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Places to visit in Cappadocia

Places to visit in Cappadocia

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Definitive guide: Places to visit in Cappadocia

Cappadocia is one of the main tourist destinations in Turkey. Located in a place with a stunning landscape, it draws attention to its rich history and archaeological culture.

Check our post highlighting place that you should visit:

The Cappadocia region is located in the Asian zone of Turkey, and the destination is highly sought due to its picturesque geological formations, balloon flights, underground cities, and wild horses.

How can you go to Capadocia?

Do you know the closest airports to Cappadocia? Kapadokya Airport (NAV) in Nevşehir is about 30km to city center and the other one is located in Kayseri, called Kayseri Airport (ASR) about 80km to Cappadocia.

Unlike what many people think, Cappadocia is not a city, but a region full of small towns and villages with a tourist structure to receive travelers. The largest city is Kayseri, but other important cities are Nevsehir, Aksaray, Nigde, Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, Ihlara, Goreme, Uçhisar, Urgup, and Avanos.

Do you know where the name of Cappadocia come from?

The earliest records (late 6th century BC) shows that the Old Persian name of Cappadocia is Haspaduya, which is derived from Iranian Huw-aspa-dahyu- “the land/country of beautiful horses”. The name Cappadocia means: “Land of beautiful horses”, and it is a region that has been inhabited for thousands of years by various civilizations, such as the Hittites and other peoples from Europe and Asia, and encompasses the cities of Göreme, Ürgüp, Nevsehir and Avanos. She became known to Alexandre the Great, although there was only interest in the region for its roads, where trade flowed.

Millions years ago, Erciyes, Hasan and Melendiz volcanoes erupted and flood waters and strong winds shaped current natural structures which are called now as fairyChimneys

The foundation of Göreme dates from this time, formerly Korama, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and currently the most important city in the region. The Göreme National Park is the most visited attraction because it houses the most famous picturesque formations in Cappadocia, where there are dozens of churches, natural sculptures, and rock sites.

Also, the Cappadocia region has several underground cities, the largest of which is Kayamakli. These cities were built primarily to protect Christians from invasion by enemies.

Residents stayed for weeks locked inside them. In the city of Kaymakli, it is estimated that 6 thousand people came to live together at the same time. There is a very clear division of the environments, with bedrooms, kitchens, food storage, churches, secret doors, connecting tunnels, and a complex ventilation system.

The abundance of rock formations in the region formed by erosion over the years has produced several natural caves, caves and depressions that have been used over time as houses, churches and even underground cities.

What to do in Cappadocia?

– Hot air Balloon ride

Hot air Balloon tours are an original and stimulating way to get to know the region. Trips generally take around 1 hour and 30 minutes and cost around €220 (euros). A shorter tour that takes on average 60 minutes, cost around €150 (euros).

– Goreme Open Air Museum

One of the main attractions in the region. The UNESCO World Heritage Göreme Open Air Museum, close to the center of Göreme, (1.5 km) on a hill, is dozens of monasteries, chapels, and churches from the Byzantine period, most of the century X, XI, and XII, carved in the rocks, with well-designed vaults, altars and columns, unique examples of the architecture carved into the rock and the fresco technique, with beautiful illustrations of the life of Christ on the ceilings and walls. The Göreme Open Air Museum is obviously the first sight to be visited in Cappadocia and settlement here started by the end of the 2nd century. It is popular with it’s cave churches such as Tokalı, Karanlık, Elmalı and Nunnery Monastery

Most of the frescoes are shaved with the eyes of the figures, due to the Iconoclast period. There are 11 cafeterias, with tables and benches carved into the rocks.

One of the most remarkable buildings of Göreme Open Air Museum is the Dark Church dating back to the 12th century. The frescoes are quite evident since the structure does not receive too much light.

Curiostiy!

Do you know that The Göreme National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. The time that the Göreme was first settled is unclear, but it could date back as the Hittite era, between 1800 and 1200 B.C.

Karanlık (Dark) Church is located in Goreme Open Air Museum and dated back to the end of 11c and the beginning of the 12c. The Church is taking a very small amount of light from a small window in the nartex part, therefore, the colors in the frescos are very lively.

Karanlık (Dark) Church is located in Goreme Open Air Museum and dated back to the end of 11c and the beginning of the 12c. The Church is taking a very small amount of light from a small window in the nartex part, therefore, the colors in the frescos are very lively.

Yılanlı (Snake) Church can be visited at Göreme Open Air Museum and dates back to 11th century and dedicated to St. Onuphoris. St. George and St. Theodore were pictured while fighting and defeating a dragon.

