G3. Ihlara Green Tour

Summary

Details: Sometimes called the Green Tour and sometimes called the Red Tour. Whatever the name, on this tour we visit Derinkuyu Underground City where Cappadocians have lived and hidden themselves at times of danger for thousands of years, then Nar Golu volcanic crater lake viewpoint. The beautiful Ihlara Canyon, also known as the "Valley of the Sky", which lies about 100km distant is the main destination of this tour. The entrance is a spectacular panorama where you can see the full height of the canyon with the Melendiz river at the bottom. Villages on the willow-lined banks are still the home of traditional rural life, and you may spot women drying foodstuffs on the roofs of their houses, spinning wool or milking goats. You should also look out for villagers using horses to plough their small fields and carrying wood back to their homes on donkeys. There are a few churches worth visiting including Sumbullu Church, Aachaltı Church, Purenli Seki Church, Kokar Church and Yilanli church. Lunch at Belisirma (the middle village), gives an opportunity to sample a dish of local fish while relaxing to the sound of the water flowing by. After lunch, it's fun to visit the remains of the old mill (bezirhane) which once produced linseed oil used for lighting before electricity arrived. After meeting up with our driver we stop at Selime with its cave houses, monastery and rock pinnacles. Finally, we can drop in at a 13th Century Agzikarahan Caravanseri (Seljuk period motel for camel trains) on our return.

Price: €68 per person entrances and lunch (but not drinks) included.  Book Now

G3. Ihlara Green Tour — Details

Underground City Plan

Derinkuyu Underground City Although all towns and villages in Cappadocia once had safe and secure secret rooms dug out of the soft tufa (tuff) rock, the underground cities of Derinkuyu is intrinsically different because its size, scale, and evidence of underground city planning. Up to 50 meters deep and 3 kilometers wide, as many as 5,000 people were able to hide safely underground out of site of the enemy, with their store of food that could last for months if necessary.

Kaymakli Underground City

Life (and death) could continue relatively normally in these well-ventilated cities lit by linseed-oil lamps, which had their own water supply, stockpiled food, kitchens, toilets, churches and even graveyards safe behind their gigantic circular mill-stone doors which could only be opened from the inside. The people could even cook food safely, as multiple chimneys dispersed the smoke imperceptibly so their presence would not be discovered by the enemy.  Book Now

Goreme Panorama

Nar Golu (Lake Pomegranate) is a crater lake that was formed when a volcano blew its top some time in the not too distant geological past. The hot sulfurous water still bubbles up from somewhere below the surface. The burnt-looking soil of the crater sides has become the home of a wide variety of birds, and it is also possible to come across the shiny jet black obsidian that was prized by Paleolithic and Neolithic people for making tools and weapons that were sharper than surgical steel.  Book Now

Goreme

Ihlara Canyon The Melendiz River, originating from a spring and fed by the melting snows from Mount Hasan (3,268m) has carved a 14 km long gorge with depths of up to 110 meters through rock deposited during volcanic eruptions. We know this volcano was active during Neolithic times because of the wall painting found at Catal Hoyuk (now on display at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara).

Goreme Panorama

Because the gorge is invisible from the plateau and the zigzagging valley means you can’t see more than a few hundred meters ahead at any one time, it formed a wonderfully hidden and sheltered place. This is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why it became home to many Byzantine monasteries, although few of the remaining cave churches are in reasonable condition today.

Goreme Panorama

The walk along the gorge is a sedate 4km. The aim is not just to walk the gorge but to take in the views and sights along the way. The three villages on the willow-lined banks are still the home of traditional rural life, and you may spot women drying foodstuffs, spinning wool and milking goats on the roofs of their houses, and even washing their clothes in the river. You should also look out for villagers using horses to plough their small fields and donkeys to carry wood back to their villages.

Goreme Panorama

Lunch at Belisirma (the middle village), gives an opportunity to sample local dishes of fish while relaxing to the sound of the water flowing by. After lunch, it is fun to visit the remains of the two mills, one for flour and the other for linseed oil which was used for lighting before electricity arrived. Finally you'll pass through the village of Selime where the pointed pinnacles down the valley side are magically appearing as the softer rock around them is slowly washed away.  Book Now

Goreme Tour

Agzikarahan Caravanserai (13th century) is on the Silk Road which was probably used for 3,000 years by Assyrian traders. However, it was the Seljuks who built the Caravanserais (motels for camel trains) every 10-15 kilometers, a day’s walk on foot. There are roughly 350 of them in Turkey, 7 of which are in Cappadocia. A caravanserai was at the same time a fortress, a hotel, a stable, and a market place where silk, paper, carpets, gunpowder and spices were traded. These caravanserais are the first Turkish works of art in Anatolia and are where some of the best decorative Seljuk architecture can be seen.  Book Now

 

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