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The highlights of Cappadocia tour will reveal the unrivaled scenery for which the region of Cappadocia is famous. Enjoy a mix of all: get a glimpse of the past, experience a taste of modern pottery, learn about and witness the forces of nature, and soar to great heights, all in one day.
This Highlights of Cappadocia tour is the perfect illustration of man and nature collaborating to create the most breathtaking of sceneries. During the tour, be prepared to have your mind blown away by the best Cappadocia has to offer to its visitors. Watch nature sculpture the terrain at Pasabag Valley, enjoy cave paintings in the churches of Goreme Valley, have a glimpse of what life was like in the underground city of Kaymakli, and enjoy the best of historical pottery art in Avanos.
It looks like Mars, but it’s in Turkey!
The most exciting and awe-inspiring underground city is in Kaymakli, and this gigantic subterranean town was carved entirely from soft volcanic rock. Underground cities have uncertain beginnings, but geologists believe that they were first inhabited during the Hittite period from which they expanded over the centuries.
The underground city at Kaymakli was used in the 2nd and 3rd centuries by Christians hiding from the Roman persecution, and later on in the 8th and 10th centuries during raids by Arabs and other invasions.
In addition to providing a haven in troubled times, the city, like other underground cities in the region, formed a perfect storage area due to its stable temperature throughout the year. The underground city believed to be connected to the next one, Derinkuyu, by a 10 km tunnel, and it is thought that most of these cities had similar connections to other underground cities.
During the tour of Kaymakli Underground City, you will see air shafts, barns, personal quarters, deep wells, storage and cooking areas, and churches that made it possible to live in the city for long periods.
With a height of about 90m, Uchisar castle is the highest point in the region, and it gives you a spectacular view of Cappadocia, which is only rivaled by the view from a hot-air balloon. The rock castle is visible from a great distance and was used throughout history as a military vantage point due to its high ground and 360° view of Cappadocia.
Uchisar castle has numerous inns, hotels, and rental houses, some of which have cave rooms, but hiking to the top of the Hisar is the main reason visitors frequent the castle.
If you have enjoyed a hot-air balloon ride, it means you have already seen the best possible views. But, if you want to visit the citadel as well, you can take steps to get to the top of the citadel and take a photo session as you enjoy the scenic view of Cappadocia from the top.
Goreme Open Air Museum is the #1 attraction in Cappadocia and is hence usually crowded. In the museum, you will visit small rock-cut churches like Elmali Church (Church with Apple), Karanlik Kilise (Dark Church), Yilanli Church (Serpent Church), Carikli Church (Church with Sandals), and St. Barbara Church, where you will witness the artistic works of medieval Christian monks on the walls.
Although years of erosion from wind and water, earthquakes, and malicious acts by local shepherd boys, have damaged most of the fresco paintings on the church walls, the churches still manage to retain their beauty.
The Dark Church has undergone extensive restoration over the years and lets you soak in the most fascinating and detailed art the artistic monks had to offer. This church is nonetheless subject to an additional admission fee to help pay for the restoration and is thus usually less crowded than the other churches.
The museum was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985, and will most likely be the highlight of the day.
After the tour of the open-air museum, we will have a tasty local lunch in one of the excellent selection of hotels in Goreme town.
Avanos is a small town on the banks of the Kizilirmak (Red) River in Cappadocia that is well known for its pottery. The town red clay obtained from the banks of the Kizilirmak River, which is the longest complete river in Turkey, has been used by town potters to make traditional household pottery as well as for making bricks and roof tiles since the Hittite Age.
In the town, you will witness pottery art demonstration by a local master, after which you can have a go at a pottery on the potter’s wheel for some fun.
Pasabag valley is another major tourist attraction in the Cappadocia region famous for its numerous columnar formations with rock caps that give it a striking scenery which you will be allowed time to soak in.
The rock caps give the fairy chimneys a mushroom-like look, and the chimneys are a result of years of stratification and differential erosion. Our guide will explain the formation of these structures in detail, and you will be able to see nature in action since some fairy chimneys in Pasabag are in different stages of formation.
This valley is also known as Monk’s valley, which refers to the hermits of Cappadocia. During your walk within the valley, you will notice caves carved in the fairy chimneys for religious and other purposes. You can buy souvenirs to take home from souvenir stands and enjoy snacks from the various snack stands in the area, all while capturing superb photos of the scenery.
We do highly recommend this tour for those with limited time. If you are visiting Cappadocia primarily for the balloon ride, then this tour is a perfect match. However, if you have two days, then you can split this Highlights of Cappadocia tour into two days with some other additional visits.