The underground city of ancient Cappadocia
I visited Cappadocia, an ancient city in central Turkey, in October of 2012 and it was one of the most amazing life experiences I have ever had. It is a magical town of cave churches, mysterious rock formations, history, archaeological wonder and new sites at every corner, waiting to be explored by the adventure lovers of the world. I only had 3 days to see Cappadocia. But I made the most of it.
On day one, I and the other exchange students arrived in the central Anatolian region around 10:00 am. We settled in a nice 5 star hotel in the city, took advantage of the amenities there, and at night took a walk outside. Cappadocia is a very peaceful place, day or night. The air is fresh and uncontaminated, making you suddenly feel more alive than you have felt in a long time. We took a deep breath and hiked along the path nearby. We knew as we gazed at the subtle skylight in front of us that we would have so much to do and see the next couple of days. As a result, we awoke the next morning early, had our royal breakfast at the hotel, and left right away to start the day.
The first sight we visited was one of the more popular areas in the city to see cave churches. As breathtaking as they are, we walked inside every one we could possibly enter. I was in awe at all the Christian history present in this part of the country. There were iconic pictures painted everywhere inside the caves and the rock churches. It was a beautiful sight to see. Everywhere you could hear tour guides explain the story of this one-of-a-kind land. I was just grateful that my explorations brought me to this place. Amazing.
On the last day of our journey we had the best saved for last to see; the underground city. Some of us took the hot air balloon ride over the rock formations and caves to get that picturesque experience of this place. I missed out on this! Nonetheless I had a lot to look forward to this day. Yes my camera battery had died but the mental images I have of this secret city under the ground are still so clear. It was unlike anything I could ever imagine. We slowly descended into the entrance of the city, and crawled further down. I got to see the atmosphere refugees thousands of years ago had lived in. There are a total of 8 floors in this underground city. I only entered the first 3.
An entire community hidden from the world! I couldn’t believe right then where I was. Afterwards, we went to a traditional wine house and tasted the delicious flavors of the richness of Anatolia. We all took home an item or two from the pottery factory where we stopped by, and negotiated our way to a bargain at the gift shops along our way. But after all this, we still had to see the chimney fairies. This was an area in the center of the town that contained unbelievable rock formations that resembled real life. We saw a rock shaped like a camel (as well as an actual camel), one shaped like the sphinx, and the rest of them were left up to our imagination to decipher.
It was the perfect end to a perfect trip. We returned home on the big bus we came with. Everyone was satisfied and awestruck. I was for sure. Cappadocia is just one of countless sites in the country with a unique setting. People come from all over the world to see it, it is just one of those sites you cannot miss. I am certainly glad I did not.
Photos from http://muhtaryavasca.blogspot.com/