Turkey ~ Cappadocia Sites, Göreme National Park, UNESCO, Ceramic factory

February 20th, continued…

(Warning, another long post)

We started our day off with the optional early morning hot air balloon flight which I wrote about and posted a separate entry on.  You can check it out here if you are interested in it. After returning to the hotel for breakfast, our entire group left for a full day touring the sites of Cappadocia.

Church carved into the side of a rock

Church carved into the side of a rock

Rock Sites of Cappadocia

Located in central Turkey, this is a region made up of several cities.  Known primarily for the natural wonders that include unique rock formations, called fairy chimneys or hoodoos, dwellings carved into the soft rock hills and underground cities.

“The density of its rock-hewn cells, churches, troglodyte villages and subterranean cities within the rock formations make it one of the world’s most striking and largest cave-dwelling complexes.” – UNESCO

Formations

Formations

Formations

Formations

Göreme National ParkOutdoor Museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site

Dating back to the 10th, 11th and 12th century, this is a collection of the finest rock-cut churches, complete with brilliantly colored frescos.   

Goreme Open Air Museum

Goreme Open Air Museum

Many of the frescos have been defaced, however the best preserved and brightest colored ones can be seen in the Black Church.  There is an additional 8 TL entrance fee to tour this small church, but in my opinion it was worth the extra cost.

Beautifully colored well preserved frescos

Beautifully colored well preserved frescos inside Dark Church

Another striking example of well preserved frescos was in the Tokali Church.

Tokali Church Interior

Tokali Church Interior

Ozkonak Underground City

Due to religious persecutions, the early Christians founded safe havens underground – way, way underground.  Some of the complexes were huge covering square miles and could house 10’s of thousands of people.  We toured the one in Ozkanak, only discovered in 1972 by a local farmer.  This city could house 60,000 people for up to three months.

From the top, one would not even know of it’s existence, which was the whole idea.

Ozkanak area with huge city hidden underneath

Ozkanak area with huge city hidden underneath

Only four stories are currently open to the public but it goes down 10 stories underground. I was a little anxious going through narrow passages as we descended down, but I managed OK even with my claustrophobia.

Four floors underground

Four floors underground

Looking up the air shaft to the surface from below

Looking up the air shaft to the surface from below

A massive round stone door was used to role in place to further protect them from invaders along with hiding places to ambush or even pour hot oil on intruders.

Massive round stone door

Massive round stone door

Sultans Ceramic Factory

Ceramic pottery dates back to 2000 BC from the Hittite Civilization.  Sultan’s Ceramic factory is located underground and continues the traditions.  After a demonstration of how  plates and a wine canister are made anyone that was interested had the opportunity to make a purchase.

Artist is hand painting an intricate pattern

Artist is hand painting an intricate pattern

More ceramic pieces offered for sale

More ceramic pieces offered for sale

A couple more quick stops before returning to our hotel to check out a few more fairy chimney rock formations.  We caught the very last of the sunlight just as we arrived.  And then snapped pictures of the natural camel formation.  I tried to capture Ashley kissing it, but it is not very sharp.  It was still a fun shot.

DSC01585

DSC01610

Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful to witness some of the finest frescos dating back to the 11th and 12th century.

I apologize that today’s post is so long. I love that we are able to squeeze so much into the day to maximize our time when on tour, and I am so excited to share all of it with you that sometimes I don’t know where to draw the line. To those that bravely made it all the way to the bottom, I am grateful. I promise not all of my posts will be this long…

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I welcome your comments and feedback…

About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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4 Responses to Turkey ~ Cappadocia Sites, Göreme National Park, UNESCO, Ceramic factory

  1. Amazing place…. beautiful images, looks like it’s a wonderland 🙂

    Like

  2. …Just thought I’d send their comments along:
    “Whew! This was certainly amazing to walk, witness, and read about these travels. They must be travel book writers be be so thorough and complete! I certainly enjoyed everything! Thanks for sending it along to all of us, Arianne! –N&D”

    Like

    • What a lovely compliment! No, we are not travel book writers, but I have to admit that the idea of someday having a book written and published certainly makes me smile. Thank you for sharing our post and letting us know their response. I hope their trip is all they hope it will be!

      Like

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