November 15, 2011

Turkey : Cappadocia

Continuation from here ...

Done with the pool, we had lunch and visited some Onyx factory. Wonder what is Onyx? Yeah I've never heard of it too before my trip to Pamukkale. According to the worker who briefed us, Onyx is transparent or translucent material which has interesting pattern, formed by hot water springs waves in the underground. It is from the same family as marble. 

Too bad we weren't allowed to take pictures but this is one example of Onyx in case you wonder how it looks like.

We then went to the Tour office to get our bus ticket for the next destination, Cappadocia.  

But somehow they messed up the reservation and unable to provide us direct ticket from Pamukkale to Cappadocia. While they were working out the solutions, we went for a walk around Pamukkale town.

The walk brought us back to the lake in front of the beautiful travertine. We just lingered there, enjoying a drink while waiting for the sunset. 


After sunset, we walked back to the office and thank God, they had solutions already. We were put on a minibus to Denizli bus station, which is around 16km from Pamukkale. From Denizli, we rode an overnight bus to Goreme. Goreme is in Cappadocia area actually but all long distance buses into Cappadocia arrive at Nevsehir's bus station.

But unfortunately it wasn't a smooth ride. The bus stopped at a gas station for Subuh prayer, and after that the driver couldn't start the engine! After almost an hour, the bus was finally on the road again. Pheww... but but but... 15 minutes later, the bus broke down again. T_T 

So there we were, waiting by the road side in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, 15 minutes later another bus came and picked us up. We arrived in Goreme around 9.30am.

The bus operator helped to contact our tour guide. I think he came earlier but couldn't find us so he left. Turista representative then came 45 minutes later, and sent us to meet our tour guide. 

What an introduction huh? 

This time around, there were a few other travellers joining us. We started with Taskinpasa, which is a typical Cappadocian village. 


This is a Medresesi, an Ottoman theological school.

Next, we visited a Roman ruins of Sobesos which was recently excavated. 

It has a very nice ground mosaics.


Next, our destination was Soganli Valley which is about 55km far from Goreme. The area was formed by earthquake, and erosion of soils resulted in deep valleys and canyons. It was occupied since the Roman period during the early Christianity.

The rock cones found on the slopes of the valley were used as graves by the Romans, and the Byzantines later used them as churches.      

In addition to the churches, there are thousands of carved bird aviaries, caves and shelter along the valley. 

the paint on the caves' wall showed the early Christianity

dining place and the kitchen

The walk along the valley was almost 3km and it was quite a captivating scene. 

Continuing the tour, we were brought to visit Derinkuyu underground city.

There are so many underground cities in Cappadocia. This cities were largely used by early Christians as hiding places before they became an accepted religion. The exact number of cities is unknown but the biggest and deepest is Derinkuyu underground city that we visited. There are eight floors and extend at a depth of approximately 85m.

You might wonder how they lived their live down under, but the underground city at Derinkuyu has all the usual amenities such as wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, and chapels. And also, they have good ventilation system. Their air shaft’s are up to 30m deep.

However, the uniqueness of Derinkuyu underground city is a spacious room with a barrel vaulted ceiling which is located on the second floor. 

It has been reported that this room was used as a religious school and the rooms to the left were studies. Between the third and fourth levels is a vertical staircase. This passage way leads to a cruciform church on the lowest level.

Done exploring the underground city, we parted ways with the other travellers at the bus station. They would be heading back to Istanbul while we would stay overnight and continue our exploration of Cappadocia. 

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