Day 1 : Cappadocia
In the early morning, transfer to the airport of Istanbul and flight to Cappadocia. Upon arrival meet with your driver who will drive you to the tour coach.
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevsehir Province, in Turkey. In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine (Black Sea). The name was traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history and is still widely used as an international tourism concept to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage. Program of the day: Excursion to “Goreme” Goreme Open Air Museum : Goreme was known, in the ancient times as Korama. The first references to it are in the early 7th Acts of St.Hieron, a 3rd C. saint, a native of Matianoi, or the modern Maccan. Goreme is an amphitheatre surrounded by steep cliffs leading to a pleasant, verdant valley, which puzzles every single visitor, by the interesting access to the many caves. The place we refer as the Goreme Open Air Museum is located in a small part of the whole valley and right next door to the modern village of Goreme. It is famous for its monastic complex of rock churches and chapel covered with frescoes.
Zelve Valley: Fairy chimneys with multiple stems and caps are the attraction of this area. A chapel dedicated to St. Simeon and a hermit’s shelter built into a fairy chimney with three heads is one of the highlights of the valley.
Devrent Valley: Devrent is one km. from Zelve Valley. The ruins at Devrent are spread over three valleys, which also house several pointed fairy chimneys with large stems.
Cavusin Village: One of the oldest settlements in the area, Cavusin is 2 km. from Goreme, on the Goreme-Avanos road. The Church of St.John the Baptist offers a panoramic view of the village. This church and its paintings date back to the 5th century, making it the oldest church in the region. Avanos: A center of terra cotta work of art since 3000 BC. You will be invited to visit a traditional pottery workshop, which is possibly set deep into the hillsides. The clay, which comes from the Red River (Kizilirmak, the longest stream of Turkey) passing through the town gives life both to the land and to the local economy.
Ortahisar Village: Ortahisar is dominated by a fortress-like rock rising above winding roads. The present-day town is located at the foot of the “fortress” and a complicated network of paths leads to abandoned rock dwellings. In addition to cultivating the land, the inhabitants of Ortahisar earn their living by storing fruits yearlong in the caves cut from the volcanic rock. From the summit of the fortress which is accessible by stairs, one can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the surrounding area.
In the village directly below the fortress are dozens of tuff cones hollowed out as rooms. Many of these are still in use.
Day 2 : Cappadocia
Early birds may want to enjoy a warm air balloon ride before continuing with the program: Enjoy a unique Sunrise balloon ride and view the lunar landscape of Cappadocia. Balloon, though agreed for up to 20 passengers, are rarely taking off with more than 12 persons. Return to your hotel for breakfast before joining a group tour. Program of the day: Excursion to “Kaymakli” Kaymakli: Kaymakli Underground City: Kaymakli is one of the largest underground cities in Cappadocia with eight stories. It covers an area of approximately 4 km2 /1.5SM. Visitors can see only about 10% of the city by going down a maximum of five floors. The population of Kaymakli is thought to have been about 3000.
Pigeon Valley: Here you will see where the Pigeons and learn how they were used to help the people : sending messages, fertilizing the grapes... Also you will enjoy a wonderful panoramic view.
Uchisar Rock Castle: Uchisar is the name of the fortress and the town where it is located (“Uc” is tip, “hisar” is fortress in Turkish). This 60 mt. high (200ft) fortress was not built but carved out of a natural hill dominating the area with a breathtaking view of all the surrounding Cappadocia formations.
Esentepe Panorama: This is the best panoramic viewpoint from which to contemplate the view of Goreme Village; fairy chimneys, rock formations and cave houses.
Rose Valley: This isolated valley behind Urgup has beautiful rock formations with some great hidden rock-carved churches. The most interesting part of this area are the countless tracks connecting the small villages and towns through vineyards and gardens like a spider web. It is always possible to see villagers working in the area and offering grapes, apples or apricots to you.
Day 3 : Cappadocia
Program of the day: Excursion to “Ihlara” Ihlara : Ihlara Canyon: Near Mount Hasan (one of the three volcanoes of Cappadocia) is a canyon with a depth of approximately 100 m carved by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago. It begins at Ihlara Village and ends at the village Selime after making 26 bends along 14 kilometers. It is believed that the valley housed more than four thousand dwellings and a hundred churches. It is estimated that arround eighty thousand people once lived here.
It is very pleasant to walk through the Ihlara Valley by the vineyards, poplars and pistachio trees to the shooting sound of the rushing water and sorrounded by a rich wildlife of lizards, frogs, butterflies, birds and sometimes eagles and some mammals like lambs and sheep.
The churches in the Valley can be divided into two groups; The Ihlara group including the Agacalti, Purenli Seki, Kokar, Egritas and Yilanli churches that reflect Oriental influences, and the Belisirma group, comprising the Sumbullu church and others with Byzantine characteristics.
The churches of the Ihlara group display scenes dissimilar to the scenes depicted in other Cappadocian churches. In fact, they are reminiscent of the early churches of Syria and the Coptic churches of Egypt. The texts in Ihlara group churches are unusually long. In this group special emphasis was laid upon Satan and women as the source of evil.
Selime Monastery: ancient monastic site and several rock hewn churches.
Belisirma Village: We enjoy a 4 km. hike through the Ihlara Valley to arrive in the Belisirma Village.
Derinkuyu Underground City: Derinkuyu is one of the largest underground cities in Cappadocia with eight stories.
At the end of this tour, transfer to the airport and flight to Istanbul for overnight.
Unless you would consider to combine with another of our tours in Turkey or to Greece.
On morning 2 or 3, you may want to join a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. These tours return early enough for you to have breakfast before join the day time tour.