After our wanderings through Swords and Rose Valleys on our second day in the Göreme area, we arrived in Çavuşin village. It was a lovely quiet village and had some amazing sites to visit. The ‘old’ village, now abandoned, was all carved into the hillside. I’m not really sure how old the settlement is, but it’s definitely been around for a long, long time. All the buildings and churches and homes of the village were within the hill and were probably connected internally via tunnels and such. As we wandered around the ruins and took in the amazing view of the plains and hills stretching all the way to the horizon, I could understand why people living here would want to burrow into the mountains. Basically, if you lived out here in a village in Cappadocia, you were on your own. If raiders or brigands or enemy armies or whatever arrived in the area, there was really no one to help you. It must have been a strange and precarious life, living in such isolation. So, these villages built into the rock must have been much more secure and difficult to attack or raid than if the people just lived in houses on the plain.
Now the insides of many of the buildings are now exposed due to hundreds and hundreds of years of weathering and erosion. The hillsides of these kind of hill towns and villages are covered in rubble and huge rocks and boulders, much of it formerly walls and various outer bits of the buildings. So, now from a distance you can gaze into a church or right into what was once someone’s cosy little cave home. Even homes carved into mountains don’t last forever.
I’m not really sure about many of the details of Çavuşin’s history. I don’t know when the hill village was abandoned, but there is also a ‘new’ Çavuşin on the ground level that seems to be doing rather well. It was a quiet place, with men sitting drinking tea at the tea shop near the mosque, women in traditional Turkish village clothes (but also many younger girls wearing jeans and T-shirts with very stylishly cut hair), and old houses with farm equipment here and there. Presumably most people who live here have some connection to farming. Anyway, it was a great place to explore, enjoy a cup of tea and breathe in the fresh air.