Local cuisine

Throughout you journey in Cappadocia you will enjoy the local foods that accompany the unique natural, historic and cultural heritage of the region.

Every beautiful day starts with a good breakfast where you have the chance to sample various offerings. A hot bazlama (gözleme) (thin, flat bread baked over a hot plate) served with local butter, honey, dried yoghurt, free-range eggs fried in butter, sucuk (hot, spicy sausages) or pastırma (dried meat with a spicy coating), local cheese accompanied by a glass of refreshing orange juice or local boiled and sweetened fruit juices will provide a good start to the day. Various jams as well as dried apricots and raisins provide enough energy for the coming rigours of the day.

Dinners will provide lots of different tastes. Tandır meat slowly baked in Tandır (traditional wood burning ovens), hot or cold soups of bulgur (cracked wheat), and çömlek fasulye (dried haricot beans and chopped meat braised in pots) will linger on your taste buds for a long time. In addition, Cappadocia offers yaprak sarması (stuffed vine leaves), patates salatası (patato salad), dolma mantı (ravioli-style minced meat parcels), sulu köfte (boiled meatballs in a tomato sauce), bamya (okra), testi kebap and many other tastes.

Testi Kebap

Testi Kebap

Un helvası (flour fried in butter with sugar), fırında sütlaç (rice pudding with a caramelized top), zerdali yahnisi (braised chopped meat with apricot and grape molasses), bulama (dried grape molasses), aşure (dessert made of boiled grains, beans, nuts and raisins), irmik tatlısı (semolina pudding) and hoşaf (fruit compote) will also cater for your desire.

Following dinner you can enjoy a Turkish coffee, smoke a nargile (water pipe) and listen to the birdsong or classical Turkish music.

Abseiling in Cappadocia

Abseiling, meaning rope drown or descent down a rope, is a new brand outdoor sport. It started in New Zealand at the beginning of 1990’s. At that time, the idea was landing with certain descent by jumping tided up from a flat surface cliff. Like this it was like a commando rock landing. However later on these landings received a new form by the sporty being face down and running down from the spot. This new form called as abseiling really asked for high level of adrenalin. The one who will be doing abseiling first position him/herself on the rock parallel to the ground and then as she/he release the rope with hands, starts to run down. At a short distance to the ground she/he should stop running and stop.

With this new form abseiling became very popular in a short time period. As it became popular, reformations in the concept started. It became a sport for everyone not only for the ones who are in love with adrenaline. The face down running is replaced by safer flat landings. After its evolution today abseiling is a world wide sport. In abseiling, the sporty that goes down, does not climb again therefore it is important to have trekking racecourses around the abseiling places to go up once again.

Abseiling equipments

The basic supply of abseiling is the climbing harness which will be used to tie up the descender. The round carbine, which gathers the harness, should be in “maillon rapid” shape. Most of the harnesses have their own collar. The two locked carbine is tied up to maillon rapid on the harness. One of them is for figure eight and the other is to fix the security rope. Instead of figure eight, descender can be used in abseiling. Actually usage of descenders is safer and easier. As you push the latch of descender you may go down, as you stop pushing it the system will lock itself automatically and you hang on the rope. Namely it is impossible to fall down if you are using descender. The other standart equipment in abseiling is the helmet. Without a helmet the landing cannot be performed. It is needed as a precaution for possible stone fall offs and head hitting because of the skidding.

Uchisar Castle

Uchisar Castle

Abseiling in Cappadocia

Some of the outdoor activity agencies in Cappadocia include abseiling in their programs. To do abseiling you do not need to be experienced. To trust in the system, to get to know the equipments and a little bit courage will be enough for you to try. You will have 30 minutes training on the ground or 2-3 meters high wall and then you will be able to enjoy this sport. Abseiling in Cappadocia is being done with double rope safety system, without middle stops and 30-40 meters high block landings. The rock block of Ishak Castle in Ortahisar is one of the most current places. The landing is performed through the Roman grave and with the decoration of Ortahisar Castle in the historical atmosphere of the area. The total of the landing is 62 m.

Yılanlı church (Church with snake)

Yılanlı church is the one with long corridor and low ceiling. It takes its name from the scene on the wall that Saint George and Saint Theodore killed the snake and dragon. There are also scenes that animated Emperor Constantine and his mother Saint Helena. Another interesting scene is about Saint Onuphrius. This saint had an imaginary life in a desert near Thebes in Egypt. He was painted in long gray beard  and one dress with the leaf of laurel.

St. Barbara church

It takes its name for a Saint from Egypt that was prisoned in order to take away from Christianity by her father. Despite all efforts to prevent, Barbara would do every necessities for Christianity and then she would be killed with torture by her father. The church which was built in 11th century was decitaded to the Christian saint as a martyr. The architecture of the church is similar to Carikli Church. Interior part is in the shape of a cross and there is a dome in the middle. Christ was painted in his throne on the dome and natural red colour was applied to the rock. On the north walls of the church, Saint George and Saint Theodore were painted by fighting on their horses against a dragon.

St. Barbara Church

St. Barbara Church

Elmali church

Elmali Church is a small cave church. It was built approximately in 1050 AD in the shape of four crosses . The restoration was completed in 1991. Nevertheless the destruction of frosces could not be prevented. There are scenes that tell the martyrs of Christianity, saints and priests. There is also the picture of fish with Greek letters. The name of the church is thought as having given with the scene that Michael the angel has an apple on his hand or with an apple tree near the church.

