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Thread: The Caves of Cappadocia, Turkey, Summers of 1988, 1990 and 1996

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    Default The Caves of Cappadocia, Turkey, Summers of 1988, 1990 and 1996


    OK, time for something a little bit different…

    1. The History
    The region of Cappadocia lies in the central Anatolian plains of modern-day Turkey and consists of a high plateau of over 1,000m, pierced by volcanic peaks, with Mount Erciyes, near to Kayseri, the tallest at 3,916 m. The area has a very continental climate of hot dry summers and cold snowy winters and little in the way of rainfall making the area semi-arid.



    Cappadocia, derived from Old Persian, is a historical region in Central Anatolia, centred around the principal towns of in the Nevşehir, Kayseri and Aksaray. Earliest records make mention of the name of Cappadocia in late 6th century BC. Records dating back to the time of Herodotus at the time of the Ionian Revolt (499 BC) make reference to the Cappadocians occupying a region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine (Black Sea). Traditionally the name has been used in Christian sources. The Old Persian name Katpatuka meant "Low Country", although subsequent research suggests it comes from the Hittite adverb katta meaning 'down, below'. The area has a rich history and in the 3rd century BC was the largest province of the Roman Empire.

    Erosion has shaped the landscape of Cappadocia and in the fourth century A.D. it was an urbanized via a labyrinth of underground dwellings. Previously, ancient volcanic eruptions covered the area with thick ash, which solidified into a soft rock called tuff. Wind and water have subsequently left only the harder elements behind, forming a magical landscape of cones, pillars, and chimneys. The area is now honeycombed with a network of man-made caves including living quarters, places of worship, stables, and storehouses, all dug out of the soft stone. Many date back from the Hittite era, circa 1800 to 1200 B.C. when the territory sat on the boundary between rival empires; first the Greeks and Persians and then later between the Byzantine Greeks and a host of other rivals. The fragile political position of the region meant that residents needed to hide, which they did by tunnelling into the rock.

    The area became a religious refuge during the early days of Christianity and by the fourth century Christians fleeing Rome’s persecution were arriving in Cappadocia with monks excavating extensive dwellings and monasteries into the rock, decorated with Byzantine frescoed paintings in cave chapels.

    Now the area, centred Göreme, is a World Heritage site and popular tourist destination, due to its many unique geological, historic, and cultural features.

    2. The Explore
    First became aware of this place while sharing with by big Turkish biddy Sahin during my master’s year. He had this poster on the wall of this massive piece of rock that looked like a piece of gorgonzola cheese with all the holes on it. From that very moment I knew I had to go here. I’ve been to Cappadocia three times – in 1988, 1990 and 1996 – but not for a very long time. It is a tourist destination and there are a number of tourist attractions here, including the underground cities – including the one at Derinkuyu.

    However, get off the beaten track and there are numerous abandoned man-made caves you can explore. You could actually spend a week or so getting off the tourist trail here. Anyhow, a really unique place. If you find yourself in Turkey, this is an excellent place to head. You can even stay a few nights in a cave hotel then take the obligatory hot-air balloon ride to see either sunrise or sunset.

    3. The Pictures

    I guess this was the medieval equivalent of a block of flats:

    Turkey 8 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Many have been subject to collapsed, exposing their inner chambers:

    Turkey 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 64 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 155 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 235bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Not sure about the stair’s arrangement here:

    Turkey 260bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Not too sure how old these wall paintings are:

    Turkey 65 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Or these:

    Turkey 77 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Çavuşin in the district of Avanos in Nevşehir Province is particularly good for scrambling around former cave houses:

    Turkey 72 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    If you venture outside of Cavusin old town, some of the caves you stumble across were former rock churches and have fantastic Christian frescos painted on the ceilings:

    Turkey Scan 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    At points you can get really high up an enjoy spectacular views:

    Turkey 24 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 69 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 81 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This place, the Zelve valley, was particularly beautiful and a bit like another planet:

    Turkey 29 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 261bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Inside some of the cave dwellings:

    Turkey 220bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 251bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 233bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The Cappadocians were keen keepers of pigeons. Uchisar Valley is known as the valley of the dovecotes:

    Turkey 56 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 60 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 242bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Small dovecote on the valley floor:

    Turkey 224bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Çavuşin in the district of Avanos in Nevşehir Province is particularly good for scrambling around former cave houses:

    Turkey 72 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    In the Ihlara Valley the rock is slightly different and consists of harder rock, giving it a different, more rugged look. The valley apparently boasted more than four thousand dwellings and no less than a hundred cave churches decorated with frescoes. Around eighty thousand people once lived in Ihlara Valley.

    Turkey 49 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 51 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 52 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    It is hard to tire of the landscape here:

    Turkey 67 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Turkey 257bw by HughieDW, on Flickr
    Last edited by HughieD; 18th Jun 20 at 14:54.

  2. Thanks given by: cogito, dewdrop, etc100, Hugh Jorgan, jcnw27060, Mearing, Newage, theartist
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  4. #2
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    Now that's different. True, as you said that is a nice landscape. What a view from the front room.
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
  6. #3
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    wow mate that`s a cool looking place, you could mooch around there for hours.

    Cheers Newage
    The Newage Traveller gaining entry so you don`t have to.....

  7. Thanks given by: HughieD
  8. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newage View Post
    wow mate that`s a cool looking place, you could mooch around there for hours.

    Cheers Newage
    Even weeks...

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