Fairy Chimneys and Underground Cities

Today was a full and wonderful day of sightseeing!

This morning in Cappadocia several folks got up at the crack of dawn to take a balloon ride over the landscape. This area is known for it’s incredible landscape for good reason.  Mary and I didn’t go for the balloon ride but we were able to see them from the window of our room.   

After breakfast we boarded our bus and headed for the Open Air Museum in the Goreme Valley. This area has amazing early Christian rock cut churches and monasteries. There were 30 churches, I think, cut out of the tuff (soft volcanic rock). You couldn’t take photos inside so you’ll have to take my word for it that there were frescoes and paintings in most of them. These ‘buildings’ are dated from the 9th century (800 AD) and UNESCO has declared the Goreme Valley a World Heritage Site.

This is a photo of the Kizlar Monastery. There were rooms for monks, a kitchen, all the necessities of life. Also, this wasn’t an enclave of men, but there were widowed women and children here as well. ‘It takes a village’.
 

We went into many of the rock buildings (think caves) that did not have frescos so you could take photos. and here are some of the interior photos.  Pretty amazing!

 The scenery around this site was spectacular as well.  Here is Mary in a decidedly other worldly landscape.

 It was difficult to decide what would make a good picture. Here Leroy, Mary and Eve are discussing the best composition of a photo. 

 Speaking of other worldly, maybe some of this looks familiar?  Well, the first Star Wars movie was shot in this area because of the landscape.
 

After Goreme we visited the Kaymakli Underground City. This was incredible!  This city, and it really was the size of a large city, was hollowed out of the volcanic rock and it went 7 to 9 floors beneath the earth!!  We went down three floors.

 The tunnel we took down and out was very very narrow and even I had to bend almost all the way over to get through. But once you got down there, the rooms were large. In fact, one room had a huge tub like basin carved into it. That’s where they stomped grapes to make wine.  The rock was even stained with grape juice.

 It was a maze of hallways, chambers, storehouses, kitchens and even churches. I took some photos but when I looked at them they were pretty much all black. There is very little light three stories underground.  Not for the claustrophobic or faint of heart!

Finally today, see I told you it was a long day, we went to a landscape spot to see the”fairy chimneys”.    
 
Aren’t they cool looking? 

I thought you might be interested in seeing some Turkish wildlife. I swear that I just came across this while walking around the fairy chimneys.  I laughed out loud.
  

What a great day of sites. Tomorrow we will be riding along the Silk Road through Konya to Antalya.

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