A charming Cappadocian town set, like a typical fortifies town, on the slope, spreading over onto the plain below. The houses are typical of the region. These flat-roofed dwellings are warn in winter and cool in summer. The volcanic tuff of which these houses are built may be seen in its natural state along the routes from Urgup into the surrounding interior where on emay encounter extraordinary views, particularly of the pinkish Stone quarried for building on the Urgup-Avanos road and the rows of fairy chimneys, crested configurations or eroded tuff between Nevsehir and Urgup.
The town possesses hotels, motels and guest houses of reasonable quality, and a sizeable shopping centre, besides a small ethnographical museum. The area also boasts a locally grown wine of notable character.
A few kilometres from Zelve, in the area of Pasabag, one encounters amazingly complex rock formations with tower- like outcrops in pairs and clusters, or merged into extraordinary shapes.
The ruins of the ancient village of Zelve are 2.5kms. to the right of the Cavusin-Avanos road at he end of a track. It is an important complex of monasteries and churches which was founded on step slopes, some of it hollowed out of the rock, as in Ortahisar, Cavusin and Uchisar. As in Cavusin, erosion has forced the village to resettle in the floor of the Valley, which is actually two canyons merging into a gorge. The natural rock formations of this Valley are extraordinarily varied and unusual. A small minaret in the old village of Zelve shaped like a bell tower, is a landmark.
A small church from the iconoclastic period can be seen to the left of the entrance to the gorge.
The inerior of the Uzumlu church is embellished with medallion rosettes, Christian symbols and forms such as the cross, fish, palm and vine stem. The vine stem is the symbol of Christ, according to early Christian iconography, a symbol to which are attached hopes for eternal salvation and happiness. According to the gospel of St. John, Christ says I am the vine and you are my shoots. Vines are much in evidence throughout the wall paintings of Goreme.
A second church, quite ruined, may be seen immediately above the old minaret. The Geyikli church contains frescos of a stag flanking a cross, and surmounting a fish. The stag, according to the iconography, represent the thirst soul drinking the water of life. It has also been used to symbolise devotion to God as well as Christ. There are at least five other churches at Zelve which have not yet been opened.
This Valley, first described by G. Jerphanion in 1936, is a place of great beauty surrounded by high hills. Besides the natural beauty of the steep-walled Valley, which has a number of streams and gren cover, it is also a place of considerable archaeological interest.
Some of the more notable of the many churches and monasteries, each with different features such as: Geyikli Church, Karabas Church, Yilanli Church, The Kubbeli Churches, Yeni Church, Tahtali Church, Ak Church and Kucuk Church.
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.
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.