Places to see in Cappadocia, Turkey


The Cappadocia region in Turkey, is a beautiful area where nature and human ingenuity meet. Rich with history, this region was once a Roman Province and many relics of the Roman occupation and later early Christianization remain. There are many sites there that provide an excellent taste of history, art & architecture, and geology.

Three places to start:

1. The Göreme Open-Air Museum is a must-see for the tourist in Turkey. Göreme, in the Nevşehir Province falls under the shadow of Mt Erciyes, which erupted 2,000 years ago and the settlement dates back to Roman times. The soft rock formed from the lava and ash in the Cappadocia region has been eroded leaving hard caps on the rock pillars. These have the appearance of fairy chimneys. The soft rock has been carved out to make houses and church buildings. In the 8th through early 9th centuries, art was minimal cross decoration but it evolved following that period so that many of colorful frescos in the sanctuaries are great examples of Byzantine art during the post-iconoclastic era starting in 842 CE. This area contains thirty church sites to visit and open air balloon rides are available.

2. Gulsehir- This happens to be one of the first settlements in Cappadocia and there is a kulliye with 30 homes and a mosque, fountain, and madrassa. This town dates back to the Hittites who called it “Zoropassos.” There is an artificial cave which contains ancient pottery. Nearby is the “Open Palace” or Aciksaray which is a cave-village. It features dwellings and chapels cut into the rock there and strange formations that appear to be trees, giant mushrooms, or even faces. The settlement dates back to the tenth century. Eight complexes sit around courtyards with three sides and decorated facades. Upon entering Gulsehir one will come across the St. Jean Church, built in 1212. It contains a church, graves, and wine cellar and the walls are covered with early gothic murals of biblical scenes, and geometrical and floral patterns. It is notable for scenes of the Last Judgment, a rarity in Cappadocian art.

3. Zelve Monastery- 10 kilometers from Göreme, this is the part of UNESCO World Heritage Site (Churches of Göreme). The complex has many passageways and rooms tunneled in the rock. It is an arresting site in the hills, taking in three valleys, and connecting two by tunnel. Zelve is also notable for being an early place where Muslims and Christians resided peacefully together up to 1924. The ghost town of Old Zelve is a popular destination for rock climbers, and visitors will need a couple of hours to hike around the architecture. The art there includes early Christian symbology including the fish, the deer and the cross. An ancient Mosque with a rock-cut minaret sets near the Church with the Deer (Geyikli Kilise).

The things you will want to plan to do in Cappadocia include: horseback riding, hiking the awesome valleys, renting a motorcycle or four wheeler, mountain biking, taking guided tours, skiing and visiting a volcano. Scooters are also available for renting, to see the region. To start planning a trip there you will want the visit this website for turkish visa online, to get your visa easily.

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