Honeycomb hills and ‘fairy chimneys’ pierce the lunar landscape of Cappadocia
One of the best ways to view the honeycomb hills and ‘fairy chimneys’ of Cappadocia is by hot air balloon. This natural wonder in the heart of Turkey is made up of the Anatolian plains pierced by volcanic peaks.
Sedimentary rocks formed in lakes and streams that erupted from ancient volcanoes millions of years ago shaped the plateau. The rocks of Cappadocia near Göreme eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars and minaret-like forms we see today. Villagers carved out houses, churches and monasteries from the soft rocks of volcanic deposits. They named the strange rock cones kales or ‘castles’ and sought shelter underground.
Göreme Open-Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the subterranean refuges of Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı are some of Turkey’s most famous sights. The fresco-adorned rock-cut churches contain more than 30 churches and chapels. One of the most notable is Karanlık Kilise where you can enjoy the vivid colour of the frescoes which were preserved from the light due to the lack of windows in the church.
Cappadocia is an ideal place for hiking. You can explore the scenic trails around Güllüdere Vadısı (Rose Valley) which provide some breath-taking vistas of this lunar landscape. The dramatic Monastery Valley is also worth a stroll and provides a surprising route into Güzelyurt Underground City. From the air or below ground Cappadocia is simply spectacular.