Three Days In Dreamland Cappadocia

HOW ABOUT A THREE DAY TRIP TO CAPPADOCIA, LIKE A GIANT FAIRYTALE PARK BURSTING WITH MYSTERIOUS ROCK FORMATIONS AND FAIRY CHIMNEYS?

DAY ONE: THE MUSEUM

Perched on the side of Cappadocia’s tallest fairy chimney, Uçhisar recalls an ancient Stone Age settlement. This charming village nestled in the lower reaches of the region’s natural fortress is known for its antique shops and boutique hotels. Right next door, Güvercinlik Vadisi, or Pigeon Valley, is teeming with rock churches and natural tunnels.

These tunnels, through which you can walk comfortably, make perfect trails for photographers and hiking buffs. The most beautiful valleys of the region await you on the approximately three-kilometer Uçhisar-Göreme road. Göreme Open Air Museum, which is on the UNESCO World Culture Heritage List, is is also within walking distance.

The museum area, which is surrounded by fairy chimneys, boasts a large number of churches and monasteries carved into the rocks. And the vibrant frescoes on the church walls seem to have been painted only yesterday.

DAY TWO: EXPLORING

Zelva Open Air Museum and the Paşabağı Valley, where you will see some intriguing examples of fairy chimneys, are among the places worth seeing. Mustafapaşa just five kilometers from Ürgüp is famous for its elegant mansions. A little further on, the Gomeda Valley is dotted with fascinating earth formations reminiscent of a film set.

And then comes one of the most exciting parts of any Cappadocia tour: exploring the underground cities. Favorites among these interesting multi-level structures are Derinkuyu, Kaymaklı and Özkonak. We recommend Derinkuyu for your tour. Once said to have sheltered some twenty thousand people, the city is spread over an area of close to four square kilometers.

DAY THREE: SHOPPING

One of Cappadocia’s oldest settlements, Avanos is an ancient center of pottery production. In this town on the banks of the Kızılırmak River, you can stop at one of the workshops and try your hand at the potter’s wheel under the tutelage of a master and then buy your own product. Be sure to pick up some souvenirs before you leave Cappadocia.

  Besides handmade pottery, the locally made cloth dolls, rugs and flatweaves, onyx figurines, antiques and silver are just some of the items to choose from. Avanos’s next door neighbor Çavuşin with its historic houses and rock churches is another place fun to visit. And the sunset at Kızılçukur Valley within easy reach of Çavuşin is not to be missed.

DON’T MISS

Seeing the Seljuk caravanserai at Saruhan near Avanos.

Experiencing memorable moments as you drift over the fairy chimneys in a hot-air balloon.

Staying in a real rock dwelling that’s been converted into a hotel.

Exploring the region on a high-adrenaline jeep safari.

GETTING THERE

Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Nevşehir flights in both directions daily. Departure times are 7:25 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. from Istanbul and 9:25 a.m. and 7:50 p.m. from Nevşehir. For information: www.turkishairlines.com