Sunday, May 3, 2015

Day 5 - Cappadocia


Initially, I was deciding if I should spend Euro 150 (S$230, US$179) for this hot-air balloon ride, as I had taken it before in Luxor Egypt (which costed me around S$60!!).

After looking at this frommers website, where hot-air balloon experience in Cappadocia is touted as one of the best in the world. 

"What You'll See: The birds have the best view over the otherworldly terrain of Cappadocia, in the central Anatolian region of Turkey. The moonscape topography of Cappadocia induces head-scratching wonder with limestone chimneys, subterranean churches, and chiseled-out dwellings. Vineyard plots green with growth are interspersed between rock formations striped in shades of red, orange, green, and black, while winter's snow-dusted landscape has an ethereal allure."

In the end, it is worth the money!! 
Really beautiful landscape and wonderful experience.

Preparation for the flight.

Before Sunrise

Ascending slowly

Beautiful Landscape

Aerial View of Cappadocia

Priceless!! =)

Fairy Chimneys (sharp pointed caves) looks like needles from the top

Snow-capped mountains in the background


Wiki: "Ihlara Valley, which is a 16 km (10 mi) long gorge cut into volcanic rock in the southern part of Cappadocia, following several eruptions of Mount Erciyes. The Melendiz Stream flows through the valley.
What makes the valley unique is the ancient history of its inhabitants. The whole canyon is honeycombed with rock-cut underground dwellings and churches from the Byzantine period built by the Cappadocian Greeks. These local people were forced to leave the area and move to Greece in the 1923 Population exchange between Turkey and Greece.[1][2]
Due the valley's plentiful supply of water and hidden places, here was the first settlement of the first Christians escaping from Roman soldiers. In the Ihlara Valley there are hundreds of old churches in the volcanic rock caves. The most known churches are Ağaçaltı Church with cross plan, Sümbüllü Church, Pürenliseki Church, Kokar Church, Yilanli Church, Karagedik Church, Kirkdamatli Church, Direkli Church, Ala Church, Kemerli Church and Egritas Church."

Hiking in the Valley

One of the abandoned Churches


Very enjoyable hike.
Nice scenery, good weather, fresh air, no tourists =)

Caves up in the cliff

Christian Murals in one of the churches

Christian Murals in one of the churches

Abandoned Caves


Wiki: "Kaymaklı Underground City (Cappadocian Greek: Μαλακοπή) is contained within the citadel of Kaymaklı in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey.[1] First opened to tourists in 1964, the village is about 19 km from Nevşehir, on the Nevşehir-Niğde road.

The ancient name was Enegup. Caves may have first been built in the soft volcanic rock by the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, in the 8th–7th centuries B.C., according to the Turkish Department of Culture.[2] When the Phrygian language died out in Roman times, replaced with Greek,[3] to which it was related,[4] the inhabitants, now Christians, expanded their underground caverns adding the chapels and inscriptions. The city was used in the Byzantine era, for protection fromMuslim Arabs during the Arab–Byzantine wars (780-1180).[5][6] The city was connected with Derinkuyu underground city through miles of tunnels. Some artifacts discovered in these underground settlements belong to the Middle Byzantine Period, between the 5th and the 10th centuries A.D. These cities continued to be used by the Christian inhabitants as protection from the Mongolian incursions of Timur in the 14th century.[7][8] After the region fell to the Ottomans the cities were used as refuges (καταφύγια) from the Turkish muslim rulers, and as late as the 20th century the inhabitants, called Cappadocian Greeks, were still using the underground cities to escape periodic waves of Ottoman persecution."

Underground City

Narrow passage ways

I am abit claustrophobic, and my past experiences of being in a network of narrow tunnels (like Cuchi Tunnel in Vietnam and Potosi Mine in Bolivia) just confirmed my fear.

Even though those folks living in underground are really ingenious, it is also very depressing in live in darkness for a long period of time. I bet there are many psychological issues like depression for these underground city dwellers.

What's the odds of meeting your ex-colleage (Singaporean) in a cave in Turkey?
Singaporean English Accent are quite distinctive.

Pigeon Valley. 

Evil Eyes

Wiki: "The evil eye is a curse believed to be cast by a malevolent glare, usually given to a person when they are unaware. Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause misfortune or injury.[1] Talismans created to protect against the evil eye are also frequently called "evil eyes".[2][3]
The idea expressed by the term causes many different cultures to pursue protective measures against it. The concept and its significance vary widely among different cultures, primarily in West Asia. The idea appears several times in translations of the Old Testament.[4] It was a widely extended belief among many Mediterranean and Asian tribes and cultures. Charmsand decorations with eye-like symbols known as nazars, which are used to repel the evil eye are a common sight acrossTurkeyGreeceAlbaniaEgyptIranIsrael, the Levant, and Afghanistan and have become a popular choice of souvenir with tourists."

Interesting Building/Cave.
Looks like the Treasury in Petra, Jordan.

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