevşehir and it is the most important tourism center

of Cappadocia Region. The region is called Assiana by Byzantine, Bashisar by Seljuk

and Burgut Castle by Ottomans, and it got the name Ürgüp in Republic period. It

protected it’s an importance as settlement for ages. The most beautiful neighborhood

of Cappadocia and historical buildings can be seen in this region. Trio chimney rocks

nearby became the symbol of Cappadocia.

MUSTAFAPAŞA (SINASOS)

It is in 6 km south of Ürgüp. It is one of the best-preserved residential areas of

Cappadocia. Rum mansions that are dated to the end of 19th century and the

beginning of the 20th century have very rich stone work. The building built by ship-

owner Haralambos in 1892 also decorates the village square. Madrasah of Şakir

Pasha built by Egyptian Şakir Pasha in the 19th century is one of the important

Ottoman period structures. Church of Constantine and Helena, Church of St.

Stephanos and Church of St. Basileos are important structures that must be seen in

Mustafapaşa.

SOĞANLI VALLEY

It is in Yeşilhisar district in Kayseri and 34 km away from Ürgüp. It is one of the

important areas of Cappadocia with many churches from famous artists of the period

and natural beauties. Colored cloth dolls made by village women are unique gifts in

the region. Church of Karabaş was built in between 1060 and 1061. The structure,

decorated with different techniques in different times, is among the most important

churches due to Soğanlı’s art value. Communion frescoes portraying the gathering of

apostles in the abscissa are a rare beauty among the Cappadocia frescoes.

Snake Church near the Church of Karabaş gets its name from the scene of St.

George killing a dragon. In the cradle vaulted ceiling, depiction of Christ Pantocrator

with red weights is remarkable. The most magnificent church among the churches in

Soğanlı Valley is the Domed Church in the north slopes of the valley. There are

three domed churches together and they are dated to 10th century. The

characterictic of these churches is that outside of the dome is also shaped. Most of

the frescoes in the church walls couldn’t reach today or they are damaged. Church

of St. Barbara at the end of Soğanlı Valley is dated to the beginning of the 10th

century.

 

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