Meet The Flintstones (in Cappadocia)

Trip Start Sep 09, 2013
Trip End Dec 16, 2013

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Where I stayed
Travellers' Cave Pension Goreme
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Turkey  , Cappadocia,
Monday, October 21, 2013

If you are over - let's say 35 - you will remember the Flintstones on television. Fred and Wilma lived with Pebbles and the beloved Dino, beside Barney, Betty and Bam-Bam in Bedrock City. You may have been lucky enough to visit the amusement park - somewhere near Chilliwack, BC - inspired by the cartoon. I never got to go there, though we drove by it on family road trips many times. *Sigh*. Scarred for life.

That is, until we arrived in Cappadocia, and we found REAL cave dwellings. We even got to stay in one! In case you're wondering, I did not don a sabre tooth tiger coat, like Fred, nor did Sandi pin her hair up with a bone, like Wilma. Nor were these the primitive cave dwellings of Neandertals.

Cappadocia was first occupied by the Hittites in ancient times (yes, of Biblical lore) who came to the area and discovered a geological anomaly - volcanic layers in the form of hard basalt over softer stone. Centuries of erosion created stone pillars and chimneys that could easily be carved and hollowed out into homes, from which to farm the fertile valleys. Later, the early Christians took refuge in Cappadocia from persecution from the Roman Empire and added churches, stables and underground cities which only became more elaborate during the Byzantine era (4th to 15th centuries) when cathedrals and entire monasteries were carved within mountains. The ceilings of these churches were even painted, at first with simple works but later with exquisite frescoes some of which are still visible today. In the Ottoman age, the churches were abandoned or became kitchens, warehouses or even stables. Many of the monasteries became fortresses. A few of the fairy chimneys are still occupied today, complete with modern windows, doors and furnishings, Some have been renovated into cave hotels but most - and there are thousands of cave dwellings in Cappadocia - are now abandoned.

Exploring these ghost towns is bizarre and other-worldly. There are other cave villages in the world, but most are dwarfed by the sheer scale of Cappadocia, one of Turkey's unique attractions.  After three days of squeezing into doorways, exploring secret passageways, wandering in cave cathedrals and climbing to glorious vistas over rose coloured valleys splashed with autumn hues - we were, simply, out of breath.  The pictures below say it all.

I couldn't find any bowling alleys (for my twinkle toes) in Cappadocia, though.  Wilmaaaaaaaaa!
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