Sunday 19th August (Goreme)
|A Cave Hotel Room|
|The Al Fresco Breakfast Room|
This morning, the hotel doesn't look so bad. I still don't have water to my sink, but arrives nice and hot to my shower.
Strange shower this one. There's no shower tray. It shares the same floor as the toilet, and drains away through a hole in the floor. It means that if you want to use the loo after showering, your feet get wet. (As does the book you're reading!) The hotel is one of many with some rooms built into the caves (although my room isn't).
I was picked up from the hotel at 9.30 and taken to the tour bus. We didn't stay on it very long, however, as the tour started with a "hike" through the countryside.
Three volcanoes are the cause of the rock formations here. Over the years they have spewed out ash of various densities, and weather erosion did the rest. It's thought that the Hittites started carving the caves 4000 years ago. The rocks are very soft, and are still being constantly eroded. The path therefore was quite slippery in places with a surface resembling a very course sand. Along the side of the path there were very low bushes, which on closer inspection turned out to be grapes. So obviously I grabbed a bunch and wandered along the path like some latter day Roman emperor.
We next visited Cavusin, a village where people were living in caves until the mid 1960s when they were forced to move out because of an earthquake.
During Byzantine times, chapels and monasteries were hollowed out of the rock. Sometimes, the decision was to build high instead, and "rock castles" were the result. Again, like Cavusin, those at Uchisar were lived in till the 1965 earthquake.
|Rock Castles at Uchisar|
|A Cave Cafe|
|The Cafe Owner. Born and Living in a Cave|
Lunch on this trip was superior to anything I've had so far on my travels. It was a huge "eat as much as you like" buffet. All authentically Turkish. Fantastic.
|A Fairy Chimney|
|A Cave Church|
|Cave Church Interior|
|A Camel-Shaped Formation|
|Formation seen on the back of the old 50 YTL Note|
After lunch it was on to Zelve to look at some fairy chimneys. Personally I don't think they were made by fairies at all, but by wind erosion, but I could be wrong. A visit here to one of the many cave churches.
The rest of the afternoon was spent looking at other rock formations, and then on to the Goreme Open Air Museum.
By the end of the second century, a large Christian community had formed in Cappadocia.. This complex was a combination of monastery and religious school for training Greek Orthodox priests. It was an active Orthodox centre till 1927 when the remaining inhabitants moved to Greece. There are 15 churches here, and they have been preserved as a national park.
|Goreme Open Air Museum|
|Cave Church interior|