Cappadocia gave us many opportunities to be tourists and although we ran out of time to do them all, we certainly got our fill….
There are many valleys with gorgeous names, all full of the similar rock formations for which the area is famous.
This is Uchisar Castle a natural rock formation and the highest point in all Cappadocia (just my sort of thing!)
To get there we walked up through Pigeon Valley (lots of pigeon roosting holes in the rocks). The whole area is littered with walking tracks – note to self…return with keen walkers for longer next time.
Plenty of quirky shaped rocks – hard not to photograph.
And a pretty unusal art installment – a tribute to the pigeons.
The little town of Uschisar is pretty upmarket, on the hill, with the Castle towering over. It costs just a few lira to go up inside where you have spectacular views over the whole area….
Then we have enjoyed catching the local dolmus – a mini bus which you pay a set amount (usually under $2). There are stops but you can leap on and off anywhere really.
We had to catch two dolmus out to explore Kaymakli one of the 36 surviving underground cities.
This one is on 8 levels, various sections, and could hold 5000 people at a time living there in times of trouble.
There were multitudes of living areas, joined by little tunnels,
There were communal kicthens, (no fires in living areas), tombs, some little chapels… If you look closely you can see a cross carved out in the rock
The volcanic rock was soft and easy to carve…until the air hit it then it hardened, making the whole city so well preserved and safely accessible still today.
As Ollie, king of survival techniques said it is the ultimate “Bug Out” location – just move in! It has been well used by those in need over the centuries.
Holes in the ground were for pottery containers to sit in containing oil and wine. They made all their own wine down there, huge hollowed out areas where grapes were trodden by foot and a channel for the juice to escape down. It was perfect wine storage conditions, always maintaining 17 degrees, even in hot summers or freezing below zero winters outside.
Doors could be blocked by these huge round stones that were rolled in front of main passages with an ingenious gravity system for release.
The engineering is fantastic and comprehensively thought out. There are wells, ventilations shafts, toilets, space for animals, manure collecting -composting and even communication tubes to support defence operations.
This one I liked, it had been brought in from a copper mine and is made from extremely solid rock . All the holes in it were used for grinding spices!
Here is a little bit more info copied about this
...a remarkable block of andesite with relief textures. Recently it was shown that this stone was used as a pot to melt copper. The stone was hewn from an andesite layer within the complex. In order for it to be used in metallurgy, fifty-seven holes were carved into the stone. The technique was to put copper ore into each of the holes (about 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in diameter) and then to hammer the ore into place.
These places have been used by many different people over the years. Being right on the old Spice Route, back smack in the middle of major pilgrimage ways, religious conflicts and at the crossroads for Europe/Middle East?Asia.
Talk about living history…