- I was here: 3 days in June 2018.
- Number of recommended days: at least 2.
- My score: I rate it 4/5 because in three days I can say that I was very satisfied, but the place could perfectly be rated 5/5.
To understand what we see, we must first know how it is done. Without trying to offend any geologist, broadly speaking this is what happened here:
- This area had intense volcanic activity millions of years ago (not anymore, you can feel safe).
- First of all, soft materials were deposited, mainly ash, which ended up becoming relatively soft volcanic rock, similar to pumice we all know.
- On this, not everywhere but in many places, fluvial sediments were deposited, basically sand and mud from rivers and lakes, which also formed a more or less soft rock.
- Finally, much denser volcanic materials were placed on it, not exactly lava, but for us to understand it, as if it were, they solidified and formed a hard rock.
- Millions of years of erosion by rain and wind form this peculiar landscape, since the materials do not have the same consistency and the superior ones, more dense, protect somehow the lower ones.
The result is a magical, unreal place, with the most strange and fantastic rock formations (and I say fantastic because they seem from another planet) that exist perhaps in the whole world. But not only natural erosion has been recreated in Cappadocia, humans have modified the landscape for almost 4,000 years. The soft rocks are easy to excavate, so since that time they began to build artificial caves to serve as a refuge. This went sophisticated to the point of building houses, sanctuaries and even entire underground cities, which adds an even more picturesque aspect to the place.
- There are cave houses in countries like Spain, Italy, China, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Libya or Iran, but they are not up to Cappadocia in terms of quantity and quality of some of their interiors, especially those dedicated to religious spaces, with frescoes from centuries ago.
- And there are rock formations of this type in the United States (in Utah and Montana), in Arabian desert, in Atacama desert, in some European Western countries… but although attractive, they are not as abundant and varied as those of here. Perhaps the Great Ocean Road in Australia is the only area with a comparable erosion (in that case, by action of the sea) that equals it in spectacularity.
The most similar place is probably Kandovan in Iran, but it is much smaller. So you know, to see this kind of geology and artificial caves, this is the best place. Do not settle for less.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
- THE BALLOON RIDE
- RED TOUR: UCHISAR, OPEN AIR MUSEUM AND FAIRY CHIMNEYS
- GREEN TOUR: SELIME MONASTERY, DERINKUYU UNDERGROUND CITY AND IHLARA VALLEY
- QUAD EXCURSION
- HIKING: RED AND ROSE VALLEYS
- WHEN TO GO
- DANGERS AND PROBLEMS
- HOW TO GET THERE
- HOW TO MOVE AROUND
- WHAT VILLAGE TO CHOOSE AS A BASE TO EXPLORE CAPPADOCIA