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Kayseri

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Our Editorial team's advice

Kayseri, the capital of Cappadocia is best known for being the most visited city in the region.

Cappadocia, which means "land of beautiful horses", is almost surreal. Listed as a World Heritage Site since 1959, the region can be found east of central Turkey. Once inhabited by the Hittites around 2500 BC, the region has many amazing treasures that are surrounded by an enchanting tranquility.
The landscapes you will see here are one of a kind. One example is the famous fairy chimneys, scientifically known as monoliths. They are part of the mountain panorama of the historic site in Asia Minor. These monoliths are the result of land erosion; 100% natural, they are definitely is worth seeing.
Here you will find ancient cliff dwellings that are now protected. You can also visit one of the three hundred and eighty churches that are listed, some of them are even carved into the rocks. The Goreme Valley is the largest religious centre in the region, bringing together eleven churches, including Tokali Kilise, which is the biggest one of them dating from the 10th century. The wall decorations have been extremely well preserved.
Cappadocia also has underground cities such as Kaymaki, the second largest in the region, that have countless galleries dug into the volcanic tuff. To protect themselves from invaders, the inhabitants built an unbelievable city several metres underground.

The tour operator Transat Holidays proposes a discovery of the region with its "Magic of Cappadocia" tour. During this trip, two days are devoted to the discovery of the local attractions before heading to Istanbul. This itinerary not only allows you to discover beautiful landscapes but also gives you the chance to taste some of the local specialties in a cave dwelling with a folk dinner-show.

To see

The site of Goreme and its cave churches.
The whirling dervishes ceremony in Salua Kervansarayi. The men who belong to this Muslim Mevlevi order have this nickname because of their prayer dance. In these dances, they spin in circles in order to enter a state of trance.
The underground city of Kaymakli is one of the cities that is open to the public. There are around 200 of them in Cappadocia. They are built on several levels and the different rooms are organised around ventilation shafts so as to allow oxygen to reach the lower levels.

To do

A hot air balloon to see the landscapes of Cappadocia from the air.
Taste the wines at the Turasan Winery, which is the largest producer of wine in the region, with over 50 acres of vineyards.

pros

  • +  The preserved environment
  • +  The breathtaking landscapes
  • +  The short distances

cons

  • -  The number of tourists during high season

To think about

Even though Cappadocia is not near the beach, the sun is just as strong. Do not forget to put on sunscreen to avoid sunburns.
You should also think about carrying a light jacket in your bag because even if the weather is hot, once you are inside the churches and underground cities, it can be quite cool.

To avoid

Though there are many foreign exchange offices near the tourist areas and hotels, the exchange rate is always better at the airport. Therefore, it would be best to exchange your money before leaving the airport.
You should also avoid wearing uncomfortable shoes and ones with smooth soles, as they might prevent you from being able to comfortably discover the various attractions. The ground can sometimes be very slippery.

To try

Every meal is a real feast! Turkish food is quite simply delicious. Appetisers consist of different dishes: stuffed vegetables, berek, eggplant caviar, marinated sardines, and much more. When it comes to the main course, it is most often composed of meat rather than fish since the region is not near the sea. The grilled and marinated meats are excellent and are served with vegetables and bulgur. As for desert, you will not only find candied fruits but also baklava, for fans of honey-filled pastries!

To bring back

The souvenirs you will find in Cappadocia are identical to the ones you can find in other regions of Turkey. For example : silver jewelry, leather goods, local products, etc. As for the dried fruits and the local spices, they are delicious. If you want to bring home an old antique, be careful of its origins, as the possession of items that belongs to the country's heritage can result in imprisonment.

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