It was winter and the cold was biting. When I arrived, the temperature had plummeted to zero. But something else distracted me from the freezing weather. I have never seen a natural landscape more astounding than Cappadocia.
The rock valleys are simply bizarre. They are formed over millions of years through the erosion of soft rock. As there is a lack of greenery in this part of Turkey, the rocky brown landscape together with the strong howling winds make for a very lonely and mystical scene.
The eruption of volcanoes in the area millions of years ago resulted in hard, volcanic ash to settle over the soft rock. Over time, erosion turned the rocks into these fairy chimneys, which happen to look pretty phallic.
Homes out of rocks
The Goreme Open Air Museum is the first open air museum I've ever encountered. And no wonder it was, as people in the past carved out their homes, churches and monasteries in the rocks. Yes. IN the rocks.
A church from the 4th-15th Century
The drawings and colours in these churches are made of natural dye, i.e. from plants and other rock. Mind you, these were drawn thousands of years ago. Yet, they remain intact. I was completely floored. Before becoming predominantly Muslim, the main religion in the area was Christianity, which explains the churches and monasteries.
History aside, the landscape and all of its natural beauty is best appreciated on a thrilling hot air balloon ride.
Partially cave, partially stone houses