photo by ruru

Cappadocia’s cave dwellings are unique and eery at the same time. Located in central Turkey, they were formed after years of volcanic activity from the Erciyesdagi volcano and subsequent weathering (the volcano is now extinct). The landscape surrounding Cappadocia has been moulded into a formation of obscure towers and pointed mushrooms of volcanic rock. In fact, since 2000 B.C. locals have carved residential dwellings into the rock and formed a complex underground city of caves called Derinkuyu.

The city of Derinkuyu spans 11 levels with 10% of the entire complex open to the public. Tours of Cappadocia and the Derinkuyu cave network are widely available but those visitors of a claustrophobic nature should be warned that these caves weren’t built for giants.

Cappadocia is an area in Central Anatolia in Turkey best known for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved in the rocks.


The Cappadocian Region located in the center of the Anatolian Peninsula, with its valley, canyon, hills and unusual rock formation created as a result of the eroding rains and winds of thousands of years of the level, lava-covered plain located between the volcanic mountains Erciyes, Melendiz and Hasan as well as its troglodyte dwellings carved out of the rock and cities dug out into underground, presents an otherworldly appearance. The eruptions of these mountains which were active volcanoes in geological times lasted until 2 million years ago. A soft tuff layer was formed, 150 m in thickness, by the issuing lavas in the valley surrounded by mountains. The rivers, flood water running down the hillsides of valleys and strong winds eroded the geological formations consisting of tuff on the plateau formed with tuff layers, thus creating bizarre shapes called fairy Chimneys. These take on the names of mushroom shaped, pinnacled, capped and conic shaped formations. The prehistoric settlements of the area are Koskhoyuk (Kosk Mound) in Nigde, Aksaray Asikli Mound, Nevsehir Civelek cave and, in the southeast, Kultepe, Kanis and Alisar in the environs of Kayseri. This area with unusual topographic characteristics was regarded as sacred and called, in the Scythian/khatti language, as "Khepatukha" meaning "the Country of the People of the Chief God Hepat" The tablets called Cappadocian Tablets and the Hittite works of art in Alisar are of the important remains dating from 2000s B.C. After 1200s B.C., the Tabal principality, of the Khatti Branches of Scythians, became strong and founded the Kingdom of Tabal. Following the Late Hittite and Persian aras, the Cappadocian Kingdom was established in 332 B.C. During the Roman era the area served as a shelter for the early escaping Christians. There are also several underground cities used by early Christians as hideouts in Cappadocia.


  • Avanos— pottery town

  • Göreme— fairy chimneys in the rock city

  • Nevsehir— capital of the region

  • Ortahisar— with its rock castle

  • Uçhisar— with its rock castle

  • Ürgüp

Getting there

By bus

Most of the bus companies have bus services to Nevsehir and Göreme. By bus; Istanbul-12 hours, Ankara-5 hours, Bursa-11 hours, Izmir-12 hours, Konya -4 hours

By plane

Kayseri, one of the comparatively big cities in Turkey, is an hour drive from Göreme. There are daily flights to Kayseri Airport from Izmir and Istanbul.

By train

Kayseri is on a busy railway route. It is possible to find suitable trains to Kayseri from almost all the train stations of Turkey. From Kayseri, you can take bus to go to Göreme.


  • Underground cities, Up to 8 stories of underground tunnels and caves in Kaymaklı, Derinkuyu, Özkonak or Mazıköy

  • Old greek houses in Sinasos

  • Göreme Open Air Museum

  • Zelve

  • Çavuşin

  • Mustafapaşa

  • Ihlara Canyon

Things to do

  • Hiking - Following the paths along the valleys is an amazing (and free) option. Check with your hotel owner or the tourist office for a map of the area with suggested walks and trails. There are several nice loops on packed dirt, sand and rock, that maintain a constant elevation and pass through the scenic valleys.

    • Güvercinlik (Pigeon) Valley - You can hike the Pigeon Valley between Göreme and Uçhisar. The 4km trail starts from the road near the Ataman Hotel on the south side of Göreme or on the paved road on the north side of the hill where Uçhisar Castle sits in Uçhisar. Both trailheads are signed. Stick to the more traveled trails and you will have no trouble finding your way on this moderately hilly hike. The path through the valley offers spectacular views of the natural cliffs and the man-made caves and passes through a few tunnels carved into the rock.
  • Rose Valley, From Çavuşin and Kızılçukur, Beautiful green valley

  • Hot Air Balloon Tours : are one of the most popular activities in Goreme. Typically lifting off at sunrise, these rides last around 45 minutes and literally go wherever the wind may blow in the Cappadocia Valley. The balloon carriages hold around ten people with the pilot riding air currents much like a boat, floating down the valleys, often below the ridge line and quite close to the chimney rocks. It's a fantastic ride and if you've ever had the urge to splurge on a balloon ride, this would be the place to do it.

  • Cross Golf , Cappadocia is a national park and its natural environment must be protected for everyone to enjoy today and in the future.Cross Golf uses the natural features of the landscape to challenge even the most experienced golfer. The fairy chimneys, fascinating rock formations and flora and fauna in the unique environment of Cappadocia remain unaffected by Cross Golf.



  • Dry apricots and grapes

  • Mantı (kind of ravioli with minced meat served with yoghurt and garlic sauce)

  • Testi Kebap (jug kebap)

  • Pastirmali kuru fasulye (white beans with spiced meat)

  • Local wines - Cappadocia is one of the biggest wine-producing regions in Turkey, and many wineries thoroughout the region's towns offer winetasting options.

  • sweets


  • Grape Church, , near Uzumlu Church in Kizil Vadi=Red Valley, Excellent local cuisine and inspiring amosphere. Run by Ibrahim Sakinan. Has a few rooms to sleep.


  • Maisons de Cappadoce , , Belediye Meydani #6, BP 28, Uçhisar Nevsehir,, This luxury resort hotel in Cappadocia nestles its 17 rental houses on the crumbling flanks of Uçhisar, a cone-shaped citadel. Brainchild of French architect Jacques Avizou, it's a model of how local housing should be restored.


  • Rose Mansions, in Mustafapasa, once called Sinasos, consists of two old Greek houses built in the mid 1900s

  • Yunak Evleri, consists of six cave houses with a total of 27 private cave rooms dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries.

Contact & location

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ruru, Eloquent Light, Julian Fong, Desmond Kavanagh, Jimmy Baikovicius, Hermés,, Riccardo Cornaglia, Emre Ersahin

Some photos courtesy of: . The photos provided by Flickr are under the copyright of their owners.

This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

jan, Denis Yurkin, Stefan Ertmann, Niels Elgaard Larsen, Cappadocia Balloon Tours, Eric Anderson, David, Murat, Colin Jensen, Nick Roux, Matt Chisholm, cave, aydin, onur kocatas, Cuneyt, ruzgar, Ricardo and Daniel Cowan, Vidimian, Burmesedays, Huttite, Tatata, Tatatabot, Episteme, Morph, Xgu, WindHorse, InterLangBot and Wojsyl

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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