Translated by PROMT-Online-Translator

Country: Turkey Location: Cappadocia
  Southeast of Ankara at Göreme
Rating: Rockhouses and underground cities. Very special!
Capadocia is world-famous for his weird tuff stone rocks. Between Göreme and Zelve the rocks were washed out so strongly by the weather that they form to single rock towers. Partially the rock towers exist of different rocks, so that it looks as if the rocks wore hats. In one of the rock towers there was even a church. The entrance was in the ground floor. About a stone stair like in the subterranean towns, it went only on a small balcony and from there again up into a comfortable small room on the 2nd floor. One must see the amusing scenery absolutely with his own eyes, because the unusual rock sculptures can impossibly be described with words. Capadocia has impressed us stronger than the pyramids in Egypt or Petra in Jordan.
Now with an interstop in Konya incl. small mosque sightseeing drove to Capadocia. In Capadocia the rocks exist are of tuff stone, so that the weather created weird forms. However, also the people used the soft rock. To protect itself from enemies they established no gigantic fortress layouts, but dug subterranean towns. We discovered the first subterranean town rather by chance. Presumably it is opened only in some time, because we were the only tourists and some construction workers were about to finish the outside works. The towns had been dug in several floors (up to 8 floors) in the earth. In peacetime the inhabitants lived in their surface houses. If they were attacked, nevertheless, they simply fled into the subterranean flats. Up to half a year they spent so underground. To survive was anything but a pleasure, but at least they survived.
Though the second subterranean town we attended was written out in the guidebook, however, it lay something off the beaten track. We met a young man, that offered us to lead us through the subterranean town. Either the lighting was defective which did not know our guide didn not khow how to turn on the light. Thus we went armed with 4 flashlights on a discovery tour. This town was even more imposing than the previous one. As gates served the gigantic stone slices which one could roll with the help of animals (donkey or cows) before the entrances. The different levels of the town were connected with shafts. To climb to the next level they had simply made small steps on the right and on the left in the rock. Very much to the joy of my parents and our guide we wanted to see of course also some other levels. An about 9 m high shaft was especially adventurous. One had to climb the first 2 metres only a normal ladder and then we had to get then from this into the "stone ladder" in the shaft. Although it was very dusty by the tuff stone everywhere, the air was very fresh in the subterranean town. Because the inhabitants disappeared during a attack with their whole cattle underground they presumably also had their own ventilation system. Unfortunately, our guide spoke except in Turkish only a few lumps in French, so that he could not explain everything we saw . After just 1 hour we crept again to the surface and said goodbye with a cup of tea.
It already became evening and looking for a place where to fill-up of our stores of water we discovered a sign of some churches. We followed the street and came after some kilometres to an old Byzantine's town situated in a canyon. Just as the owners of the subterranean towns had also dug their flats into the rocks. However, by the situation in the canyon they had windows and balconies. Just as their flats the Byzantines also had their churches in the rock.
The visit of the canyon-like valley of Ihlare formed the conclusion of our Capadocia trip. After a descent of more than 600 stairway steps we reached the bottom of the 16-km-long valley. To both sides of the just 100 m wide valley the cliff faces rose precipitously upwards. Also here many churches were hit in the cliff faces. After we had already visited 2 churches we wanted to have a look at one more lying about 1 km away. The creek led a little bit more water than usually, so that parts of the main way were buried. Thus we had to find our own path and finally reached the church. Nevertheless, in contrast to the other churches this was built from black volcano rock. Now the sky darkened and it already started to rain with big heavy drops, so that we hurried hastily in the direction of car. Nevertheless, we had luck and remained spared from the thunderstorm.



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