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Pasabag (Hermits) Valley

The forest of rock pillars

Best Known for
Rock formations

Built
5th century

Civilization
Byzantine

Suggested Duration
30 min

Although most of Cappadocia is littered with hundreds of fairy chimneys, nowhere does it better than Pasabag Valley. This unique valley is home to the highest concentration of fairy chimneys (striking con topped rock pillars), and it is here that you can truly appreciate just how astounding Cappadocia’s moonscape topography is. Millions of tourists visit the region each year to explore this mind-blowing destination and take memorable pictures within these otherworldly formations.

In Cappadocia, there seems to be an unwritten rule that no site is complete without its fair share of rock-carved houses or churches. Well, Pasabag valley is no different thanks to its long history with monks and hermits who cut lots of homes and churches directly into the rock pillars.

Due to this history, the valley is also known as Hermit’s or Monk’s Valley.

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Although most of Cappadocia is littered with hundreds of fairy chimneys, nowhere does it better than Pasabag Valley. This unique valley is home to the highest concentration of fairy chimneys (striking con topped rock pillars), and it is here that you can truly appreciate just how astounding Cappadocia’s moonscape topography is. Millions of tourists visit the region each year to explore this mind-blowing destination and take memorable pictures within these otherworldly formations.

In Cappadocia, there seems to be an unwritten rule that no site is complete without its fair share of rock-carved houses or churches. Well, Pasabag valley is no different thanks to its long history with monks and hermits who cut lots of homes and churches directly into the rock pillars.

Due to this history, the valley is also known as Hermit’s or Monk’s Valley.

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Planning a trip to Cappadocia? Answer this trip planner and get your FREE quotation within 24 hours.

The History

Fairy Chimneys

Hermits

Key Features

Tips & Etiquette

Despite its long history with humans, what intrigues visitors the most about Pasabag Valley is how is it possible to have such an out of this world landscape. Well, although the astonishing rock pillars were called fairy chimneys based on a superstitious belief that fairies built them for their underground homes, it all goes back to millions of years ago when volcanic eruptions rained ash across the entire region.

The ash then hardened into tuff and was later covered by a layer of basalt. Tuff is porous and, thus, softer than basalt. When the erosion began, it wore down the layer of tuff into tall pillars, and since basalt eroded more slowly, it formed a mushroom-shaped cap on top of each pillar.

Wandering through Pasabag Valley is one of the most thrilling experiences since it is the closest you will ever come to exploring an alien planet. The fairy chimneys with their mushroom-shaped tops are quite unusual but one of the most mind-blowing sights in the whole of Cappadocia, especially from the landing and the second level.

As you explore the forest of rock pillars, you will notice houses carved out of the rock. You can explore these cave dwellings, including some intriguing ones that have been hollowed out from the bottom to the top. The roofs of such homes can reach as high as 15m.

Other cave houses have staircases that lead to the top of the fairy chimney. You can climb some of these stairs to the living quarters and gaze out into a stunning view over the moonscape topography. There are so many cave houses in the valley, and you don’t have to be that much into history to explore all of them.

And since no rock settlement in Cappadocia is complete without a rock-cut church, there is a chapel dedicated to Saint Simeon. During your rounds in the valley, you can see other hermit caves’ entrances, but those are not accessible due to erosion risk.

Once you are done exploring, there is an excellent photo spot overlooking the whole area. Here, you can take incredible photos and easily convince your friends and family back home that they were taken on a secret mission to an alien planet.

Millenia after the fairy chimneys were formed by erosion, Christians escaping persecution found a haven in the Cappadocian landscape. By the 4th century, much of the area was occupied by monks who carved their homes in the pillars’ soft volcanic rock. Most of these monks were hermits, i.e., they desired to lead a solitary life away from the world’s corrupting influences.

The most famous of the monks who called Pasabag Valley home is St. Simeon (Simon). Before moving to Cappadocia, the monk-led a solitary life near Aleppo in the 5th century. Nonetheless, he began to receive a lot of attention due to rumors that he could perform miracles, and this attention disturbed him.

As a result, he moved to Pasabag valley and lived at the top of a 2m high pillar before changing to one that stretched 15m above the ground. Other hermits in the valley carved their houses into the columns rather than living at the top.

  • Pillars in the valley can grow to as tall as 15m.
  • Some pillars split into two chimneys at the top, and some even have up to three chimneys.
  • The valley sits in the middle of a vineyard.
  • The name Pasabag means Pasha’s Vineyard. In Turkish, pasha means’ general’- the military rank.
  • If you are at the landing, be careful around the edge since the sandstone is slippery and often crumbles.
  • You will be out in the open during your visit; therefore, remember to put on sunscreen.
  • Since Pasabag and Zelve Open Air Museum are very close to each other and you can access both with the same ticket, we advise you to visit them in the same morning or afternoon. They are not within walking distance apart, but you will get to enjoy more sights along the way included in our Cappadocia Classics Tour if desired.

Visiting Pasabag (Hermits) Valley

Pasabag sits in almost the same area as many of the other popular tourist attractions in Cappadocia. Therefore, many tourists opt to stay in Goreme and Uchisar towns around 20 minutes away from the valley. Nonetheless, if you want to enjoy an unfiltered sightseeing experience, you can always walk to the valley.

Entrance Fee
The entrance fee per person is 20TL per person.
Zelve Open Air Museum can be accessed with the same ticket.

Opening Hours
Summer: the valley is open every day from 08:00 to 19:00 hours from April 1st to October 1st.
Winter: from October 1st to April 1st, it is available between 08:00 and 17:00 hours.

Cappadocia Tours

What is Nearby

Apart from Zelve Open Air Museum, Pasabag Valley is close to a few other Cappadocia’s top attractions. These include the Goreme Open Air Museum, which is only 7km away, Uchisar Rock Castle, Kaymakli and Derinkuyu underground cities, and the pottery town of Avanos.

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