Goreme National Park
Goreme has a great historical and archaeological importance, valleys of Gorme is quite famous for its Caves, monasteries and churches. The amazing landscape of Goreme valleys were made up by volcanic tuff, owes its existence to the activity of Mt. Erciyes, an extinct volcano whose lava formations dominate the area. Wind and rain have worn the tuff formations into free-standing outcrops and rock-towers – ‘’fairy chimneys’’. There are many such outcrops in the region between Nevşehir, Ürgüp and Avanos, where rock-cut dwellings, churches and monasteries have long attracted the attention of travellers and scholars. The first accounts date from 19th century western travellers to the area.
Rock-cut monasteries were first founded in the region by Basilius, archbishop of Caesareia, in the 4th century. Soon after the foundation of the first monasteries in the Valley of Goreme, they became the center of pilgrimage for Christians in search of physical and devotional succor.
The region was first named Korama according to the 6th century account of the life of St. Hieron. It is said that this Saint lived in a shelter carved out of the rock which was extremely difficult of Access. Since this account refers to a much earlier Saint, Hieron is not the earliest martyr to suffer death in these troglodyte shelters.
According to the English historian Skene, St. George was also of Cappadocia origin. It appears that the legends of Mount Erciyes and the snake.
Indeed, the dragon guarding a Magic plant is a common feature of Anatolian legends. St. George may be one of the various heroes who slay the mythical creature. This perhaps accounts for the frequency with dragon in the rock-cut churches of Goreme.
Christianity in Goreme
Goreme was an important center of Christianity during the 7th to 13th centuries. According to the chronicles of a 10th century monk who lived in the area, there were about 360 churches and monasteries of various sizes.
Most of the churches discovered to date contain frescos dating from the 9th to the 13th centuries, a time when the monasteries of the region enjoyed prosperity and tranquility. It followed a period of continual disturbance during which the Christians in the area suffered from sectarian disputes, the effects of iconoclasm and Arab invasions.
Although Cappadocia cannot be considered an artistic center as important as Byzantium, the monastic school created here possessed its own vitality and style. Here one may encounter the frescos of monastic artists intent on giving devotional expression to the church where he himself prayed and the monastery where he lived. The visual images resulting from this simple devotion are not the Works of any particular school of art. It can be said that the effects of the style of the capital have combined with folk art to produce an art in which stylished forms of some sophistication are blended with naive drawings.
Cappdocia Hot Air Balloon
If you have not taken a hot air balloon flight earlier, do not miss the opportunity of Cappadocia hot air balloon activity because this is the best place in the world. There are several companies who offer the service but it is not inexpensive activity. Hot air balloons are flying early mornings at dawn from March to November, if the weather permits winter flights are also available. Average flight takes 1 hour and cost is around 150 to 200 Euros including breakfast and transport from hotel.
Flying with hot air balloon over the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia is the best way to see this unique land. It’s definitely a once in a life time experience. Once up in the air the view and the colors are fantastic. You will admire the magical fairy chimneys and valleys as well as spectacular landscape.
Hiking in Cappadocia
Cappadocia provides great hiking experience to travelers. There are many valleys attract visitors with volcanic formations. Cappadocia valleys have been formed by water and wind erosions. Each valley has different rock formations and colors due to mineral content of soil, like iron or copper. Red valley, green valley and white valley, they all have amazing shapes of rock formations, which surprise and marvel visitors.
Travelers can easily spend several days to explore Cappadocia’s valleys. All valleys were occupied by early Christians. They had carved churches, houses, amenities, stables and storages in these valleys. Cappadocia valleys are accessible, you can easily walk and explore the ancient rock churches and living quarters. Valleys around Goreme, Urgup, Uchisar, Cavusin and Ortahisar village are the most famous. While you are in Cappadocia take your time and explore these valleys. It does not require professional afford, as long as you are healthy enough to walk 4 to 5 kilometers in a few hours, don’t miss this activity.
White Valley or Baglidere is from Uchisar to Cavusin village.
Honey Valley or Ballidere is in Goreme village.
Rose Valley or Gulludere is between Goreme and Cavusin village.
Pigeon Valley or Guvercinlik is between Goreme and Uchisar village.
