There are many more than five reasons to go to Cappadocia. It is almost something that cannot be quantified. Almost. Here are my top five thoughts on why you should go….
1. It’s epic Star Wars esque landscape. Thats always going to be number one. Years of ancient volcanic eruptions (ash turned into rock) coupled with wind and rain erosion erosion have resulted in the natural beauty that is Cappadocia. Only the hard rock remains leaving the mushroomed fairy chimneys that have become emblematic of the place.
2. The many ancient underground cities. We chose the deepest, Derinkuyu. Eight floors of underground exploration for you to duck your way into. I was afraid I would feel claustrophobic going eight floors into the depths of this city. On the contrary, the excellent ventilation devised by the ancients meant that the air was fresh,the place getting markedly cooler as soon as you descend the first staircase. Refreshing after baking in the scorching heat of Eastern Anatolia. Other than the narrow stairways that even I (at a paltry 5ft 1) had to stoop to get down, the place was surprisingly roomy. Good job really, with the potential to house around 20,000 people it would have to. I can only imagine the smells.
3. Unique Hiking trails. There are trails galore for those health nuts who like nothing better than feeling their thighs burn on their holidays. Worth it for views you won’t find anywhere else in the world. There are so many interestingly beautiful walks to go on, even catering to those after my own heart, the leisurely stroll kind. In saying that we went a lot off the beaten path on our ‘hike’ and almost had ourselves stranded in a valley on crumbling, sandy ground with no way out.
4. Cave churches (and houses). Goreme open air museum has a large amount of churches that have been carved into the rock formations, making a very interesting experience that admittedly gets a bit samey after a while. Walking in the surrounding areas there are many cave house/church specimens you can explore for free, randomly dug into the rocks. Some of the most well preserved examples can of course to be found in the open air museum and at 20TL it is totally worth it.
5. A Stay in a cave hotel/hostel. Really get a feel for the place and stay in the cave hotels unique to this part of the world. There are many options to choose from, ranging from the dirt cheap hostel kind, to the thousand dollar a night luxury kind, complete with your own personal pool and tunnel to any adjoining rooms your family might be staying in.
The balloon rides, emblematic of Cappadocia do not appear on this list. Why? We opted out of this. Not only out of fear of our own death (no I do not trust a basket held up by a giant fire filled balloon to keep me alive thank you very much) but also due to the price. At over a hundred Euros this is unfathomable to somebody living and working in Turkey and being paid by the lira. I. Don’t. Think. So. For our purposes they really weren’t necessary. There are many vantage points in and around the place one can find whilst wandering that offer the same fabulous view.