Underground Cities and Beautiful Valley's

Cappadocia Travel Blog

 › entry 19 of 29 › view all entries
Views over Goreme from lookout

Came down stairs this morning to find the American helper and the cook arguing in the kitchen!  I was the only guest around Zehra was still up in the room.  The guys knew I was there as I asked for the breakfast menu but the still continued to argue, not a good look in front of guests I really am put off with the staff here and don’t think I will be returning in a hurry to this pension.  Breakfast wasn’t part of the deal it was extra but the advantage is you had more choice so I chose Melemen which contained fried egg, tomatoes, onion and peppers it sort of looked like a mushy omelette but was very tasty.  Our tour transfer picked us up at 9:15am and took us to the Otogar where we transferred onto an 18 seater bus.  There were 18 of us on the tour today, 3 Aussies a German, two Americans and 2 Japanese girls.  Our first stop was a lookout with views over Goreme and the surrounding valley. Our tour guide went on for about 20 minutes about the history of the area.  After his long speech we were allowed some free time for photographs and explore the many tourist tat stalls perched at this stop.  We then continued on to Derinkuyu to see the Underground city. The underground cities were built by the Christians back in the 6th and 7th centuries to escape persecution by the Muslims.  Whole cities were built underground with air shafts disguised as wells or graves some 10,000 people lived in these underground cities.  We headed into the entrance and had to descend some very narrow stone steps which opened up into a kitchen; our guide gave us an explanation before we moved on further.  We hadn’t gone far when an awful noise came behind us, school kids 30+ welcome to my worst nightmare! We were trapped in a small tight space and we couldn’t get out! All we could here is sshh as people told the kids to shut up, kids were mixed in with tourists and it was a crush we could hardly here our guide. In the end I suggested to the guide that we move over into s small alcove we were near and let the kids and their teachers pass so that’s what we did.

Mushroom shaped clay carvings for sale!
  One guide told the guide of the kids to get the kids out on the next exit so we were free of them on level one! We descended to the 8th level about 550 meters down it was a long winding stone staircase and you had to practically bend double to get down it I’m wondering how short the people were them days!  On the 8th level we saw a church, winery and stables. Our guide told us that the residents didn’t waste anything and that all faeces whether human or animal were collected and used as fertiliser on their fields. The inhabitants who lived here only ever lived below ground when they were in danger.  For those who have back problems or claustrophobia wouldn’t appreciate this underground city some of the passages were very tight. When we finally came out it was very bright, some old village ladies were trying to sell us rag dolls, one lady looked like she was as old as the underground city!! Zehra couldn’t resist buying a doll. 

We moved on to our next location Ihlara valley. The valley is a 13k gorge for which we were going to walk 3k of it to our lunch spot.  The gorge was lovely and river ran through its middle.  There were rock cut churches along the gorge which had been cut out of the cliffs, we visited one of them which was at the start. The church had some frescoes which had faded.  We descended the steps to the path which ran along the gorge. We weren’t alone there were many other people here mainly locals as it was a Saturday so would be busy.  We followed the path along the river we lost most of locals when we came to the first rest stop, a little gozleme stall had set itself up along with a stall selling snacks and drinks, seating with cushions was available to sit on.  We passed on through here then it was just our little group, it was a very pleasant walk and as we neared our restaurant we saw the pigeon holes in the cliffs. Pigeons live and breed in these holes and were once used by the Christians for sending messages, now their poop is used for fertilizer on the potato fields which are ranked the best potatoes in the region.  We stopped here for lunch we had lentil soup and Turkish bread followed by meat, chicken or trout stew. Zehra and I chose the beef it was very tasty. Desert was orange slices.  After lunch we headed to Selime monastery.  The monastery was amazing structure carved out the chimney cliffs, it had a church, huge kitchen and stables, we clambered up and explored it, this was a favourite spot it was great. Our last stop was a lookout at pigeon valley about 40 minutes away, we could see the pigeon houses carved into the rock face and the pigeons coming and going.  Of course tour would not be complete without a visit to a shop on the way back! We stopped at the art and jewellery centre we were given a spiel about turquoise and the different types then we were shown the shop which was jammed with expensive jewellery!  The shop had a bus load of rich Koreans so they would certainly get a sale of them but certainly not us! I told Zehra to tell the guide that the tours they operate attract the wrong demographic to come to shops like this! Unfortunately there are no feedback papers for these tours so they will keep doing it.

Ihlara Valley
  Looking at the whole day though it’s easy to hire a car or scooter in Goreme and do this tour yourself.  Our guide was from Urfa so we had a good chat to him about the East region, we decided that we would do it ourselves and pick up tours to the more difficult places to get to from the towns we visit. We arrived back at about 6:30pm so while we were at the Ottogar we booked our bus to Gaziantep for Sunday then we headed to a recommended place for dinner then back to the Pension.  Zehra arranged to meet who tour guide friend at 8:30pm at the Lazzar hotel so she went and did that while I stayed at the pension and researched hotels in Ganziantep.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Views over Goreme from lookout
Views over Goreme from lookout
At the lookout
At the lookout
Mushroom shaped clay carvings for …
Mushroom shaped clay carvings for…
Ihlara Valley
Ihlara Valley
Ihlara Valley and Gorge
Ihlara Valley and Gorge
Church Frescoes at Ihlara Valley
Church Frescoes at Ihlara Valley
Ihlara Gorge walk
Ihlara Gorge walk
Ihlara gorge walk
Ihlara gorge walk
The river in Ihlara Gorge
The river in Ihlara Gorge
Pigeon caves
Pigeon caves
Pigeon caves in Ihlara valley
Pigeon caves in Ihlara valley
Views from Selime Monastery
Views from Selime Monastery
Views from Selime Monastery
Views from Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Church at Selime Monastery
Church at Selime Monastery
Inside Selime Monastery
Inside Selime Monastery
Inside Selime Monastery
Inside Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Selime Monastery
Pigeon Valley
Pigeon Valley
Pigeon Valley
Pigeon Valley
Pigeon Valley
Pigeon Valley
Pigeon Valley complete with Pigeons
Pigeon Valley complete with Pigeons
Pigeon Valley
Pigeon Valley
White capped mountain near Cappado…
White capped mountain near Cappad…
Cappadocia
photo by: EmyG