Today we are in Cappodocia (Kapakokya). A region named for it’s beautiful wild horses (none of which we saw). This region is geographically significant and it all started 30 million years ago with three erupting volcanoes. These volcanoes blanketed the region with ash and basalt. Over the years the very light and soft rock that formed from the ash, called tuff, was worn away but the hard basalt layer on top did not. The result of this is what the people of the region call “fairy chimneys”.
For the next two days Mustafa will be driving us around to all the sites of Cappadocia and we have a tour guide named Feray (fair-rye). She is exceptionally knowledgeable about all aspects of the region. Our first stop today was to an early settlement in the area. When the Hittites settled this region in the 4th century they determined that the towers were a gift from the Gods and that they would make lovely houses. The started carving out homes in the towers and planted vineyards and orchards. Some of these dwellings were inhabited as recently as 1957.
We also visited the Goreme Open Air Museum. It is home to 9th century rock-cut chapels and monasteries. Beautiful 11th century Byzantine frescoes in all of the churches.
After a brief lunch back at our hotel, we went to Avanos to a ceramics making shop. We received a demonstration on making pottery out of terra cotta clay and I got to participate in the demo and try my hand at throwing a pot .This first picture is of the skilled artisan who gave us the demonstration and made a very beautiful urn in about 3 mins. The second picture is the bowl that I made. I’m sure it will fetch a pretty penny.
We were shown a group of very talented women hand-painting all of the bisque wear in the back room and then we were taken to the gallery and store front and given an opportunity to get rid of some of our pesky money.
After a trek to the outskirts of town to see more fairy chimneys at Love Valley (or Clinton Valley, as our tour guide likes to call it, due to its phallic representations) we went to see a functioning village and some rock-cut houses that are being restored and renovated.
A rest and relaxation time at the hotel before an exciting evening of Turkish dinner and entertainment.
We left the hotel at 8:30pm for dinner and went to a place the I can only liken to being the “Medieval Times of Turkey” First I should mention, we had a 4 course meal. There were 8 kinds of starters similar to the kinds we have had on previous nights. We ate 3 kinds of meat and bulgur for the main course. We had wonderful desserts of melon and baklava. Lastly there was Turkish coffee or tea. As if all of this food wasn’t enough, there was entertainment during the whole thing. Story telling, traditional Turkish dancing, knife throwing, live music played on traditional instruments and belly dancing (Yes, Webb, I took lots of pictures). Serpil and our driver Mustafa indicated that these are very old dances and most of them were from Western Anatolia. It was beautiful to see the dances and costumes. The food was wonderful. A magical way to spend a night in Cappadocia.