P3. Cappadocia Nature Tour — Private Tour

Summary

This tour takes you further out of the region (Ihlara is a 3 hour return road journey time from central Cappadocia). On the way to the canyon you can either visit an underground city where locals could hide in safety throughout history or Nar Golu volcanic crater lake and thermal pool or Guzelyurt (Gelveri, Karvala, Karballa) old Greek village and church of Saint Gregory (Aghios Gregorios) built in 380. You can walk in Ihlara Canyon "Valley of the Sky" from the entrance staircase to Bellisirma for lunch on the river, then either walk or drive to Selime for views of the monastery before the journey back which includes visiting a13th century Seljuk caravanserai.  Book Now

Price

240 Euros total for 1-4 persons. Add 20 Euros for each extra person up to 18 persons.
Included in the price: A/C Vito or A/C minibus, driver & guide & their lunches, gas, car parking, tax.
On the day you pay: your entrances, lunch, drinks and any personal expenditure including any tips that you may feel are appropriate.   Book Now

P3. Cappadocia Nature Guided Tour — Details

Underground City Plan

Underground City If you are not visiting an underground city on any other day, we recommend that you see one on this tour (instead of visiting Guzelyurt). 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 Kaymakli and Derinkuyu are intrinsically different because their 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, which still bubbles up from somewhere below the surface, is supposed to be good for curing all kinds of skin problems. Walking around on the burnt-looking soil of the crater sides you may notice that it 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. For those who want to bathe in these healing waters, a new hotel offers a small pool with separate mens and womens sections. If you are not visiting an underground city or Guzelyurt you can spend a short time swimming in the hot water before continuing on your way.  Book Now

Goreme Panorama

Guzelyurt (Gelveri, Karvala, Karballa) is an old Greek village that is still inhabitied, albeit by Turks who came during the exchange of populations with Greece in 1923 as determined by the Treaty of Lausanne at the end of World War I. Connections with its Byzantine past are still in evidence. If you are not visiting an underground city you will have time to see this "Beautiful Homeland".

The old name for the village, Gelveri, is still used by many locals, and the stone houses they live in are typical of the traditional Byzantine Greek architecture of the region.

Goreme Panorama

Most surprisingly, the village mosque is a converted Byzantine church originally built from local stone in 385 CE. Named Saint Gregorius Church after Gregory of Nazianzus the Theologian from Cappadocia (one of the three Cappadocian Fathers of the Church), it has a spring of Holy water near the entrance and is still a site of Christian pilgrimage. On the opposite hill you can walk up the rock to Sivishli cave church which is still worth visiting.  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 only a few of the remaining cave churches are in reasonable condition today.

Goreme Panorama

The walk along the gorge can be either a sedate 4km (2 hours), a rather more adventurous 10km (5 hours) or even the full 13 km (6½ hours). 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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