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The Colours of Turkey — Part II: Cappadocia

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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.

Fairy Chimneys

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.

In and around Cappadocia

Partially cave, partially stone houses

Cappadocia is also known for its scenic valley hikes, which I would have loved to go if not for the harsh winter weather and the little time I had. It would have been a truly humbling experience because who would have thought such arduous terrains were liveable? But in all of history, it has been proven time and again, the resilience and adaptability of man. I'm glad I got to learn a little bit about that in Cappadocia.

Look out for the final post from Part III of The Colours of Turkey series: The vibrant city of Istanbul.

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