The territory of Cappadocia begins from Aksaray and ends to Kayseri. In the area there are many caves that in the past people lived there. The most known is those of Goreme, a territory that has been recognized as a Monument of Global Legacy. The area that we were is Selime and the canyon of Ihlara, has cave-churches and houses built inside the rocks. The reason why those areas are not as famous as Goreme, is that they are a bit far away.
We wanted to wander around the area and that’s why we stayed there one more day. The basic sites are the Cathedral at Selime, the churches at the canyon of Ihlara and to Belisirma, the caves and the underground town of Guzelyurt. For Selime, Ihlara and Belisirma we bought one common ticket (5YTL/person) so we could visit all 3 sites.
We started from the caves of Selime and specially the Cathedral as they call it. The site was impressive: the houses and a big church are building inside the rocks. If you look carefully and use your imagination as well you can realize the use of any thing (ex. Kitchen, stable etc.). At the Cathedral we saw what is left from the hagiography.
After Selime we visited the canyon. It has two entrances, one through the village Ihlara and one through Belisirma. Those two points are connected with a path. If someone has the time to pass the canyon he’ll live a great and unique experience. Not all of the churches are worth to visit. Only 5 to 6 of them. For those there are signs.
We preferred to go at the entrance of Ihlara. After going down 400 stairs we reached the base of the canyon next to the river. Very close to us were 6 churches, some of them are easy to be reached. All of them were impressing because of the hagiographies, or what is left from them!
We went back to the parking area which is free for the bikes and we went to the other side of the canyon (Belisirma) to visit the church of Saint George. It was a bit difficult to find it but the site was extraordinary.
The last site of the day was the village of Guzelyurt. The most beautiful part was the underground town (5YTL/person). Underground roads lead to houses and at different levels. At the past many people were living here for protection and they communicated with the surface through vertical conduits. If someone has claustrophobia, its better not to visit the site. The temperature was low. As we found out later, at Derinkuyu, the underground town has 7 levels!!!
To visit the site we had to buy a ticket. The polite employee as soon as he found out that we are Greeks he informed us about the manifestation that goes on every 15th of August. At the past the village was Greek, called “Karvali”. 2.000 Greeks were leaving there and with the exchange of the populations they moved to Kastoria and Kozani. Later some visited the village and became friends with locals, organizing the manifestation every year.
After having a coffee we went to the church of Analypsis which was just outside the village. It was on a top of a hill and it was the perfect spot to admire the sunrise watching Cappadocia. The moments were unique… Looking to the West I was thinking that somewhere out there was my home…