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Cappadocia definitely owns a spot in the ‘Must Visit Places in Your Lifetime’ list. There is nothing like it – not just another church, mountain or town. It is a historical land manifested with caves out-of-this-world once used as churches, food storages and stables. Today, you can even sleep in one (search: cave hotel). So, what can you expect from a day trip to Cappadocia?

1. Göreme open air museum

2. Underground city of Kaymaklı and Citadel of Uçhisar

3. Paşabağ valley and Avanos

In this post you will find many interesting, if not mind-blowing facts about this place in bold to keep you excited.

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My travel experience in Cappadocia is one that will always glow beautifully in my memory, mainly because I took off on my first hot air balloon ride overlooking this super ‘sick’ view:

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Secondly, I was with my best friend:

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After so many trips around the world, I’ve learned that who you travel with beats it all. In this case, I happened to have the best of both – a unique country and a soul sister by my side. Boy, was I lucky.

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The name Cappadocia originated from the word Catpatuka; which means the land of beautiful horses in Persian. Hence it ain’t no surprise if I tell you that this terrain has grown its tourists in multi folds – from 6 million to 22 million tourists in 23 years.

What most travelers do not know, is the fact that this soil is home to 22 different kinds of potatoes. (Even Burger King uses their own species of potatoes grown from this ground!)

Unfolding our itinerary:

1. Göreme open air museum

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Where I’m at is actually an open air museum that housed 2000 churches, 1952 food storages (fruits and vegetables were stored here for 400 years), and God knows how many stables. Speaking of stables, it was believed that good steel is made by burning the iron and dipping it in horse urine on repeat, coated with sesame oil after.

Why so many churches? Each church was dedicated to a saint.

Excavators found two bodies; one aged 30 and the other 60 years old in the first church, St. Basil:

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The 2nd church is named ‘apple’. The 3rd church, St. Barbara, has geometric drawings of men holding the cross and killing dragons. The 4th, ‘Snake Church’, which I took no pictures of as I hate snakes. While the 5th is called ‘Charikli’; which means sandals, originated from the word ‘footprints’.

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{And you wonder how small mortals might have been back then . . .}

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{These geometric drawings explaining the life of Jesus are painted in organic colors made of plant roots}

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70 nuns lived on this land and these little holes you see were made for pigeons, as people were already collecting fowl droppings for their crops since donkey years.

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{How it looks like inside a cave}

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{This is where they sat to eat, though maybe not so much how they ate}

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{Guests could sit and place their legs in the hollow lanes highlighted the yellow of my dress}

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{We were guest 1 and guest 2}

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There was a once famous tree here named kavak (poplar in English) that families planted in the olden days when they have a son. Comes the day for him to get married, the kavak is chopped to fund the wedding.

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{Spotlight Dress full outfit details here}

Don’t miss the Tokali (Buckle) Church when you’re there. There are 3 churches in this 1 cave:

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{And 3 camels lining up their asses outside as well}

P.S. Do NOT let the owner of these Beyonce’s catch you taking photos of his camels or he will threat you to pay. I managed to do so very discreetly from the top when he was shouting at someone else who learned it the harsh way.

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Besides strengthening my friendship with Ai Rene, unexpectedly I made new furry friends along my journey.

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{This lonely dog who liked, licked and kissed me}

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A smiley camel:

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{It made me one very smiley girl too}

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{Can you imagine living in one of these little caves instead of an apartment?}

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{#1 Life Goal}

2. Underground City of Kaymaklı and Citadel of Uçhisar

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I wonder how the claustrophobics survived in here. They probably didn’t.

If you look closely at the pictures in this section, you will notice some holes on the caves. Reason: During war, the Arabs didn’t like attacking from the underground because they might get killed too. Hence, they speared their victims from above, creating the holes.

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So, who actually lived here? The Christian hittites of Anatolia, Turkey (which explains the Arabs’ invasion).

One of the reasons why they chose to live underground is because the temperature here remains between 12 to 15 degrees, making it cool enough to live in comfortably (think free air cond) and store their food for long period of time.

How deep is this underground?

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F.Y.I, this ventilation shaft measures 52 meters.

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{This is the kitchen where families take turns to cook for 2000 people}

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Spot the 4 holes in this picture? Toilets were always placed near the entrance (if you think about it, that’s very strategic) and their waste will be covered with ash. No tissue, nor water. Does it smell bad? Not now, but surely very much back then.

3. Paşabağ Valley and Avanos

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After being squeezed for a good couple of hours underground, it was time to spread our wings and fly in this abundance of open space at Turkey’s magical valleys. We pulled over by the highway to explore this rare ground on foot:

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{Mushrooms or penises, you decide}

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{Even our lunch was shaped like so}

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{Chai, my friends, is a must all day, everyday}

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{Cinspiration: The revived potential of a dead tree should you use evil eyes}

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- End of Cappadocia travel guide and photo diary -

More on Turkey (& more to come):
Ankara Hittite Museum
 
Of Istanbul:
Istanbul Travel Guide I, II, & III, Taksim Travel Guide, Cihangir, Best Kebab in Istanbul, Legendary One-Pan Eggs.

 

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