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Tourist Places To Visit In Cappadocia (Kapadokya)
Cappadocia is a region in central Anatolia that offers such stunning landscapes that will make you believe you've landed on another planet. Known best for its hot air balloon rides over the rocky valleys, some of the other tourist places to visit in Cappadocia include Cave Churches, Underground Cities, Lunar landscapes and much much more. It is a place full of magic and wonder and will leave you wanting for more.
Goreme Open Air Museum
This is definitely not your typical museum. The Goreme Open Air Museum is a complex of refectory monasteries, carved in volcanic rock formations. There are about 13 cave churches, starting from the 4th century up to the 12th century. Don't miss this UNESCO World Heritage site and the beautiful frescoes inside the churches. This open-air museum is located in the central region of Cappadocia and is easily accessible by walking from Goreme village.
Kaymakli Underground City
The Kaymakli Underground City is believed to have been first constructed by the Phrygians in the 7th & 8th century. It was built under the citadel of Kaymakli. Throughout the centuries the underground city has been for protection for people escaping from the numerous wars between the Arabs, Mongolians, Ottomans etc. It was only in 1923 that the tunnels were emptied out completely.
There are over 100 tunnels and only a small part of it is currently open to the public. You can visit 4 floors that are still being used. The 1st floor consists of a stable, the 2nd floor is a church, the third floor is the kitchen and the fourth floor is the storage area.
The Devrent Valley was one of the few places that were left uninhabited, so there are no caves or churches here. But what makes this an iconic landscape is the lunar type rocks formations found here. Some of the rocks are in the shapes of animals. It is only a 10-minute drive from Goreme. This valley is also known by other names such as Pink Valley and Imaginary Valley.
Pasabag has some of the most beautiful fairy chimneys in Cappadocia. These striking pillar type rocks are located in the middle of a vineyard and have a mushroom-like head. This is also known as the Monks Valley as some hermit shelters were built here and it became a popular spot for the hermits of Cappadocia to escape to when they wanted to distance themselves from the world.
Derinkuyu Underground City
This is Turkey's largest underground city. It runs 200 feet in depth and was large enough to accommodate 20,000 people along with their supplies and livestock. As the other underground cities, this too was mainly used as a shelter from the ravaging wars above ground. Interestingly, all the levels of the city could be closed off from inside, separately. What makes this city different from the others is the barrel-vaulted ceiling found in the 2nd floor. The room was used as a religious school.
The Ihlara Valley offers some stunning landscapes as it is located near 2 volcanic mountains. The canyon runs 14 km long with a depth of 100 m. There are many cave churches that can be explored here, which have different frescoes and paintings that are different from the other churches around Cappadocia. The valley was once home to over 80,000 people.
Cavusin is an old Greek village in the Avanos region of Cappadocia. The most famous place here is the church of Saint John the Baptist, built in the 5th-century. The route up to the church offers an interesting climb as you pass by cave houses, mosques and get an experience of how people live here. Some of the houses here have been renovated and are also up for sale! Be prepared for some beautiful views from the top, of the little houses and also of Rose and Red Valley at a distance. This is definitely a hidden gem as not too many people add this village to their itinerary.
Uchisar Castle is a popular tourist spot and it is located at the highest point in Cappadocia. It is just about 5 km from Goreme and has some of the most magnificent views from the top. The rock-cut castle has rooms that are hollowed out into the rock and stairs and tunnels connect them with each other. Due to some erosion, not all rooms are accessible now. Many of the rooms now are used as pigeon houses.