If you come to visit Turkey, I recommend that you visit a beautiful region located in the center of the country, named Cappadocia, it is full of impressive geological formations, and it is also a region of great historical-cultural importance, since, for instance, the first Christians found their home there, and carved many wonderful churches into the rocks.
THE ORIGIN OF CAPPADOCIA
The region was formed during the Alpine-Himalayan orogeny, when the Taurus Mountains formed 60 million years ago, running parallel to the Mediterranean Sea. This mountain range was filled with numerous ravines that ended up filled with magma after the eruption of different volcanoes located in the area.
Humans have inhabited this area since Neolithic times, highlighting the city of Catalhöyück, where probably the oldest landscape fresco in History has been found, and in which it is possible to appreciate a city with a smoking volcano in the background.
This spectacular place was inhabited by the Assyrians, the Hittites, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Christians, the Seljuks, and finally the Ottoman Turks. As you can imagine, it is an area of great cultural development with an incredible historical and artistic heritage.
To discover the charming spots of Cappadocia, I recommend you to spend at least two days in this place, although if you have more time you should stop for three days, this way you will not miss anything. I was only able to stay two days because I didn’t have more vacation time, but I’ve also enjoyed a lot and I’ve seen impressive places.
THE OPEN AIR MUSEUM OF GÖREME
The Göreme Open Air Museum houses a group of churches and chapels carved directly into the rocks. Inside it is possible to see wonderful frescoes that represent the images of the Virgin Theotokos (“the Mother of God”) who obtained this title during the Council of Ephesus in 431 (a wonderful ancient city to, where the house of the Virgin Mary is located). It is also possible to observe other images, such as Pantokrator (“Almighty God”) who appears with his right hand raised, blessing his faithful and in his left he carries a scroll that symbolizes the Holy Scriptures, and the images of Saints , such as St. Basil, St. Gregory or St. Gorge (“The Cappadocian Fathers”) who were born in this area. Unfortunately, I cannot show you the photos of the interiors, since inside the temples it is forbidden to take pictures. So, I believe you’ll have to go see it yourself.
The Pasabag Valley is home to the famous “fairy chimneys”, and numerous monks and hermits lived among its rocks, such as St. Simon. It is a rock formation with fantastic shapes in limestone, which is very close to the Open Air Museum.
At sunset, the best way to contemplate the wonderful landscape of Cappadocia is by going to a viewpoint. The most outstanding ones are located between the Valley of the Roses and the Red Valley, where you can also take a hiking route that lasts about two to three hours.
BALLOON RIDE AT DAWN
In Cappadocia there are different agencies that offer different prices for the balloon ride. The prices usually depend on various characteristics, such as whether or if it’s high or low season, the duration of the journey that goes from 1 to 3 hours, number of people who will travel with you in the balloon…etc. Surely you can find an option more tailored to your needs. If you go with an organized tour, it is usually prepared by your tour guides, although I think the price could go up in this case, since they include their tip.
To go in a balloon, I advise you to bundle up, even in summer, since you will go up very high, up to 800 meters and it will be very cold. It is better to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, since you will have to get on the balloon jumping a bit. The trip is really safe. I have a bit of vertigo, but I didn’t want to miss out on this experience, and it was great that I went, since I didn’t feel overwhelmed at heights. In fact, the basket of the balloon is quite high and gives a sense of security, and the journey is very smooth, even during landing. It is very important to follow the safety instructions, since otherwise your life could be at risk. If you do it right, everything will be fine.
A WALK IN A VILLAGE: ÜRGÜP
Since I have stayed here, I had the opportunity to take a short walk through this small town in Cappadocia. In it you can stroll through its central streets, full of small businesses that offer craft products from the area. You always have to negotiate the price, since it is usually very expensive at the beginning of the purchase, but eventually they lower it to cheaper and fairer prices for the customer and the seller. I hope then that you like haggling.
• To carry out the balloon ride, comfortable and warm clothing is necessary, even in summer. And I really recommend it, the experience is unique.
• If you can’t do the balloon ride in Cappadocia, you can do it in Pamukkale, the landscape there is equally impressive.
• You can reach Cappadocia by bus, it’s about 11 hours away from Istanbul, or by rented car or by plane. The last option is obviously the fastest.
• If you come on an organized tour or on your own by car, you can stop in Ankara to see the Monument of the founder of the Turkish Republic (1923), Ataturk.
5 thoughts on “CAPPADOCIA: BALLOON RIDE AND OTHER ADVENTURES”
Great article! Cappadocia sounds like an amazing destination with a rich cultural history, geological wonders, and lots of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. Thank you for sharing your experience and offering helpful tips.
Thank you for your comment. Yes, Cappadocia it’s a really interesting place to visit.
I just remembered these adorable hens that we found at the market. They are originally from Turkey, they are called the Sultan chicken and according to the Wikipedia, they have been mainly ornamental and have been kept in the gardens of the Ottoman sultanate.
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I had no idea, but they are adorable 🥰
I had no idea but they are adorable 🥰