|feral dogs and cats...everywhere|
First, it's probably appropriate to tell you a little about this region of Turkey. Cappadocia (English) or Kapadokya (Turkish) means "land of the beautiful horses". This region was formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. The Cappadocia Exclusive website says, "The formation of this strange landscape started during the third geological period, when three volcanoes located on the edges of this region began erupting frequently. The deposits of volcanoes ash, lava and basalt laid the foundations for today's landscape. Earthquakes and ongoing effects of erosion have contributed to form the valleys and the "fairy chimneys" that can be seen today."
The surface rock is very soft and this allowed people to easily carve into the rock, which they did. They built homes and churches and entire underground cities to serve as hiding places to protect against invasion.
The tour started with a hike in the nearby Rose Valley, named for the color of the rocks in the area. The guide pointed out a handful of other colors that were visible due to the minerals in the rock. A true science lesson in action. You can also see the layers of rock as they formed and various color formations as evidence of different explosions and periods of time.
|see the pink?|
We then walked into a small town with a large cave dwelling still standing. There were tourists climbing all over the structure, but our tour guide advised against it, stating that it was no longer safe. In true Zimmer fashion, I kept my feet firmly on the solid ground.
We stopped by a place where all the fairy chimneys are well preserved.
After lunch we headed to the underground city of Kaymakli. It is the widest underground city and has four levels in depth that you are able to visit. I loved this place. This is the place to take kids. There are tiny tunnels to climb through and interesting passageways. As an adult, traversing the pathways wasn't the easiest, but it was definitely cool!
|They carved these huge boulders to push in front of the tunnels in the event of attack.|
For dinner that night we had a traditional pottery kebab and a dish comprised of okra. My sister will get a kick out of this...that I was responsible for selecting the okra dish as the one we would order. The pottery kebab has to be ordered at least three hours in advance and when served is cracked open at the table with a small hammer and then poured out on to the plate.
|cracking the pot|
|the okra...it was...okay|
For our third day in Goreme, we did absolutely nothing, and I loved it! We just decided that we had seen enough fairy chimneys and that we would take the day off. It was vacation after all!
|No translation required, right?|
|As a bonus to this post-- 10 points to the person who can name|
this guy, who spent the day with us on our tour...
Hint needed? He's Oscar nominated.
Next up- Istanbul!
Again, you can see all my pictures from this trip (and others) on my Flickr page.