Turkey's fascinating semi-arid region
Cappadocia is a historic region in central Turkey, bordered by the cities of Kayseri in the north and Aksaray in the south. This region, whose name literally means 'the land of beautiful horses', is a world in itself. Inhabited by the Hittites 2,500 years B.C., it contains magnificent treasures surrounded by an enchanting tranquillity. It is characterised by cave cities and picturesque landscapes. Among them are the unmissable Fairy Chimneys - large rock formations shaped like chimneys that fascinate tourists and geologists alike.
Cappadocia has a rich ancient history, having been successively part of the Persian Empire under Darius, an imperial province during the Roman Empire, the Arab Caliphate under the Abbasids and finally the centre of the Ottoman Empire. These periods brought to Cappadocia a multitude of Byzantine rock-cut monasteries, frescoed churches and monasteries. These religious buildings (more than 380 are listed) are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. This makes Cappadocia a region full of anecdotes, where the splendour of the remains has endured over time and continues to delight tourists.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in the area is the underground city of Derinkuyu. Built around 1400 BC. JC to protect itself from the invasions that were shaking the region, this city is the largest subterranean city in Turkey. Of the 20 levels in the city, visitors can explore the first 8 for an unforgettable experience. About 10 kilometres north of Derinkuyu, the town of Kaymakli also has an underground section with 4 levels open to the public. These two tourist attractions are among the hundreds of listed underground cities in Turkey.
If you're looking for unusual and out-of-the-ordinary locations, Uçhisar is the place to be. This village is known all over the world because it is built on a mountain that culminates in Kale, a rock visible from several kilometres away, at a height of 130 metres. This fortress contains a multitude of churches, monasteries, common rooms and galleries stretching for tens of kilometres. Uçhisar served as a refuge for thousands of people fleeing the invasions.
Finally, the Göreme National Park is a veritable sanctuary carved into the rock, not to be missed. An impressive testimony to Byzantine art, it contains thousands of ancient cave dwellings. A landscape from another age, frozen in time. A few kilometres away is the Devrent Valley, one of the most beautiful and fascinating in the region. The erosion caused by the climate has given the rocks special shapes. Tourists can see the famous Devrent camel, naturally carved into the rock. Depending on our imagination, figures can appear...
But discovering this amazing region of Turkey is also about its culture and gastronomy. Take advantage of your stay to attend a Whirling Dervish dance performance, a traditional Turkish art form. As for the cuisine, let yourself be tempted by one of the region's culinary specialities. Whether it is testi kebab, Çebiç, meat loaf or beans in a pot, one thing is certain: you will enjoy yourself in Cappadocia!
How to get there?
Cappadocia's main airport is in the city of Kayseri. Unfortunately, there are currently no direct flights from the UK. To get to Cappadocia from UK, you will therefore have to fly via another city in Turkey, such as Istanbul or Izmir; take the opportunity to spend a few days in these charming cities.
✈️ Flight to KayseriYour flight to Kayseri
Where to stay?
Cappadocia is one of Turkey's most touristy regions, so you will have no trouble finding accommodation in the major towns and around the main attractions. For a breathtaking view of the fairy chimneys, a characteristic landscape of the region, stay on the side of Göreme and the Valley of Love.
As a UK citizen, you will need a valid passport to travel to Turkey.
The official language, which is spoken by the entire population, is Turkish. Kurdish, Armenian and Greek are also spoken in some places. English is also widely spoken in tourist areas.
Currency & Cash
The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (LT). 100 LT = approx. £4.40.
You can change your currencies on the spot in exchange offices, banks and hotels. However, the exchange rate is always better at the airport; so it is best to change your money there at the start of your trip.
If necessary, ATMs are present in major cities. All international credit cards are accepted. Note that some merchants accept euros, especially in tourist areas.
Trains are very slow throughout the country. A national driving licence is sufficient to hire a car in major cities or tourist areas. Turks drive in a "special" way: be careful and very alert. For short journeys you can take a taxi, which is very cheap.
Travel to Cappadocia requires up-to-date diphtheria-tetanus-poliomyelitis vaccination. It is also advisable to be vaccinated against typhoid and hepatitis A and B. In general, avoid drinking tap water and stay away from stray animals, which can carry diseases.
Several emergency numbers are available 24 hours a day throughout Turkey. Here are the numbers to remember when travelling: Ambulance 112; City Police 155; Rural Police156: Fire brigade 110.
It's hard to come back from a trip to Cappadocia without a few souvenirs! Be careful when shopping: many shops offer counterfeit branded goods. If the prices are more than attractive, the bill could be high if you are unlucky enough to be searched by customs officials on your return... On the other hand, if you want to bring back an antique, make sure it is authentic: possession of a national treasure is punishable by imprisonment.
Cappadocia may not be by the sea, but the sun is still quite strong. If you have sensitive skin, remember to protect yourself from sunburn. Also remember to bring a jumper or waistcoat, as even when it is hot outside, the interior of the churches and underground cities are still quite cool.
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