Ürgüp

Ürgüp is famous with it’s three black-capped fairy-chimney formations (also known as ‘the three beauties’). Overlooking the rolling countryside just outside of town, it’s a prime spot to capture a sunset photo

Avanos

If there is one thing comes to mind first when one says Avanos, is the clay ateliers. Quality clay derived from Kızılırmak, which is the longest river in Turkey with 1355km long flowing across Cappadocia, take shape in hands of pottery masters

Paşabağ Valley

Paşabağ Valley, also known as the Valley of the Priests, covers a very large area surrounded by mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys. Paşabağ is decorated with very interesting natural formations. Fairychimneys with several heads scattered in vineyards make the area a unique place to walk. Its unique scenery and mystical atmosphere of Paşabağ Valley makes everyone who steps into the fairy-tale land deep in thought.

 – Visiting underground cities

Cappadocia has unique landscapes, and the city also carries an incredible surprise: the underground cities. There are more than 100 cities, of which only 37 have already been opened. Underground Cities were excavated during Hittite times starting from 1650 BC and were used as hiding places during times of raids. The deepest of known 200 underground cities is in Derinkuyu, and the widest is the in Kaymakli

These underground cities declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985, were never used as permanent housing, they were inhabited for some time when Christians needed to hide from religious persecution. The best known are Derinkuyu and Kaymakli.

Derinkuyu, the largest underground city of Cappadocia, consists of 12 floors, more than 50 water wells and a natural ventilation system. Derinkuyu Underground City is one of the most attractive underground complex with its 85 m depth, 8 floors and 52 ventilation stacks. Almost 20 thousand people have lived in the city which has barn, church, missionary school, kitchen, storages, wells etc

Kaymaklı Underground City is one of the major underground cities of Cappadocia. It has sections such as warehouses, kitchens, cemeteries and still contains hidden underground tunnels. Kaymaklı Underground City is one of the biggest underground city with an anticipated capacity of 3500 people. You can visit only first four floor but there are lots of things to see, since this is the widest one.

  • Uçhisar Castle

Uçhisar Castle is known as the biggest and most salient fairy chimney of Cappadocia. You can watch Cappadocia from a bird’s eye view at Uçhisar Castle. Uchisar is situated at the highest point in Cappadocia and Uchisar Castle is about 179m high, The top of the Castle, provides a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area with Mount Erciyes in the distance

 – Valley of the Monks

The valley of the monks houses some of the most different fairy chimneys with different shapes, there you will have the opportunity to walk among the rocks and hills that surround the area.

Stroll through the chimneys to see the caves, most of them carved by men and some for religious purposes.

Keşlik Monastery

Keşlik Monastery was carved in the 6th century and used as a monastry during the 13th century. Arkhangelos Church has very different style paintings of Jesus’ life and Mother Mary and Stefanos Church was located on a separate rock mass

Curiosity!

If you want to see the gigantic masterpieces of Andrew Rogers, which can be seen on Google Earth, you must use the natural routes to climb the hills of the region. You will be witnessing history from a different perspective.

– Valley of love

The Valley of love is one of the valleys in the Cappadocia region. The place has this name because of its unmistakable geological formations that are the hallmark of the city, the Chimneys of Fairies.

Devrent valley

Devrent Valley has many different rock formations which are all natural and impeccable art of Mother Nature. Although there are variety of different shapes, the most outstanding one is the shape which looks like a sitting camel

Sobesos archeological zone

“Sobesos” is located in Şahinefendi Village and the rescue excavation started in 2002 by Directorate of Nevşehir Museum , and is still on going. The pieces found shows that the city hosted settlements from Neo Roman and Early Byzantine periods

– Çavusin village

Çavusin is a small village very close to Goreme, where the visitor can visit Turkey’s only mosque built in a cave. The building is one of the oldest in the region, dating from around the 5th century.

Çavuşin Village, built among large rocks, is home to a long history, dating back to the first century. You will step into a different world while visiting Çavuşin with it’s history of over a thousand years.

Cavuşin village is one of the earliest settlements in the region and quite dramatic with abandoned view. Several churches can be seen around Çavuşin village and the oldest one – St. John the Baptist is also located here

Ortahisar village

Ortahisar owns one of the three important rock castles (Başhisar, Ortahisar, Uçhisar) which was used for the protection of Nevşehir against Romans and Mongol invasions by Seljuks during 11-12th century.

  • Güvercinlik (Pigeon) Valley

The name comes from the various birdhouses that were carved in the caves. In the past, birds were a very important symbol for Christians, as birds provided the pigments that served as paint to paint ceramics and others, so to protect animals, houses were built throughout the valley.

Güvercinlik (Pigeon) Valley, an essential part of the list of must-see places in Cappadocia, is located between Uçhisar and Göreme.

