Where to go, what to visit: Cappadocia
Cappdocia is located in the present day Nevşehir Province, of 800 square kilometers, which lies in the center of Turkey, in eastern Anatolia, bounded in the south by the chain of the Taurus Mountains, to the north by Pontus, to the east by the upper Euphrates and the Armenian Highland and to the west by Lycaonia and eastern Galatia. What makes Cappadocia so special is its natural wonders and unique geological features such as the fairy chimneys; it is a region included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The geological structures are the result of the eroding rains and winds of thousands of years and the continuous eruptions of the volcanic mountains Hasan, Melendiz and Erciyes which lasted over 2 million years, creating these bizarre mushroom, conic, capped and pinnacled shaped rocks.
The Cappadocia region is largely underlain by sedimentary rocks and ignimbrite deposits erupted from ancient volcanoes and formed in lakes and streams. The rocks of Cappadocia have been eroded into minaret-like forms and pillars and these soft rock structures allowed the villagers to carve their house, monasteries and churches in them. One famous site is the Göreme Open Air Museum, frequently visited by all the monastic communities in Cappadocia and including more than 30 rock-carved churches and chapels dating from the 9th to the 11th centuries, with intricate and amazing frescoes painted on their inner walls. The first period of settlement in Göreme goes back to the Roman period but today this region is used mostly for attracting tourists from all over the world. You can reach to this area: by bus, from Istanbul taking 12 hours and from Ankara, 5 hours; by train, Kayseri being one of the busiest railway routes or by plane, with daily flights from Istanbul and Izmir to Kayseri Airport. Other locations worth visiting are the eight stories underground tunnels in Özkonak, Mazıköy, Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı, Mustafapaşa, Ihlara Canyon, or the Old greek houses in Sinasos.
Some attractions are the hot air balloon tours, lasting almost 45 minutes, the increasingly popular hiking activities following the paths along the valleys such as the Pigeon Valley between Göreme and Uçhisar, with the Uçhisar Castle or the Rose Valley from Çavuşin and Kızılçukur or simply enjoy visiting the Cross Golf landscape.11