The Beautiful Rock Formations

Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Today we flew from Istanbul to Cappadocia early, a short flight.  We were then able to  visit a number of special areas.  In the evening we went to a Whirling Dervish and Folk Dance show which is very interesting and fun - took lots of pictures.

i also got lots of outdoor pictures of the Fairy Chimneys and caves in the Cappadocia area,  formed when volcanic rock was spread over the area and then weathered in strange ways.  Do follow the links by clicking on the blue or orange words to learn more about the area.  The really fascinating thing is there are many churches carved out of the natural cave formations and some contain very interesting paintings right on the walls of the caves.  There was no photos allowed inside so I did the next best thing, I bought postcards of each painting in the Dark Church which has the most art and with my wonderful camera, i photographed them and you will see them below.  They look just like the original paintings.  We had a custodian following us all the way to make sure we did not take photos.  Good thing my camera is good with detail.  Faruk was amazed and wants to get one like it.  Far more expensive in Instanbul than Canada.

There are also niches cut into the rock (see the pictures) and these were done by the residents of the time to encourage pigeons to nest here.  They collected the excretment and used it as fertiizer.

We also stopped at a pottery shop owned by a very famous potter.  i saw a demonstration of pottery making and heard about the original designs on each piece which is hand painted by the artist.  I did buy a small plate to hang on the wall.  It was abeautiful store and I think there is a picture at the end of this entry.  


One of the geological wonders of the world. Cappadocia is a high plateau in Central Turkey at an altitude of 3270 ft / 1000 m. It lies in a triangle formed by the three main towns of Kayseri, Nevsehir and Nigde. 

The history of Cappadocia begins 60 million years ago with the eruption of 2 volcanos, covering the area with lava and tufa. In later periods rain and wind eroded the land and created unusual valleys, canyons and cones. 

For many centuries Hittites, Assyrian Colonies, Greeks and Romanslived in the region. Cappadocia is also a very important region in early Christian History. 

There are over 600 hundred rock-cut churches built by monks and hermits between the 4th and 11th centuries. In some of these, church walls have been decorated with wonderful frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible.

 is largely in Nevşehir Province.It defines a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage. The boundaries of historical Cappadocia are vague, particularly towards the west. To the south, the Taurus Mountains form the boundary with Cilicia and separate Cappadocia from the Mediterranean Sea. To the west, Cappadocia is bounded by the historical regions of Lycaonia to the southwest, and Galatia to the northwest. The Black Sea coastal ranges separate Cappadocia from Pontus and the Black Sea, while to the east Cappadocia is bounded by the upper Euphrates, before that river bends to the southeast to flow into Mesopotamia, and the Armenian Highland.[3] This results in an area approximately 400 km (250 mi) east–west and 250 km (160 mi) north–south. Due to its inland location and high altitude, Cappadocia has a markedly continental climate, with hot dry summers and cold snowy winters.[4] Rainfall is sparse and the region is largely semi-arid.

Göreme  located among the "fairy chimneyrock formations, has a population of around 2,500 people. The Göreme National Park (Göreme Milli Parklar in Turkish) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.The location of Göreme was first settled back in the Roman periodChristianity was then the prevailing religion in the region, which is evident from many rock churches that can still be seen today.

Göreme town panorama.
Göreme Open Air Museum 

 (see above for link to Churches)

There are over 10 cave churches in the Göreme Open Air Museum. Along with rectories, dwellings, and a religious school, they form a large monastic complex carved out of a roughly ring-shaped rock formation in the otherworldy landscape of Cappadocia. Entrance to the site is on the north side.The best way to explore the cave churches of Goreme is via the clearly marked path, working counterclockwise. Each one has a modern Turkish name, given by local villages based on a prominent feature.  Most of the churches are fully painted inside with beautiful and historically important Byzantine murals dating from 900-1200 AD. Most are in remarkably good condition, although nearly all the eyes of the painted figures have been gouged out by superstitious locals afraid of the Evil Eye. One notable exception is the Dark Church, whose walls were long protected by pigeon droppings!One of the recurring themes in these and other Cappadocian churches is St. George slaying the dragon. According to local tradition, the event occurred on the summit of Mount Erciyes.


Crucifixion in the Dark Church. Photo licensed un
Dark Church (Karanlik Kilise)
The Dark Church, so named for the little light that penetrates the interior, was used as a pigeon house until the 1950s. It took 14 years to scrape pigeon poo off the walls, but underneath were beautifully preserved 11th-century frescoes. Recently restored, the paintings of New Testament scenes and other subjects are considered the best-preserved frescoes in Cappadocia.


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Trish on

Hi Laura,
This is so interesting! I went on a tour of Turkey a few years ago but it didn't include Cappadocia, which I had wanted to see, so I'm delighted to see your pictures...looks as if you are well over any illness!

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