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Kappadokien bietet eine atemberaubende Natur, Bild: Andrew Mayovskyy / shutterstock

What makes Cappadocia special?

Cappadocia is a remarkable region for a variety of reasons, not only when you look at its long history, but also because of the stunning scenery. It is estimated that Cappadocia’s human history began as early as 1800 BC. The region has always been “caught between two stools” and countless battles have been fought in and around this place. Due to the rocky formations, Cappadocia has served as a hiding place for thousands of years, especially for Christians in the fourth century who hid in the rocks from the wrath of the Romans.

But the fugitives have not only hidden, they have created something unique. If you’re visiting the Cappadocia region, especially near Goreme, you’ll find cave chapels adorned with stunning frescoes. Even in a time of great tribulation, these people managed to create a place of incredible beauty – a sanctuary carved into the rock. These frescoes are still very well preserved today. If you are on holiday in Cappadocia, you should therefore definitely inform yourself about the history of the place in advance.

As far as the eye can see, soft volcanic rock has been shaped into what is colloquially known as “fairy chimneys”. The rocks have been chiseled and worn down by the many battles over time. There are many caves, underground tunnels and bizarre formations, a whole world that you can’t see with the naked eye when you visit Cappadocia.

What is there to do and experience in Cappadocia?

Anatolia is worth the trip on its own, but activities in the Cappadocia region are experiences that you will probably only have once in a lifetime.

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Göreme Open Air Museum

This is probably the best place to get a feel for Cappadocia, both from a geological and historical standpoint. Between the architecture and the rock paintings, this is without question the top tourist attraction in the region. You can go in and out of old churches painted with frescoes and stroll through alleys carved into the rock. Consider that some of these frescoes were painted over a thousand years ago and are still as vivid as if the paint had just dried. The view from the balconies over the valley to the great expanse of the fairy chimneys is also unique. If you’ve brought a camera to Cappadocia (and you should! – If you don’t have a camera, check out Camera Express ), make sure it’s charged.

The Underground Cities

There are several large underground cities in the region that are worth visiting, with Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı being the most rewarding. The two cities are also connected underground. By the way, “Kaymaklı” means “with cream” in Turkish. The caves were mainly used by Christians as a hiding place to escape persecution, and some of these cities were built up to ten floors underground – just let that sink in. If you are claustrophobic, you should think twice about going to the lowest floors of Kaymaklı, because you can literally physically feel the weight of the rock above you. In fact, there are tunnels that served as escape routes in case the caves were entered from the front, complete with defense mechanisms and the like that made it difficult for the attackers to attack the inhabitants.

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The highlight: a hot air balloon flight at sunrise

Hot Air Balloon Cappadocia
Hot air balloons before launch, Image: MarBom / shutterstock

Flying over Cappadocia in a hot air balloon can be expensive, but it’s worth every single penny (or lira). A hot air balloon flight in Cappadocia is certainly one of the most formative travel experiences you can have. You slowly climb up into the pink sky and float over the torn earth, then glide effortlessly down into the valleys, past the fairy chimneys.

Cappadocian cuisine

Turkish food in Cappadocia is diverse. Highly recommended is the Testi Kebap, a mixture of meat, vegetables and spices cooked in a sealed clay pot. The gözleme, a type of Turkish crêpe that is often served with potatoes or spinach, is also excellent and very popular in Cappadocia. Turkish tea (known as çay) is also a typical national highlight. The dishes in Goreme are cooked slowly and with care, so everything you order is a real treat for the palate, even your average kebab.

Why should you visit Cappadocia?

There is nothing like it, and that alone is reason enough. The country, its people and culinary delights do the rest to make a trip to magical Cappadocia unforgettable for you.