I’m certainly not the first to say Cappadocia blew my mind. I’ve been there twice, the first time in 1998, the second just a couple years ago, and both times it just left me staring for long moments. Cappadocia on the map is an area in Central Anatolia, which is central modern Turkey – more or less the equivalent of the province of Nevşehir. But Cappadocia in person is like another planet out of a science fiction movie or a Lord of the Rings type fantasy.
I just kept taking the same landscape photo over and over again, as I was left saying Wow each time I put the camera down. Cappadocia makes quite a first impression.
An abandoned stone home in Cappadocia
A view of Goreme town in the distance
The rock that once covered Cappadocia was hard on top and soft underneath, leading to the odd erosion. The tall shafts with the large hard tips at the top are called “fairy chimneys” – but we all know what they really look like. Um… Crayons.
A strange looking tree? Actually, a tree root poking out of the cliff above me far enough to reach the sun.
Uçhisar Hill and Castle offers a commanding view of the region
In the distance, a honeycombed hill turned fortress in Uçhisar; in the foreground a vendor’s collection of Nazar Boncuğu, used to protect one from the evil eye.
Read my article for more information about the Turkish evil eye beads
Turkish ceramics are made in the region. This water pitcher is a Hittite symbol of the sun. Cappadocia was once part of the Bronze-Age Hittite Empire (from about the 1700s to 1100s BCE)
Sunset reflected on high cliffs overlooking Cappadocia with smaller formations already in shadow
Read about my experience in Cappadocia
Just after sunset in Cappadocia
Early Christians were not the first residents of the region (nor the last) but they did create underground cities and many of the homes and churches carved into the stone.
Many of the stone homes were abandoned at the Turkish government’s orders in the late 60s when collapses were proving dangerous.
The soft rock near Uçhisar (not far from Goreme) has eroded in smooth formations
The view from the “window” of a hotel carved out of a fairy chimney
Inside one of the cave hotels in Cappadocia
Two kids in Goreme
Buckle Church (Tokali Kilise in Turkish) is the largest of the Goreme Valley churches
The road into Göreme Valley
The Dark Church is one of the Göreme Cave Churches, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Turkey. Its English nickname explains why the frescoes have retained their vivid color. Once locals kept pigeons here. The resulting mess was removed during restoration.
Christ Pantocrator, an 11th century fresco in the Dark Church (Karanlik Kilise).
A fresco from the Sandal Church (Çarikli Kilise), the Transfiguration
Another fresco from Sandal Church, named for footprints found in the stone at the entrance.
Another fresco from the Sandal Church
A fresco of Christ in the Sandal Church
Read my article about my experience in Cappadocia Learn about buying a Turkish carpet or drinking Turkish coffee. I spent a year in Turkey as a teacher and that experience became the subject of my first book, The Yogurt Man Cometh. Find out more about it here. Here is where I stayed in Cappadocia