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Goreme, Central Anatolia, Turkey
Everyone must see Cappadocia if in Turkey. It is unlike anything I have yet to see on this Earth, an entirely surreal vista
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Goreme, Central Anatolia, Turkey
Be sure to take a side trip to Avenos, the pottery town. In addition to being a more mellow, less touristy place, there are many pottery shops with all kinds of pottery works, including replica Hittite jars of tears used to gather tears for the dead (so they say). Also, don't miss the Hair Museum at Chez Galip, where there are over a ten thousand locks of human hair, many contributed by visitors.
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Urgup, Central Anatolia, Turkey
Urgup is a very good place for travel.There is a very fantastic atmosphere.You should visit this place.
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Avanos, Central Anatolia, Turkey
If you go to Avanos, you must visit Chez Galip, a pottery workshop in a cave. The unusual thing is that hanging from the ceiling are thousands of locks of hair from visitors! The owner will appear with a pair of scissors, and with your permission, will cut off a bit of your hair, and attach it to a card with your name and address, then hang it from the ceiling of the cave! A piece of my hair is probably still there from 1991!
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Avanos, Central Anatolia, Turkey
Avanos Avanos is a small Cappadocian city of artisans. It is situated on the banks of the river Kizilirmak, the "Red River", Turkey's longest river that the Hittites named Marassantiya two thousand five hundred years before Christ. The water is colored by red clay deposits used to make Avanos's famous pottery. Every year in the summer Avanos and its artisans celebrate with a festival where the finest ceramics are displayed. There are songs and dances in traditional costumes, wine and gastronomical treats in profusion. The streets of ancient Avanos are lined with square white houses with wooden balconies on small ter­races. Inside the town the streets give way to workshops and the road surfaces are covered with vases, earthenware pots in varying sizes, mugs and plates. Other artisans in Avanos are invol­ved in weaving carpets and Avanos is a good place to buy. There is a weaving school in the city, perhaps the only one in Turkey, teaching apprentices the ancient arts of weaving and dyeing the wool and silks, and preventing the traditions of this ancient art from dying out. In the center of the town there is an unusual monument figuring two women knee­ling at a loom and a potter at work. Avanos was the ancient city of Venasa and the inhabitants worshipped the eagle, the incarnation of the God Zeus. The Selcuks erected numerous religious buildings. The private houses at Avanos, where the interior rooms give on to interior courtyards without communicating with one another, date from the Ottoman period.
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Urgup, Central Anatolia, Turkey
Ürgüp From the city of Ürgüp, twenty kilometers from Nevşehir and at an altitude of more than one thousand meters, you can see the great valleys of tufa cones and pyramids that give Cappadocia its special character. Vineyards, wheat fields, orchards and beehives surround Ürgüp. Thus Ürgüp is a good base to explore the whole region. The city is small but thriving. The old houses built with tufa and local stone (some are still decorated) blend in well with the new houses, also built with tufa. Until a few decades ago, the ten thousand inhabitants of Ürgüp were farmers and shepherds; even today shepherds with their flocks can be seen in the valleys, but with the advance of tourism many have become hoteliers and restaurateurs. The city is full of small shops and stores selling all kinds of articles from local delicacies to ceramics and small souvenirs of the eye of Allah. The inhabitants who are cheery and prone to laughter claim that Ürgüp 's honey is the best in Turkey. During the first few days in June Ürgüp celebrates wine and the grape (the grapes are particularly sweet) by holding a festival that draws people from far and wide to taste wine made in the whole of Cappadocia. The red wine is hefty and the white rather delicate. Cappadocian grapes have been used to make wine since the Ottomans started the practice. Uchisar Uchisar, a village cut from the rock, must be unique. It is surreal, fantastic landscape of perforated pinnacles and calanques of white ash, with a castle looking down over troglodyte dwellings cut from tufa. From the castle there is a breathtaking view of the region that resem­bles an enormous white sponge, or a stone forest. Not many people live in Uchisar. Walking through the little town, not yet ruined by mass tourism, you feel that time has stopped and that the daily rules and work rhythms are being dictated by an unchanging tradition. Men converse with one another, sitting at precarious tables over glasses of Raki, or cups of tea or coffee. You often come across horse or mule drawn carts on the roads, and the women all cover their heads. Uchisar is also called "Pigeon Valley" from its old pigeon-lofts. These are extraordinary monuments resem­bling the facades of rock-cut churches. Some were exca­vated and decorated in bright colors so as to attract pigeons as their guano was prized as a fertilizer. Göreme Göreme and its famous valley are situated right in the center of Cappadocia. Here nature has been overtaken by fantasy; the landscape is made up of valleys large and small, rocky walls, tufa pyramids and cones riddled with holes and odd trees growing in clumps surviving against all odds. When you see this spectacle, as well as feeling incredulous, you get the sensation that you are in another world, in a lunar landscape. Not by chance it is considered an open-air museum (Acik Hava Muzesi) . For century’s troglodytes carving churches and monasteries out of the rock inhabited it. It is pleasant, but tiring to go up and down the stairs, into dark passageways and caverns, seeing sanctuaries and houses. Longer trips can be enjoyed on horse or mule-back, without spending large sums of money. The first Christians came to Goreme to escape from Roman persecutions and numerous hermits and ascetics wishing to live in isolation and meditation joined them. They excavated cavities in the rock, burrowed into the mountainside and constructed houses, buildings, stables, mills, churches and monasteries that were invisi­ble from the outside, but inside their dwellings were functional and well laid out. Their churches and monasteries were later adorned with frescoes, paintings and icons. In the Göreme valley alone there are more than a thousand churches and monaste­ries, the earliest dating from the seventh century. An ancient local tradition claims that the monks managed to create three hundred and sixty-five churches in a single year, at a rate of one a day. Under the Byzantines, during the iconoclastic period, work on decorating the churches was suspended and the monks