One of the most popular postcards from Turkey is Cappadocia, a historical region that encompasses several provinces and has a unique rocky, geological landscape. Since the mid-80s it has been on the list of World Heritage UNESCO.
Cappadocia is millenary and combines history, culture and landscapes that seem taken from the lunar surface. Today, a trip to turkey It is not complete without a trip to Cappadocia and a good hot air balloon flight. We're going over there!
The landscape then is what immediately catches the eye. Geology tells us that sixty million years ago the Taurus mountain range in Anatolia and the Alps in Europe were formed. That of the Taurus gave rise to ravines throughout the region, and millions of years later the magma filled them and the volcanic activity He did the rest, until those ravines disappeared and the area became a plateau.
But the composition of the terrain was not strong but very susceptible to erosion of all kinds, so valleys began to appear here and there, and in those valleys human settlements. For example, in a Neolithic city called Catalhöyük a 6200-year-old mural has been found with a smoking volcano in the landscape. By the years 5 and 4 thousand BC there are many principalities, sometimes united, sometimes in conflict.
Two thousand years before Christ the assyrians and its culture producing a great development, after the Hittites, Persians, Greeks, Romans, a branch of the Turks called Seljuk, who had clashes with the crusaders and those of Byzantium, but helped lay the foundations of what would become the Ottoman Empire.
When does Cappadocia tourism start? During the first half of the XNUMXth century, when a study by a French priest reached Europe. Decades later, tourism increased and the hotel supply suffered, so a stage of new tourism development began with more infrastructure.
How are we going to Cappadocia? Well It can be reached from any corner of Turkey by bus. For example, from Ankara, the car is also added, the train being less convenient and the plane, unnecessary. From Antalya there are two airlines that make flights in the summer, otherwise the flight is via Istanbul. The best option, however, is to go by car or bus and stop to visit Konya and Beysehir on the fantastic Silk Road.
From Istanbul there are flights every day connecting the airports of Nevsehir-Kapadokya and Erkilet, in Kayseri. Also there are night buses or high speed trains via Ankara or Konya. Note that between Istanbul and Cappadocia there are 720 kilometers, So if you don't like the route, a flight is better, with a convenient price if you buy in advance on Turkish Airlines or Pegasus Air.
How do we get around in Cappadocia? If you arrive by plane there are special shuttles, but except for that it is not the best. There are minibuses that travel between cities all day but they don't go through all the tourist sites, so it is best to rent a private car With or without a driver from an agency or join a tour.
Cappadocia is surrounded by the cities of Hacibektas, Aksaray, Nigde and Kayseri. The area known for its lunar landscape is closer to the cities of Ürgüp, Göreme, Uchisar, Avanos and Sinasos. It is here where the caves, chimneys and others are carved in volcanic soil. Do not think that because it is like this it is an infertile area, on the contrary, volcanic minerals have created an ideal terrain for agriculture and wine growing.
Aksaray It is one of the largest cities in the area and is usually the nexus in the region. Avanos is famous for its pottery. Local people use the clay from the river, they have been doing it for thousands of years to make statues, pots and tiles, for example. Derinkuyu It is a small town and has one of the underground cities more elaborate in the area. The underground temperature is around 13ºC and there is a signposted route that goes around tunnels no more than 170 centimeters high.
The underground cities, this is not the only one there are in Maziköyand, Özkonak and Kaymakli, were excavated in Hittite times and expanded through the centuries: have rolling doors, vents, water supply by springs, wine dams, corrals, kitchens, churches and else. Many are open to the public and you can sign up for a tour, a day trip, from Ürgüp, Avanos, Uchisar or Göreme.
Cappadocia's underground city opens its doors at 9 a.m. and it is advisable to arrive early to avoid the crowds that usually arrive in the middle of the morning. And what about the famous hot air balloon flights?
These walks are part of the offer Prime of the area that includes, if you want, walks through the churches with frescoes, walks through the volcanic valleys, for example the Valle de la Rosa, or a night in a cave hotel. Flights are usually at dusk. A recommended company is Vogager Balloons but you hire the one you always hire it is advisable to book in advance Well then you have a place on the first flight of the day.
How is the proccess? Easy, you make the reservation and the day of the personal flight of the company he picks you up at your accommodation, just before sunset, and drives you to the airfield. There is a snack and then the balloon goes up and up giving you unforgettable postcards of villages, vineyards, fruit fields and more, all for about an hour. And back, because the traditional champagne toast.
When is it convenient to fly? The best climate to do it is from April to October because the sky is clearer and the winds are milder at that time. Some companies fly in winter if there is good weather, and it usually happens that in winter at least half of the days are suitable. Just to consider: in 2014 there were 319 days suitable to fly and a year later, 266. Do not rule out a flight in winter but without a doubt it is in summer that you will not have problems finding a flight, that it is not canceled, and enjoy it.
Are there flights in the morning? YesA couple of companies offer that, and if you want, try to get the first flight of all because it is usually the best due to the weather conditions at dawn. You have to know that flying in a balloon is a great experience but not a cheap experience. Now, it is unforgettable so save a little and do not miss it.
Finally, you can stay in a hotel or one of several hotels - caves what's up. There are everything and even expensive hotels inside the caves that have all the comforts. There are hotels in Ürgüp, Göreme, Uchisar and in Mustafapasa. So when the pandemic ends and the tourism industry rebounds, organize a trip to Cappadocia!