Turkey is an incredible place to visit, full of tradition and culture. It’s a perfect bridge between Europe and Asia, having Istanbul close to European beauty, and exotic markets, and undiscovered beauty much closer to Asian backgrounds!
From 1978 to nowadays, Turkey has conflicted with the closest power territory Iraq and Iran. There has been an ongoing civil war in the south-east of the country, the reason why is not the safest part of the country to visit. The conflict is in constant update, so before you decide to travel in that area please check the new updates.
When to travel in Turkey.
It depends on which part you would like to visit. Usually, the high season is from June to August, where the temperatures are high, and so the hotel’s prices! But it’s best for visiting all the beach cities along the coast. May and September are the mid-seasons, daily temperatures on average are 24-26 C°, perfect if you plan to visit some cities. October to April is the lowest season, some hotels are closed or giving really good discounts.
The heart of Turkey: Kapadokya.
You probably know Kapadokya, or Cappadocia, for the air balloon experience, and initially, me too but I discovered there is much more. I went in November and the weather was quite warm to visit a city like Istanbul, around 20/22 C°, but if you are planning to do the air balloon experience I discovered it’s not the best month, as the air balloon flies early in the morning, and if it’s windy, it’s dangerous, so they will eventually decide not to fly. For the whole week that I’ve been there hoping every day to go, unfortunately, there was nothing to do, but the good thing is that I discovered much more about the area than I could imagine!
Kapadokya area was born 60 million years ago from the erosion of soft layers of lava and ash of Mount Erciyes (Argeus), Mount Hasan, and Mount Güll that gives the area an amazing and inspiring background. As there is a lot to see, I will recommend at least 4 days, take one of the beautiful Cave Hotel in Göreme, the experience is so great! I used a guide company to see the whole area, I paid around 40 euro and the tour included 3 days of excursions (if you think about it, it’s nothing right?).
Esentepe Panoramic View Point
This was one of the most touristy spots we came across, there are only the viewpoint and one big shop with souvenirs (classic!). This spot is located between Uçhisar and Goreme, easy to reach by car.
Derinkuyu Underground city
This is one of the highlight of this post, Derinkuyu Underground city it’s a cave underground 85 meters deep. Before you go in, if you are claustrophobic or you suffer from panic attacks it’s best to skip this part of the tour. There are more than 36 underground cities around the Kapadokya area, but this is the biggest one and better organized. We are talking about cities built in the 8th or 7th centuries BC. During times of invasion, the citizens used these caves as a proper city, in fact, inside there are a series of tunnels that brings you to different rooms. Everything has a ventilation system that provides air in all the underground city, it’s so interesting!
Most of the rooms were used for chapels, schools, storage, room for alive animals, water tanks, and also a better-ventilated area where any dead body along that time, could be placed in this space, and then bring it out once any invasion was over.
Ihlara Valley is a canyon of approximately 100 m deep and was formed by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago. We did a beautiful hike for about 3 kilometers. We had the pleasure to stop and drink an amazing tea on the river. It’s located between Ihlara village and Selime village, about 14 km long.
Belisirma village is located in the middle of the trekking path on the Ihlara Valley, we had an amazing local lunch, and we enjoyed the rest of the view.
Selime Monastery is dated back to the 8th or 9th century BC, and it’s the largest religious construction in Kapadokya. The monastery includes a cathedral divided into three sections by big columns, monks’ quarters, a large kitchen, and even a stable for mules. Rudimentary drawings are still visible inside, unfortunately, due to weathering the color is not visible.
The name of the valley comes from Pigeons, as they have been used in the Cappadocia region for food and fertilizer for their particular soil. The background is still incredible!
It is a factory of ceramics and jewelry. As with any other store, the final step is to let you buy something, so don’t let your mind get blown! In this video, you can see the original stand they use to produce ceramics, and how it’s molded. Also, there is me trying to make one pot, clearly, not a job for me!
Besides all the places to see, the city of Goreme it’s pretty, walking down the streets it’s full of amazing shops way cheaper than Instabul. Every kind of souvenirs from the “blue eye” symbol, (or Nazar Boncugu in Turkish) to carpets and beautiful ceramics, all handmade. Also a lot of cafes and restaurants with local cuisine and amazing views.
I hope you enjoyed this small guide around the beautiful history of Kapadokya. I would like to hear your comments and your experiences, Leave a message!