Since the Stone Age, people have been creating shelter in the rock, and the area is now a virtual museum of rock-carved homes, churches, and even underground cities. Some of these cities are up to eight stories deep and housed up to 20,000 people. Once a Hittite stronghold (Cappadocia means “land of well-bred horses” in Hittite) the area was ignored by many of the subsequent conquerors. For many centuries it was the center of Christianity for the eastern Mediterranean, and there are over 1,000 churches, dating form the 9th to the 12th centuries, in the area. Most are cut from the soft tuff; yet many interiors contain the features of traditional Byzantine churches such as domes, barrel vaulted ceilings, and pillars that are strictly decorative. In some places the rock houses and “fairy chimneys” are still inhabited.
DAY 1 CAPPADOCIA
You will be met by your guide at Kayseri or Nevsehir airport and drive to your cave hotel where we are going to stay for two nights. From churches to houses, so many of the buildings in this historic region of Turkey are set into the rock – some so deep that whole cities have developed underground – that the landscape looks completely otherworldly. After checking in to our hotel we will visit one of the underground city of the region. During the 8th and 9th centuries, thousand people were lodged here and defended their refuge from eastern invaders by rolling immense boulders to block the entrance Our day might end with an optional walk down to a valley with its beautiful rock formations, cliff dwellings and village gardens. Tonight we will dine at the restaurant of our cave hotel and go out to watch a Whirling Dervish show in a 13th century Selcuk Caravanserai.
DAY 2 CAPPADOCIA
Our day starts with an optional early hot air balloon flight to see this area from a bird’s eye perspective. Your heart skips a beat the first time you see, how nature has shaped the colorful sandstone into thousands of spires, fins, pinnacles and mazes. After an hour flight you will be transferred back to our hotel for breakfast. Today we explore the natural citadel of Uchisar, at the center of a magnificent lunar landscape. We also explore the Goreme Open Air Museum to see the hidden churches and the monasteries, which have beautiful, haunting frescoes. We visit the town of Avanos, which is famous with its pottery and wine. We will return back to our cave hotel to enjoy the sun set from the terrace of our hotel. Tonight we will dine at a local restaurant.
DAY 3 CAPPADOCIA – ISTANBUL
Our final day will start with an other short hike to see more of this region. Today we will also visit a rug-weaving cooperative. Here we learn about all aspects of this traditional Turkish art and craft. After having our lunch we will transfer you to Kayseri airport for your flight back to Istanbul or any other destination you want to visit.
On request we can arrange your flight reservations.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THIS PRICE?
• Specialist leadership
• Entrance fees, admission to museums
• Transportation with an A/C vehicle
• Transfers from/to/ Kayseri airport to our Cave hotel
• 2 nights cave hotel accommodation
• 2 breakfast, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
• Whirling Dervish Show