Swords Valley or Kiliclar Vadisi is near to Goreme open air museum.
Meskendir Valley is near to Goreme open air museum.
Red Valley or Kizil Valley is near to Goreme open air museum.
Love Valley is near to Goreme open air museum.
Horseback Riding in Cappadocia
Cappadocia refers to ‘’Land of Beautiful Horses’’ in ancient text. While you are in Cappadocia, you can join a horseback riding tour anytime during the day in any experience level. There are many reputable horse ranches, they provide good standard of services so travelers can really enjoy.
You can access remote and less known places of Cappadocia on horseback with experienced local guides. Therefore, this activity gives you an opportunity of unique experience so that not regular tourist groups are familiar with. Visiting valleys of Cappadocia on horseback and riding through volcanic formation are very unique experiences and unforgettable memories.
Pottery Workshop in Cappadocia
Avanos is potters town in Cappadocia. The ancient name of the town was Vanessa and it meant the city on water. The town is built on both sides of the Red River. Early people of the town were making ceramic items like plates, jars, amphora and vases from red clay since Bronze Age. Pottery decorated with geometric motifs over red or brown base has been given the title of Cappadocian pottery, as it originated primarily from the region of Avanos. Travelers from all over the world are visiting the town and joining pottery demonstration of local masters. Short courses and workshops are available to those who have extra time to learn the local handcraft.
Tasting Cappadocia Food
Turkish cuisine is considered to be one of the three main cuisines of the world because of the variety of its recipes, its use of natural ingredients, its flavors and tastes which appeal to all palates and its influence throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
The cuisine originated in central Asia, the first home of the Turks, and the evolved with the contributions of the inland and Mediterranean cultures with which Turks interacted after their arrival in Anatolia. It was refined and enriched over the centuries in the Palace of the Sultan, but its tendency for simplicity and natural tastes was preserved. In line with the Palace cuisine, regions of Anatolia developed their own gastronomic specialties.
Turkish Bath (Hamam)
Turkish bath is a traditional cleaning activity and still alive today in Turkish society. The idea of steam bath had passed from the Romans to Byzantines and travelers can see ancient Roman bath ruins in archeological sites. The Turkish people had steam baths practices in Central Asia, which they called Manchu. The combination of Asian tradition of Turks and the Roman bath culture had created today’s Turkish bath or Hamams. The Turkish bath has three section: the cool room, the tepidity room and the hottest room. Traditional Turkish baths have separate sections for man and women. The cleaning skin of a person by scrubbing with a coarse cloth, which is called a mitten, is the main feature of the experience as well having message with soap foam.
There are also some cultural aspects of Turkish bath as well as practical cleaning purpose. The bath or Hamam is also place for entertainments, ceremonies and oral tradition such as folk songs. Traditional Hamams have separate sections for men and women or they use the bath separate times. Women use bath during the day time and men use it in evenings or nights. Women sessions take longer because they bring food and entertain as a group around two hours.
Turkish Folk Dance
Turkey has a rich tradition of folk dancing with dances performed at all social occassions, from weddings and celebrations held for youn men leaving for military service to national and religious festivals or local festivities. Each region has its own dances which reflect the cultural life of that region. Some of the most famous dances are the Bar, originating from the province of Erzurum, the Halay in the East and Southeast, the Zeybek in the Aegean, the Horon in the Balck Sea and the Kasik Oyunu in and around Konya.
Whirling Dervishes Ceremony
Mevleviye are known for their famous practice of whirling dances. At their dancing ceremonies, or Sema, a particular musical repertoire called ayin is played. This is based on four sections of both vocal and instrumental compositions using contrasting rhythmic cycles and is performed by at least one singer, a flute-player (neyzen), a kettledrummer and a cymbal player. The oldest musical compositions stem from the mid-sixteenth century combining Persian and Turkish musical traditions. The repertoire was continuously broadened, and the first notations were made from the early twentieth century onwards.Dancers would receive 1,001 days of reclusive training within the mevlevihane, a sort ofcloister, where they learnt about ethics, codes of behaviour and beliefs by living a practice of prayer, religious music, poetry and dance. After this training, they remained members of the order but went back to their work and families, combining spiritualism with civic life.