Cappadocia, Turkey I

Thursday, December 30, 2010

While in Pamukkale, a couple of travelers recommended we visit Cappadocia. Being a 9 hour bus ride away, I wasn't really interested. That is, until we looked it up online. The first photos we saw was all it took for us to make up our minds. And off to bus station we went for another overnight journey.

Cappadocia is set in a unique landscape that makes it look like something out of a fairytale or a city on the moon. Definitely not something of this world. The land has peeks called "fairy chimneys" dotting the hillsides which were created by volcanic activity many many years ago and then smoothed over by wind and rain through the years. In ancient times, people started carving into the soft rock and living in cave houses. There are entire underground cities in the region, but more on that in a later post. Modern houses have been built on land and into the hillside out of materials that blend in with the natural sandy colored mountain formations.

We stayed in a small city called Gerome in the Cappadocia region. It was only fitting that we stay in a cave room with no window to the outside world. There are several hotels that offer cave rooms for an authentic experience. The bare rock walls were outfitted with a few turkish rugs and a stone fireplace in the corner. The place had a tiny door that led downstairs into the room. I knocked my head on the door frame several times. It smelled a little moldy and old, but once I got over the smell, I felt like a princess on the run, hiding away in a rustic cave.

The atmosphere in Gerome was incredible. The city thrives on tourism, but retains the traditional Anatolian culture. It felt dreamy to walk around at dusk and peer into the cozy restaurants lit up with colorful glass lanterns or get lost in a rug shop. One rug store we went into had rooms and rooms of rugs connected by small doorways, creating a maze. Every room was covered with stacks of rugs from floor to ceiling. Outdoor cafes had low tables surrounded by cushions. We saw a lot of water pipes (or hookah), tea kettles, earthy pottery, beautiful detailed ceramic plates/bowls, and traditional weavings with an eye in the center to ward off evil. Even the food felt more authentic and Turkish than the previous cities we had been in. Here we tried a traditional dish called the testi kebab (pottery kebab)-- lamb meat, potatoes, and veggies are cooked inside an earthenware jug. The dish is served in the closed jug. The server provided Yuriy with a knife and instructed him to hit along the center of the jug to break it open. The food inside was piping hot, moist (similar to a stew), the meat very tender, and we ate a few small pieces of pottery with it. Horses were the primary way of getting around in ancient days and they are still present around the city and available for tours. Old wagons can be spotted around town, giving the town a western feel, especially with the dessert like surroundings. At sunset, hot air balloons dot the horizon among the rising fairy chimneys.

I think any trip to Turkey is not complete without a venture into Cappadocia, even if for a day or two. It was so unique and charming and I would not mind coming back one day to stay in the luxury Anatolian Houses.

- Julia

Getting there:
Our classic lunch between buses: sausage, cheese, bread, very spicy peppers


Our cave hotel:

Cappadocia:



26 comments :

  1. oh my goodness what a beautiful city. you two must be overjoyed that you did not skip out on this magical place. I love the shots of the city, the shop with all the plates, and the caves of course.

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  2. oh my word... i NEED to go back to turkey and see this! simply breathtaking...

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  3. Oh I love all those colorful bowls!! i would so love a set!!

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  4. it's unreal how phenomenal this place is! i just hope you were cool enough to bring some of those bowls and a rug back for me.

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  5. Wow so impressive!!! Have a blessed New Years you two...

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  6. I love every single one of these photos. They're some of my favorites, so far.

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  7. Those caves are amazing! I've never heard of this place before. Reminds me of Lord of the Rings or some other movie with equally magical spots.

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  8. Haha, the little kid with the bow is so cuteee. :3

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  9. That is the craziest hotel ever. Awesome!!

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  10. This post is one of my favorites thus far. Cappadocia looks so charming and unlike any other place in the world. It's made its way onto my list of places to visit. Thank you for the photographs and the beauty you share.

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  11. I've been long dreaming of the capped cave dwellings and the balloons over this majestic place! Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year's!

    xx Vivian @ http://diamondsandtulle.blogspot.com

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  12. Those chiLdren are so cute!
    Cappadocia has been in my must-visit List since forever, and I hope I can go there this year.

    Happy New Year :)

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  13. Another place to put on my travel wish list - it's beautiful.

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  14. Oh my gosh, this is absolutely breathtaking! Your photos capture it wonderfully. Definitely saving this for future reference.

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  15. omg, what a great place, isn't it? i ever came here too, please visit my site if you wanna know the story. http://www.travelnut.me/cappadocia

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  16. Came here via www.hitherandthither.net
    Wonderful photos!

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  17. Wow, what an amazing place and some incredible pictures. You easily convinced me to go there!

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  18. Thanks for the awesome feedback & New Years wishes.

    Janis- I can't really say it nicely.. you missed out big time by skipping Cappadocia. But I'm sure you'll be back to Istanbul soon with your *husband*. :)

    Kae & Anastasia- I will have to go to Turkey again with an empty suitcase just to go shopping. For all of us. I didn't even buy anything for myself, but believe me, it was not easy.

    Ryan- Very cool, thank you for sharing your trip.

    Anonymous- Thanks for the introduction to Hither & Tither! Another fab travel blog. I have bookmarked.

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  19. Yeah, that's the downside. No shopping allowed if you don't want to come home early because luggage costs broke the bank. But the idea of going back to Turkey doesn't sound too bad. ;)

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  20. my goodness. this is gorgeous.

    i'm a lurker. hubs and i are planning (tentatively) a trip to turkey in late spring and these posts just made us add cappadoccia to our list.

    how did you find a hotel? do you mind disclosing how much you paid for it? :)

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  21. Kandyce- I'm happy to hear that more people are adding Cappadoccia to their list. We didn't book anything in advance, just showed up in town and walked to a few hotels before choosing one. We stayed at a really cheap place that smelled funny and I wouldn't recommend.. there are better options (actually TONS of options). One of our friends is planning a trip and booking here, which looks amazing and also reasonably priced: http://www.travellerscave.com/hotel/

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  22. Wow! I am amazed. How I wish I could travel around the world too. For now, I just content myself reading your blogs! Someday, I'll have the time and financial freedom. Inspiring! Keep posting. God bless:)

    -Tet, from Philippines

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  23. Your pictures are spectacular! If you dont mind me asking, what lens are you using?

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  24. I am really surprised that you did not hear about Cappadocia before you got to Pamukkale. So glad you changed your mind though. It really is a unique place

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    1. Natalie - We didn't do any research before our trip. We basically figured it out on the go, getting advice from people and reading up online. I' m so glad we didn't miss Cappadocia! It's one of the places I'm itching to go back to.

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  25. Well Cappadocia is realy great region but we neet to market it more professionally. Especially asian side of the world doesnt know about Cappadocia much. I beleive with a good marketing we can make cappadocia as a favorite destination for them

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