|Cave houses are still in use in parts of Cappadocia, Turkey.|
When we booked our Oceania cruise sailing from Istanbul, Turkey to Lisbon, Portugal, going to Cappadocia wasn’t on our radar. But it’s one of the most amazing areas, both for its incredible landscape and its long history. Here's why you should consider a visit to Cappadocia, too.After arriving in Istanbul we flew to Kayseri, a city in the center of Asia Minor, the cradle of civilization. The first settlement of humanity dates back to 8000 B.C., although 32 different civilizations have lived there over the centuries. Kayseri is one of the richer cities of Turkey because of trade, most importantly with handmade carpets, which are the pride of Turkey.
|Caps are easily seen on these fairy chimneys.|
|Cappadocia is one of the best places in the world to take a|
hot air balloon ride--so intriguing.
It’s a great way to see layers of multi-colored rocks that give a clear picture of the geology of the area. Volcanic spires and pinnacles, craggy cliffs, and cave houses glowed in the soft morning light. The land is fertile, so we saw many green patches under cultivation (we landed in a farmer’s field) despite an eerie, desert-like feeling in the area.
|Creating and painting pottery is a tedious process at Omurlu Ceramics|
in Cappadocia, Turkey.
|Complete cities were created underground|
for protection during frequent wars during
the 9th to 13th centuries.
At Goreme, more than half of the population lived in rock houses and fairy chimneys until 10 years ago, when the government decided that was not a proper place to live.
Goreme Open Air Museum has some of the best preserved examples of cave churches, most quite small but decorated with fading frescos and paintings directly on the rock walls. Another example of how important the rock landscape was to early Turks is found at Derinkuyu, an underground city which could house 10,000 people for up to six months during times of war.
I bought trivets and a few other souvenirs at Pigeon Valley, which gets its name honestly from the thousands of pigeons there. Trees sparkle with blue “evil eye” trinkets, supposedly good luck charms.
Throughout Cappadocia we observed lots of poplar trees, which are used to make furniture. When a son is born, the father plants a poplar tree as an investment for the son’s future education or wedding.
|Catch some good luck with an "eye" to|
ward off evil.
Cappadocia (pronounced cap-a-dok-i-a) is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and I’d highly encourage visitors to Turkey to include it on their itineraries.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier