Ortahisar has picturesque stone houses both old and new, narrow streets and lovely churches. Its most prominent structure is the castle of Ortahisar, a 86 m high natural rock formation which has been used both strategically in the Roman times as a castle and later for accommodation. Today it has been restored and the peak is sometimes accessible by climbing up a staircase. The castle offers a magnificent panorama over the fairy chimneys of Hallaç Dere valley and Mount. Erciyes. An underground passage links it to İshak Kale (also known as İsa Kale, the Castle of Christ), which rises at a distance of about 350 m. From the foot of the castle the town descends right into a deep ravine.
Mustafapasa, known as Sinasos where originally Turks and Greeks lived side by side, and the sound of church bells mingled with the call to prayer from the mosque. old stone Greek houses rich in decoratively carved symbols are not to be missed. It’s still possible to walk into some buildings which have the original paintings on the walls, and the town is home to the remains of the largest concentration of modern churches in the region. The Byzantine Greeks left the village during the exchange of populations agreed in the Treaty of Lausanne, and the incoming Turks took over their houses.
Keshlik Monastery, This monastery complex, situated in a paradise-like green valley, contains the Church of the Archangel, the Chapel of Saint Stephen, a huge dining area, living quarters and a pool of sacred water. The monks and their guests could hide from danger in a room secured by two mill-stone doors, and a secret passage and spy-hole next to this room would have allowed one of the senior members of the monastic order to secretly listen in on their conversations! The Church of the Archangel is one of the few cave churches to have been used by the local population into the twentieth century.
Taskinpasa, takes its name from the Turkish philosopher, Tashun, who taught in the now ruined local Medrese (Madrasa or Islamic High School). The Medrese building and the nearby mosque and tombs are some of the best examples of Seljuk architecture in the district. The village houses follow the traditional plan with stables on the ground floor to keep the upper rooms warm.
Sobessos, a newly discovered archaeological site, with excavations still underway, that once was a wealthy Roman-Byzantine city. We are all very excited as nothing so big has ever been found in this region before. The remains of a church, tombs, a bath and Roman mosaics have already been uncovered.
Soganli Valley, enter 10 different churches with reasonably well preserved wall paintings dating from the 10th to the 13th centuries. The locally made doll is the emblem of the village, but this symbol originated from a tragic event. A local woman lost her baby and, unable to cope emotionally, made a rag doll to take its place. Later on, the women of the village developed the art of making these dolls while their men were out on the mountains grazing their animals. A Soganli doll is a must for every doll collection.
Lunch in Soganli Valley, experience the different types of Turkish foods including the Sac Tava.
Derinkuyu Underground City, has all the usual amenities found in other underground complexes across Cappadocia, such as wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, and chapels. Unique to the Derinkuyu complex and located on the second floor is a spacious room with a barrel vaulted ceiling. It has been reported that this room was used as a religious school and the rooms to the left were studies. Between the third and fourth levels is a vertical staircase. This passage way leads to a cruciform church on the lowest level. The large 55 m ventilation shaft appears to have been used as a well. The shaft also provided water to both the villagers above and, if the outside world was not accessible, to those in hiding.
Pigeon Valley, thousands of pigeon houses carved into the rock. It is a surreal vision: an outrageously phallic landscape straight out of a Salvador Dali painting. The conical formations are the result of volcanic eruptions that took place millions of years ago. Eons of wind, rain and other forces of nature have eaten away at the volcanic rock creating tufa, a soft and malleable stone. Many of these cones, known as fairy chimneys, contain caves and labyrinths.
Onyx Demonstration, Cappadocia has the onyx mines where the highest quality onyx is found (brown-veined green onyx is the highest quality, followed by brown-veined beige). Local artisans are experts at making items of jewelry as well as beautiful vases, chess sets, and numerous other attractive artifacts and knick-knacks. Watch a demonstration of how this very hard and brittle stone is cut, shaped and polished, before seeing the many beautiful onyx products. Workshops often sell other traditional and precious items such as hand-beaten copperware, meerschaum pipes, and jewelry made with precious and semi-precious stones, silver, and 22 and 24 carat gold. Local specialties include Hittite-style jewelry and traditional Turkish woven silver bracelets. You will be amazed by the cheap prices!
Goreme Panaroma, The most magnificent landscape around Göreme has been formed from its solidified lava streams, its ash and tuff stone, all dating from Neocene period. It is criss-crossed by deep valleys formed by heavy erosion. This veritable lunar landscape distinguishes itself by its extensive geological formations. The highly typical morphological structures of Cappadocia are the result of thousands of years of continual erosion, which has shaped the tuff deposits into the strangest pyramids and cones.