Cappadocia - Turkey
Nowhere on earth is quite as moonlike as Cappadocia. The volcanic, peach coloured landscape is a surprising land of hidden treasures. Thousands of years of erosion have turned the mountainous region into a myriad of caves, pinnacles and “fairy chimneys”. These have been fantastically utilised by its residents, who have turned the volcanic land into a fascinating honeycombed network of caves and underground cities. These underground cities have to be seen to be believed, intricate dwellings with churches and living quarters that stretch down as far as eight stories into the soft stone. There are several high-rise churches in the region, such as the stunning Soganli, as well as Göreme, a town famous for its impressive Open Air Museum. What makes Cappadocia such a memorable place to visit is the opportunity to stay in a cave hotel and wake up to a sunrise over the incredible landscape. This can then be taken in fully with a hot air balloon ride, which are plentiful and give an unrivalled view over the wondrous location.
Where is it?
Cappadocia is located in Central Anatolia, close to the city of Kayseri in the centre of Turkey.
What is it?
The region is Turkey's most visually striking area, a lava-covered plain which is located between the volcanic mountains Erciyes, Melendiz and Hasan which produced it. The soft material left behind was used as a refuge site during the early days of Christianity, largely by Christians fleeing Roman prosecution. This is reflected in the huge number of churches and holy sites scattered amongst the many mountains and canyons.
Best time to visit?
April, May and June are the best times to visit Turkey in terms of temperature, as this avoids the scorching Turkish summer, particularly potent in the centre of the country.
Perhaps the most striking construction in Cappadocia is the stone-hewn Eski Gümüşler Monastery. Only recently rediscovered, the Monastery houses some of the most impressive and best preserved frescoes in the region, particularly the colourful Byzantine pillars in the main church.