Yesterday Richie and I returned from our few days away in Cappadocia (Kapadokya) in the centre of Turkey. It was perfectly relaxing and Cappadocia is such an interesting and unique place with that mixture of nature and history that I love so much.
Cappadocia is mentioned by Herodotus in The Histories way back in the 5th century BC, and the Cappadocians also appear in the Acts of the Apostles as one of the groups that heard the gospel in their own language on the first Pentecost. The region has been the home of Hittites, a satrapy of the Persians, part of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
We flew into Kayseri (in Roman times it was called Caesarea) and stayed in a village called Göreme. The village had such a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere that I instantly felt refreshed. Most of the first day was taken up by travel, and the sun sets so early these days, that we didn’t get to see too much, but we did to a bit of walking around the area nearest to Göreme and our pensiyon. The fresh air and brisk autumn temperatures felt so amazing. And it was just so quiet! Sometimes I forget what quiet is like, living in a place like Istanbul!
The geography of the area is absolutely amazing and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. There are beautiful and strange rock formations and unusual patterns of erosion that give Cappadocia its distinctive look. Millions of years ago, there were three huge volcanoes that continually spewed out ash over the whole region, gradually forming a soft sort of rock that is easily eroded by wind and water. The mix of other sedimentary rocks and this volcanic ash rock form the strange and surreal landscape of Cappadocia. One of the main features of the area are the so-called ‘fairy chimneys’. They are rocks that have gradually been worn away so that only these towers remain, with the softer white volcanic ash rock making up most of the ‘chimney’ and other harder rock layers on the top.
While we walked around exploring the fairy chimneys on our first evening in Göreme I was also very impressed by the silence and the stillness. The evening was absolutely beautiful and it was so quiet I almost felt like I had cotton stuffed in my ears, muffling all the sound. There wasn’t even any wind. And looking at the beautiful gold-leafed trees sheltered by the hills and fairy chimneys you could see that they must be completely protected by the wind due to the fact that all their leaves fell straight down and stayed exactly where they originally fell, creating a kind of yellow halo on the ground surrounding each tree. As the daylight faded, the mix of blue and lavender in the evening sky, the white and grey of the rocks rocks and bright yellow of the leaves created a really amazing effect. It was certainly a great start to the holiday.