Hacıbektaş’s Tomb

Hacıbektaş, one of the most visited areas of Nevşehir, deserves to be a favorite of tourists with its sculptures as well as its spiritual atmosphere. It has been nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Kızılçukur and Güllüdere

If you have time to walk through valleys in Cappadocia, Güllüdere and Kızılçukur valleys, located in Göreme, are the ones to choose and there are several cave churches to be visited.

Güzelyurt village

Güzelyurt is famous with its old Greek houses, churches, and historical sites. St. Gregorius Church, the first site in Monastery Valley, is also located here which dates back to 4th century

Kızılırmak

Kızılırmak River is the longest river in Turkey flowing for a total of about 1,350 kilometers and people who seek a high dose adventure, full of fast and exciting maneuvers with 180 degree turns should try Jet Boat at Kızılırmak.

Selime

Selime is perhaps one of the most interesting places in the history of Cappadocia carrying traces of Rome, Seljuk, Hittite, Persia, Asus, Byzantium and Ottoman periods. Christians openly began conducting first religious vocal ceremony here which was held in 3c.

Gümüşler Monastry

Gümüşler Monastry (located in Niğde) is a Byzantine monastery and church with massive columns and frescoes. These frescoes dating from the 10th and 11th centuries are among the best-preserved in the region.

Kervansaraylar

1- Saruhan Caravanserai

Sarıhan Caravanserai, built in 1249 during Seljuks period by Sultan Izzettin Keykavus II, supported the flow of commerce, information, and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa, and South-Eastern Europe.

2- Ağzıkarahan

The construction of Ağzıkarahan Caravanserai was started in 1231 in the period of Alaaddin Keykubat. Ağzıkarahan Caravanserai, with its magnificent structure having the motifs of the period, soon became one of the most important stopping places of trade caravans.

Güzelyurt village

Güzelyurt is famous with its old Greek houses, churches, and historical sites. St. Gregorius Church, the first site in Monastery Valley, is also located here which dates back to 4th century.

Narlıgöl

Narlıgöl (Acıgöl) crater lake is surrounded by mountains with 1365-meter-high located on the Aksaray-Niğde border and it is rich in calcium, sodium and bicarbonate which is good for various diseases. It also impresses visitors with its unique and romantic heart shape.

Açıksaray

Aciksaray (Open Palace), located in Gülşehir, is remarkable for its facades and the weird-looking formations, some resembling huge mushrooms, trees, even human faces, St. John Church, which dates back to 12c, also located here

Ihlara Valley

Ihlara Valley is located in Aksaray and from entrance till the bottom, there are 382 steps. The depth of the valley is 100m and the length is 14km through Selime village which makes it a perfect location for trekking activities together with 100 hidden cave churches

Other attractions to know in the Cappadocia region:

– Fairy Chimneys;

– Valley of the Monks (Pasabag);

–  The underground city of Kaymakli;

–  Derinkuyu underground city;

– Ilhara Valley;

– Zelve. In the Zelve Valley, you can see many ancient structures. You can come across monasteries, cave houses and churches made by human carving. Monasteries, churches, settlements, as well as tunnels and mills can be visited at Zelve Open Air Museum. Balıklı, Üzümlü and Geyikli Churches are dated before the Iconoclastic period (728-842) and there is also a chapel built in the name of Saint Simeon

Curiosity!

Nevşehir Simit is a famous local pastry made by using fermented chickpea yeast. With it’s oblong shape and distinctive smell, it differs from traditional ring shaped simits.

How to get in the region of Cappadocia?

From Istambul (Biggest city in Turkey), you can travel by plane, car, or bus to Cappadocia at one of the several companies that make the journey. The main airports in the region are at Nevşehir and Kayseri. From there you can take quick transfers to the most touristic cities.

Which is the best time of the year to visit Cappadocia?

The climate in Turkey has well-defined seasons. Summers are hot reaching 30 ° C in high season, from June to August and very cold in winter with an average of 5 ° C.

Devrent Valley,

Devrent Valley, surrounded by surreal fairy chimneys, is a must-see place for every tourist. The resemblance of the fairy chimneys to animals in Devrent Valley takes anyone who wants to go on a fantastic journey on a dream trip. Devrent Valley, surrounded by surreal fairy chimneys, is a must-see place for every tourist. The resemblance of the fairy chimneys to animals in Devrent Valley takes anyone who wants to go on a fantastic journey on a dream trip.

How can Guide in Turkey help me get to know Cappadocia?

If you are in Turkey, we can schedule these visits on a private tour. Also, we offer other packages to the main destinations in the country, transfers, accommodation, and much more.

Contact: +90 536 273 59 61

E-mail: info@guideserviceinturkey.com

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