Cappadocia is a truly fabulous country, located in the heart of Turkey and is extremely similar to an oriental fairy tale. Here they live in caves, fly in hot-air balloons, climb cliffs and drink fine Cappodocian wine.
Cappadocia is a historical region in Asia Minor in Turkey, which was one of the provinces of Ancient Greece, Persia and Rome during antiquity, and has kept its authentic ancient name to this day.
The most interesting thing about Cappadocia is its landscape, originating from volcanic activity millions of years ago, the ancient underground cities, created in the first centuries AD, where there are equipped with caves, temples and monasteries of early Christianity.
Cappadocia is of great historical and cultural importance, which is why it is included in the famous UNESCO list. Today it is one of the most popular attractions in Turkey, extremely popular among tourists.
Map of Cappadocia in Turkey
Goreme neighborhood map in Cappadocia
History of Cappadocia
The history of this fabulous country is known to scholars since the fifth millennium BC. In the intervening period, Cappadocia alternately belonged to ancient Greece, Persia, Rome, the Ottoman Empire, and other smaller kingdoms.
Cappadocia is mentioned in the Bible. For a time these lands belonged to Great Armenia, which emerged in the 2nd century BC. A significant role in the history of Cappadocia was played by the Mithridates kings of the Pontic kingdom, which occupied Asia Minor, Taman and Tauris.
A few centuries after Rome and Byzantium, the Seljuks came to Asia Minor and brought Islam with them. Cappadocia was annexed to the Ottoman Empire and later became part of modern Turkey.
Geology of Cappadocia
The alien landscapes of this area are closely related to its peculiar geology, formed during the Cenozoic period, more than 60 million years ago. years ago. At this time, volcanoes were actively erupting, lavas were pouring out, and tuffs appeared.
In what was once a mountainous country in those days a plateau was formed with the tops of extinct volcanoes, streams of frozen lava and tuff, which were later eroded away. The continental climate caused the rocks to crack.
Local rivers over time also eroded rocks created by volcanic lava. Today only hills, stone pillars with refined necks, oddly shaped mushrooms and “penises” remain of them. The latter are unique to this area.
Choosing the season for a trip to Cappadocia
It should be said that the season in Cappadocia lasts all year round. There is always functioning transport, museums, you can visit the underground cities and temples, you can fly in hot-air balloons.
Therefore, a trip to Cappadocia is possible at any time of year. In the winter there are no huge crowds of tourists, in the spring in Cappadocia blooming flowers and trees are held festivals. In the fall, colorful balloons fly and a harvest of wine appears.
But most tourists are traditionally here in the summer. The underground caves are cool, so there is no exhausting heat, almost no rain. In summer, there are open swimming pools.
How to go to Cappadocia?
Today there are no direct flights from Russia to Cappadocia. You will definitely need to change planes in Istanbul, Ankara, or Izmir airport. Perhaps Istanbul is the most convenient way to get to Cappadocia.
Then you can fly to Kayseri, and from there go to the city of Goreme by bus. A bus ticket costs 15 Turkish liras, or $2.86. This is the most direct and shortest route from Russia to Cappadocia.
If you are already vacationing in Turkey, you can buy a tour and go to Cappadocia by shuttle or on your own by rented car or cab. But remember that distances in Turkey are not insignificant, and cabs and gasoline are expensive.
Where is the closest drive from?
When choosing a transport in Turkey, remember that this country has an excellent bus service. You can also go anywhere by train, but they go noticeably slower, although Turkey also has high-speed trains like the Sapsan.
Kayseri has a railway station, the only one in Cappadocia. You can get here by train from Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and the eastern part of Turkey. Planes do not fly at all in Cappadocia.
So, the best way to travel through Turkey to Cappadocia by bus can be found at: www.neredennereye.com.
- Istanbul – Göreme, the bus travels about 11 hours, the ticket costs 79 lira or $15.09;
- Ankara – Göreme, the bus travels about 4 hours, the ticket costs 45 lira or $8.6;
- Antalya – Goreme, the bus travels about 10 hours, the ticket costs 60 liras or $11.46;
- Izmir – Goreme, the bus travels about 11 hours, the ticket costs 60 liras or $11.46.
The cost of bus tickets varies with the season, but not categorically. You can book a ticket, but practice shows that there are always enough tickets. There is no difference in price between booking and buying a ticket on the spot.
If you have not bought a tour, you can travel within the city by public transport. There are the same city buses and shuttle buses as in Russia. Everything is much easier and more comfortable on the tour bus.
Many experts on Turkey do not like to buy tours, because. it turns into endless stops near stores with halva and baklava, leather jackets and fur coats, carpets and sweets with obsessive service.
How to get from Russia?
The easiest way is to take a plane from Moscow to Istanbul, there are no such flights from St. Petersburg, but those who are not looking for easy ways, can do it by car, and then bypass the Black Sea through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania or Bulgaria.
There is also a ferry to Sochi, but it is several hours faster through Georgia. Do not forget about the need for a visa to Romania and Bulgaria and the peculiarities of the current political relations with Georgia.
Where to stay in Cappadocia?
Many local hotels are located in caves. They usually have water and heating, but many hotels make do with ordinary oil heaters or air conditioners.
Types of accommodation for tourists – a lot. You can find a bed in a gesthouse for $5 or 25 lira a night, a double room with a bath costs 100 lira or $19.1, and a decent room for two costs from 150 lira or $28.65. Look for lodging options on Booking.com.
Once out of Gorem, you can find a lot of wonderful local natural attractions: cliffs, valleys, caves. The most interesting thing is the landscape, as if from another planet: craters, volcanoes. Cultural monuments – early Christian cities.
Ancient temples now operate only at Christmas and Easter, but they remained unique frescoes, and they dream to see the tourists and art historians from around the world. The Valley of Love is often visited by lovers, they celebrate weddings.
Tourists are necessarily invited to fly in hot-air balloons, costing from $100 per hour. Flying is done in the morning, when the wind is not very strong. If you don’t want to splurge, you can just watch the flights from the observation deck.
There are many beautifully preserved temples here. The Dark Church and the Temple of the Apples have frescoes from the 11th and 12th centuries. The Serpentine Church has frescoes depicting Emperor Constantine. Here are the best places in Cappadocia.
All this beauty is located in the national park near Goreme. Remember, you can’t see all the churches in a month; some of them are for a fee, while others are free. It is forbidden to take photos or make videos in temples.