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Delve into scenic natural wonders on this Ihlara Valley and Derinkuyu Underground City Tour and explore more highlights that make the region one of the most unique destinations in the world. Watch humankind carve the terrain to create an area with remarkable architecture that boasts an equally impressive history.
Well, if you thought sculpting is only limited to small pieces of rock, this tour will surprise you. Watch large parcels of terrain sculpted by man’s hand and expect lots of history too. This tour will highlight the cooperation of humankind and nature, as well as the resulting breathtaking scenery.
Ihlara Valley is a miniature of Grand Canyon.
Our first stop after morning pickups is the Derinkuyu Underground City. On our way there, you will be treated to a spectacular view of Goreme village and Goreme Valley from Esentepe. The underground city’s entire 5-level complex was carved entirely from the soft volcanic rock characteristic of the region.
Underground cities are as impressive as their origins are uncertain, and Derinkuyu Underground City is no exception. The town may lurk behind Kaymakli Underground city in terms of width, but it is the deepest, going on for approximately 250 feet below the surface. While this immense depth will undoubtedly impress you, the rooms and compartments it holds will blow your mind.
Explore the stables, refractories, cellars, study rooms, and churches that made life comfortable for the 20,000 or so people that would inhabit this city at a time. Derinkuyu underground city even has a missionary school and wineries, to show that life in the underground town could match life on the surface. The city was used as a haven by Christians who were escaping persecution.
Our next stop will be the beautiful Ihlara Valley, which is rimmed by high cliffs that house rock-cut churches on either side. The valley is a popular hiking destination, but we will take a 4 km walk along the Melendiz River and visit the many rock-carved churches in the area for this tour. This walk offers a pleasant touch of nature thanks to the soothing sound of rushing water, pistachio, and poplar trees, and rich wildlife of frogs, butterflies, lizards, and birds.
Explore the cave churches at Ihlara Valley and enjoy the frescoes characterized by exquisite detail on some of the churches’ walls. During the walk, our guide will explain the churches’ history and their inhabitants.
After an exciting walk in Ihlara Valley and lunch at a local restaurant, we will then head over to the tour’s highlight, the stunning Selime Monastery. This colossal monastery is the largest and most fascinating religious structure in Cappadocia. Selime Monastery is estimated to date back to the 8th century BCE and has been inhabited by different civilizations, making it a rich heritage site. Some of the inhabitants that once settled here include Romans, Hittites, Persians, early Christians, Seljuk Turks, Byzantines, and Ottomans.
A church sized like a cathedral is cut directly into the volcanic rock and makes for the most spectacular sights. Explore the cathedral and witness medieval Christian art in the form of frescoes on the walls and roofs. There is also a kitchen, stables, and living quarters used by the early Christian monks who once inhabited the monastery. We shall then stop at Yaprakhisar Panorama Point, the sport where Star Wars was shot, for a great view of this monastery.
While the recommended 4km is the most fun part, if you would like to enjoy the entire route, it will take around 6-7 hours of hiking.