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Cappadocia, Turkey: Fairy Chimneys and Underground Cities

submitted on 26 September 2023 by

A Glimpse into Cappadocia's Past

Picture this: you're strolling through a landscape that looks like something out of a science fiction movie, dotted with curious rock formations that resemble mushrooms, cones, and otherworldly spires. Welcome to Cappadocia, Turkey, a geological wonderland that managed to leave me speechless, which, as anyone who knows me can attest, is no easy feat. This place is a confluence of the absurd and the magnificent, and it begs to be explored.The region's history goes way back to the Hittites, who would have won the award for "Best Ancient Empire Name" if there was such a thing. Then came the Romans, who carved underground cities to escape the heat, which is something we can all relate to during those scorching summer months. Some of these cities had up to eight levels, so they were clearly not playing around. So, without further ado, let's dive into the enchanting world of Cappadocia's fairy chimneys and underground cities.

Behold the Fairy Chimneys

First things first: those peculiar rock formations that you've undoubtedly seen on postcards and Instagram feeds are called "fairy chimneys." I must admit that it makes me feel like I'm in a fairy tale or at a gathering of the world's most eccentric chimney enthusiasts. These geological marvels were formed millions of years ago by volcanic eruptions, wind, and water erosion. You know, the usual suspects.Walking among these curious formations is nothing short of magical, and one can't help but marvel at the sheer creativity of Mother Nature. The fairy chimneys come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some resembling mushrooms, others looking like they're straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. It's a sight that you simply must see to believe.

Explore the Underground Cities

As if fairy chimneys weren't enough to pique your interest, Cappadocia is also home to numerous underground cities, carved out by ancient civilizations seeking refuge during times of strife. The most famous of these cities are Derinkuyu and Kaymakli, both of which are open to the public, allowing you to literally delve into the depths of history.Derinkuyu, the deepest of the two, reaches eight levels underground. Picture this: you're wandering around a labyrinth of narrow tunnels, chambers, and passageways, with the weight of the earth pressing down on you and the echo of your footsteps your only company. It's enough to send a shiver down your spine, but it's also undeniably thrilling. I do recommend having a map or a guide, however, as I'm convinced I would still be down there if it weren't for the kindly fellow who led me back to the surface.Kaymakli, on the other hand, is a bit smaller than Derinkuyu but no less fascinating. Its tunnels are wider, and its chambers are more spacious, making it an excellent option for claustrophobic explorers. One can't help but wonder what life must have been like for the inhabitants of these subterranean dwellings, and I must say that it gives a whole new meaning to the term "basement dweller."

Things to Do in Cappadocia

While the fairy chimneys and underground cities are undoubtedly the main attractions in the region, there is plenty more to see and do in Cappadocia. Here are some suggestions to make the most of your visit:
  • Take a hot air balloon ride: Soaring above the otherworldly landscape of Cappadocia in a hot air balloon is an experience you'll never forget. Just imagine the views! Plus, it's a fantastic way to give your legs a break from all the walking.
  • Visit the Göreme Open Air Museum: This UNESCO World Heritage site features rock-hewn churches and monasteries adorned with Byzantine frescoes. It's like stepping into a time machine and getting a glimpse of the past, all while surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of Cappadocia.
  • Try the local cuisine: Turkish food is delicious, and Cappadocia is no exception. From succulent kebabs to scrumptious baklava, your taste buds will be in heaven. Don't forget to wash it all down with a cup of Turkish tea!
In conclusion, Cappadocia is a fascinating and unique destination that truly has something for everyone, from history buffs to adventure seekers to those who just appreciate a good fairy chimney. It's a place where you can let your imagination run wild and be transported to another world, all while creating unforgettable memories. So go forth and explore, my friends, and may the magic of Cappadocia enchant you as it has enchanted me.
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