Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Fairy chimneys in Cappadocia

{ November 2009 - Cappadocia, Turkey }

We reached Urgup in Cappadocia early in the morning. We waited in the cold for our transfer to the hotel but it never came. Some helpful guys at the bus counter helped us to check our bookings, but we found that there has been some mistakes in the bookings. After an hour or so, we finally ended up in a quaint little bed and breakfast managed by an extremely nice Turkish man. We believed that he converted his home into this bed and breakfast. He offered us some breakfast and allowed us to clean up before getting ready for our trip that morning.

Our initial reactions upon reaching Cappadocia was the vastness and the weirdness of the landscape. While we did expect it and has done enough research and saw many photos, it did not really prepare us for the real thing. Even after a few days when we were about to leave the place, I kept thinking and saying “It’s so weird!”. The so-called fairy chimneys were the result of a volcanic eruption and thousands and thousands of years of wind molding them into the shape we saw today.




While the rocks by themselves were weird enough, the locals cut into the fairy chimneys and lived in them. There were also many cave hotels and bed and breakfast that allow tourists the once in a lifetime opportunity to live in them. The cliffs and fairy chimneys were also cut into small squares, pigeon houses, to collect the birds' droppings to be used for fertiliser.

Goreme Open-Air Museum was a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. It has many churches and chapels carved inside the fairy chimneys, with lots of frescoes. According to our tour guide, many early Christians stayed and hid in the area during the times when Christians were hunt down to prevent them from spreading the religion. Due to the harsh condition of the area, they were not found and Christianity flourished during those times. I would have love to stroll around the museum longer, spending more time around all the amazing carvings and fairy chimneys. However, being in a day tour did not allow us that luxury. So, if you have the chance, do try to visit the museum by yourself and spend more time here.


 


We ended the day with a Whirling Dervishes performance. It was once banned in the country, but has since allowed for tourism purpose. Although it was performed not as part of a religious rite, it was still a captivating ritual.


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