A product of fiery volcanic eruptions and transformed through time by wind and water, the landscape of Cappadocia is like no other on Earth. It is one of a few places where such destructive forces have formed something so beautiful. The Hindu believe in Shiva, god of destruction, transformation and lord of time. He destroys, so that it can be rebuilt to perfection, and Cappadocia’s landscape seems to be the work of such a divine being. The shapes of its geological features, and the colors of the terrain, all point to a master sculptor of such godly power.
Apart from the geology, the land also has an interesting history. Cappadocia is at the center of Anatolia, sometimes called “Asia Minor”, as it is at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, and has been influenced by the events in both continents. It became a home to Christians fleeing from the middle east, at the time when Christianity was still persecuted by the Roman Empire. They built underground cities, the largest of which can support 10,000 people, enabling them to hide from their persecutors. They also built some homes, chapels, and even monasteries by carving Cappadocia’s ubiquitous rock formations. People lived in these “stone carved” cities for centuries, and only moved out fairly recently, in the early 1900’s, when Christians in Anatolia mass migrated to Greece.
Nowadays, Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s main tourist draws. There are some packaged tours that stop overnight in Cappadocia, but I would personally recommend that you go on your own schedule. There are so many things to see here and so much to do. Go ballooning, cycling, hiking or ATV’ing. Some people even rent motorcycles and ride out on their own. Simply passing through the place would not do yourself any justice. The most tourist friendly town is Goreme, and the closest major airport is in Kayseri, about an hours drive away, and most hotels have shuttles to pick you up and take you back.
Destruction, transformation and time. Whatever god you believe in, it’s hard to argue against the beauty these divine forces have created.
Love Valley and Rose Valley
The Goreme Open Air Museum
Elsewhere around Goreme
*We were in Cappadocia last October 2017.