were persecuted. Their goods were confiscated and many monasteries were forced to close. Only around 843 A.D., after the victory of the iconolaters (worshippers of images) were the monks able to return and vigorously set about building and decorating more churches and monasteries, and religious architecture once again flourished in the valley. The Tokali Kilise , or the Church of the Buckle is the lar­gest and most important church in Göreme and indeed in Cappadocia and the lavishness of its decorations and frescoes has survived to this day. At one time this church housed a precious collection of gold and jewels, inclu­ding a large gold buckle (hence the name of the church), which later disappeared mysteriously. The frescoes in the church date from the tenth century and they are predo­minately blue in color. They narrate, in chronological order, episodes from the life of Christ, from the Annunciation to the Ascension into heaven. Other decorations record the life of Basil the Great, the Bishop-Patron Saint of Cappadocia. The structure of the church is different from the others, having a transverse nave and an atrium formed from the interior of an earlier church, called the Old Church that originally had a single aisle and a vaulted roof. The Karanlik Kilise , or Dark Church is so called because of its lack of light, having only one small aperture opening on to the narthex that provides hardly any. This has meant that its frescoes have kept their brilliant colors and luminosity. Entrance to the church is via a staircase. It was built in the eleventh century on two storeys and was once part of a monastery; there is still a refectory with a table and benches for the monks and a dormitory excavated in the rock. The central dome of the Karanlik Kilise is decorated with a splendid image of Christ and rests on columns whose lower parts are embellished. Blue is the predominant color of the frescoes that illustrate the Crucifixion and Christ's Last Supper. The Carikli Kilise , the Church of the Sandal, was so named because of footprints found in the entrance in front of the door. Legend has it that they were the footprints of Jesus Christ, who appeared there after the Resurrection. This church too is richly decorated with paintings showing episodes from the life of Christ: one fresco showing the betrayal of Judas above the arch on the left door is particularly beautiful. The unusual feature of the Carikli Kilise is that it was excavated from the same rock as Karanlik Kilise and the two churches have facing entrances. Zelve Not far from Avanos is the city of Zelve situated in the strangest valley with ravines, high rocks and tufa cones -one the most beautiful, perfect places in Cappadocia. Zelve is a rock city concealed in the valley and it was lived in until thirty years ago. Vineyards and sunflowers surround it but above all it is a bird paradise where birds of all species flock together, hiding in apertures in the old houses where they make their nests. The inhabitants lived in dwellings excavated from the rock but continuous erosion in the area weakened the walls of their houses forcing them to abandon the town, and they moved to a new village called Yeni Zelve. At Zelve and in the whole valley lived numerous communities of monks, hermits, and ascetics seeking isolation, but not many of their churches and sanctuaries constructed in the rocks have survived and they are mostly in poor condition. The importance and fascination of these churches lay in their wall paintings, the oldest in Cappadocia. These are important for their iconography, depicting with extreme simplicity and primitive-ness the symbols of Christianity, the religion that was taking root. The most common subjects were the Cross, the symbol of the passion, or a fish that stood in Greek letters for Jesus Christ, Son of God, and Saviour. In the Balikli Kilise, also known as the Church of the Fish, there are numerous wall paintings depicting fishes and the ceiling is decorated with a great Cross with fishes at the side. In the Uzümlu Kilise , or Church of the Grapes, there are wall paintings with vines and bunches of grapes as wine in Christianity is the symbol of the Eucharist. There are several wall painting illustrating deer, the Cross and fish in the Geykli Kilise , the Church of the Deer. As well as the churches at Zelve to see, there are ancient presses and stone mills that have survived over the centuries in spite of the geological faults in the area. The Fairies’ Chimneys Close to Zelve is the Valley of Pasabagi, or the Valley of the Monks, but for the Turks, the fairies' chimneys. The landscape here too is startling, with perfectly formed tufa cones ten meters high grouped together and others standing in isolation. Clusters of these pinnacles are covered by unmistakable black caps, rather like a monk's hood, which have protected them from rain and erosion. There are fruit trees all around, mostly apples and figs that have grown spontaneously and neat rows of vines laden with grapes. The local people who worked the land believed that wicked fairies and elves lived in these "chimneys", ready to cast evil spells. Pasabagi is also known as the valley of the monks because monks and hermits came from all over to make their own dwellings, as they did elsewhere in Cappadocia, because its strange landscape encouraged solitude and meditation. St. Simeon was one of the anchorites who chose this valley, according to tradition. He lived on a cone, an outcrop of tufa, praying, healing the sick and even advising the powerful. The so-called Chapel of St. Simeon can be visited in small groups. The paintings in the interior date from the tenth century but they are in poor condition and some have completely vanished. On the back wall of the church there are frescoes with scenes from the life of the saint; one fresco showing the saint with his mother is particularly expressive.
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Avanos, Central Anatolia, Turkey
Don't buy ceramic nightlights, jugs, etc in touristy Goreme - go into the centre of Avanos instead. At the far end of the main square (top right corner from the pottery monument) there is a series of back alleys where you can find much cheaper and better quality designs - the first little shop on the left - owned by an old boy who will give you a little discount even if you don't ask for it! - has lovely large ones for around 15YTL instead of the 40 they tried to charge me in Goreme!
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Urgup, Central Anatolia, Turkey
Be sure to stay in an authentic cave hotel for the complete experience. The rooms will be chilly if you are not traveling in the summer.
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Nevsehir, Central Anatolia, Turkey
Take suncream, sunglasses, water, comfy clothes a good walking boots.
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Nevsehir, Central Anatolia, Turkey
don't lose pigeon valley!nature everywhere,a small river in the middle,stone churces overall etc...it deserves!!
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