Thursday, October 2, 2014

Exploring Gerome - Turkey

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Göreme, Zemi Valley and Uçhisar” by Arian Zwegers licensed under CC BY 2.0

Inhabiting an ethereal landscape of dust and crag, the tiny town of Göreme is an ideal base from which to explore Central Anatolia’s strange dominion of lunar landscapes and fairy chimneys. Because of the area’s popularity with tourists, there are plenty of opportunities for cheap holidays to Cappadocia making it the ideal place to jet away for an unplanned vacation. Accommodation can be cost-effective, ranging in price from modest guesthouses, to the newer crop of luxury cave hotels.

The main attraction of Cappadocia is easily its unique open air museum. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, the soft, volcanic rock has been hollowed out into a series of vaulted churches; the largest being the Tokali Kilise. While relatively unassuming on the outside, venturing within these masterful chambers reveals elaborate frescoes which date back to the 10th and 11th centuries.

The Underground Cities
Once sufficient homage has been paid to the museum, travellers should head for one of the area’s underground cities; Kaymakli and Derinkuyu are the most frequented. Of the 36 underground areas in the region, Kaymakli is the widest, channeling the earth into almost 100 tunnels; some of which are still in use today. Given the lack of explanatory signage, it’s best to opt for a guided tour to learn more about the purpose of each hollowed out space.

Göreme, Cappadocia (Kapadokya, Turkey) 1040” by Tiberio Frascari licensed under CC BY 2.0

The fairy chimneys and twisting rock formations for which the region is famed can, of course, be viewed on foot, but the better option, to get a true sense of this magical landscape, is to drift over it in a hot air balloon at sunrise. Indeed, the region is often cited on lists of the world’s top places to explore, due to this quirky mode of transport; tours are relatively cheap and easy to book in advance.

The Hammam’s
Back in Göreme town, head for the Hammam, otherwise known as Turkish bath’s, to wash off the dust and grime of a long day’s exploration. Once suitably scrubbed, don your glad rags and head out to one of the local restaurants where hectic Dervish dancing, dinner and wine are typical nocturnal entertainments.

Special thanks to Charlotte Evans for writing this fabulous guest post about a beautiful country which we cannot wait to visit someday.

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