Elmali Church

Elmali Church

Practical information for Cappadocia

Ambulance: 112
Police: 155
Fire: 110
Military Police: 156
Wake up calls: 444 11 35

When to go;
Cappadocia has a different beauty for each season of the year, be it in the cold of the winter or under the hot summer sun. Pick a season that suits your age and taste. The temperatures in winter are – / + 5 and in summer range between 15 to 30 degree celsius. Since it is an inland climate there is not much difference between temperatures in winter and summer.  Generally younger people choose summer and older and middle aged ones the spring and autumn months. There are those who also like the summer heat and the cold of the winter.

Winter at Cappadocia

Winter at Cappadocia

Getting there;
By plane; There are two airports at the Cappadocia area. Flights land at the Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR) and / or Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV). After a one hour trip on a shuttle bus will you get to the region.
By bus; There are regular buses to the region from Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Adana and many other cities. The number departures increases during the tourism season. There are also many short package tours including accommodation, that can be booked from agents in the southern holiday resorts and Antalya.

Formation of fairy chimneys

The strange formation named as fairy chimneys occured as abrading of tuff layer by winds and stream of torrent that flowed down from hills. Because stream of torrent found the way itself, it caused the crack of the hard rocks and their breaking off. By having hollowed the substances that stood down and could be eroded easily out, the side moved backward. So conical shaped bodies occured which can protect itself from being eroded with the hat on its upper part. Existing mostly in Psabagi, fairy chimneys with hats have conical shaped bodies and rock blocks on upper parts. Body consist of huge rocks that came into being by tuff, tuffet and ash of a volcano. The hat part consist of hard rock such as lahars and ignimbrite. In other words, rock that forms the hat is stronger than rock that forms body. It is the first condition for the formation of a fairy chimney. Dependent upon the resistance of rock that forms the hat, fairy chimneys cab have long life span or short one. The types of fairy chimneys formed by erosion in Cappadocia are one with hat, one in conical, one in mushroom shape, one in columnand sharp rock. Fairy chimneys are intensively on the valleys among the triangle of AvanosUchisar – Ürgüp, in the area between Ürgüp and Şahinefendi, near the town Çat in Nevşehir, on the walley Soganlı in Kayseri, near the village Selime in Aksaray.

Cappadocia Fairy Chimneys

Cappadocia Fairy Chimneys

Except for fairy chimneys, strange curls formed by rain drops on the slopes of hills give a different perspektive for the region. The colour harmony which can be seen on some slopes happens because of heat differences of the lava layers. These formations can be observed in Ürgüp, Uchisar, Cavusin, Güllüdere, Göreme, Meskendir, Ortahisar, Kızılçukur and pancarli.

Urgup mosques

Esbelli Mosque

Esbelli Mosque was built in 1814 and restored in 1895. The mosque belongs to Ottoman period (Sultan Osman the Young). The part in arch was mended in 1996. It is small and in the view of a small mosque. The mosque which was built by stone cutting over six arhes has four columns. The door which was one wing and wooden round arch is the entrance point for the courtyard. The floor of the courtyars was covered by cutting stones. The part on the direction of Mecca was used for summer and there is mihrab there. There is an entrance door for mosque that is two winged and in arch shape. Because there was no area for woman, a new part was added on an arch later. There is also a fountain. The minare of a mosque was made of small cutting stones with four feet.

Cappadocia houses

In Persian, “The country of beautiful horses”, Cappadocia occured by abrading of soft layers made of lavas and ash sprayed from Erciyes, Hasandagi and Güllüdag with rain and wind along millions of years. This formation is named as fairy chimneys among people. It hosted them. While the formation of these fairy chimneys continued, people built houses and churches for Christianity by hollowing them out. They decorated the churches with frescos and carried their civilisation for today. Traditional Cappadocia houses which were hollowed out on rocks and pigeon rooms provided an original view for the region even today.

Here, nature embraced human beings as much as it occured nowhere. Both lower and upper soil never returned anyone. It hosted them even in the most merciless situations of history. The places of today  and past connect themselves here. So, it makes the history enjoyable.

Embraced by the Red River, Cappadocia is the world of dreams beyond being the first place of civilisation in Anatolia. That is why it was located in Anatolian mosaics project. How could the houses be in an environment like that? Cappadocia houses were built either by hollowing out rocks or by cutting stones. As the only architectural material, stone can easly be processed because  it is soft when it is taken off the mine as volcanic state of the rgeion. Nevertheless, it turns to durable building material after it touches on air. Stone work is an architectural tradition here because the material is abundant and it can be processed easily.

Wards show the features of settlement which surround square in which there is a religious centre or a fountain. Streets suit topographic features. They are generally in criterion that a loaded beast of burden can pass togother with a man. In some settlement, there are effects of places in intimate and variable perspectives. Large blocks of constructions with wooden props or stone consoled projection, and sometimes walls of a high garden or a courtyard limit these organic streets according to local features.


Cappadocia Houses

It is formed of a garden, courtyard or places that surround the courtyard. Everything is designed according to the life style or daily actions of the user. Generally they can be classified as:
being practical functionally adaptation to  environmental factors. To gain integrity by starting from the seed and improving it out for solution. To take the nearest surroundings into consideration for choosing materials. Simplicity before mass effect for solution and structure.

The plan in Cappadocia houses is formed by lining rooms up on a hall. Types, largeness and features of the room seldom change. Hall which is the area among rooms is changable with all features. An architectureal structure of arch and vault is common for them. The material for courtyard and doors is wood. The arched doors are decorated with stylized ivy or emblem motives. The distance between consoles in the distance of floors is filled up with motives of emblem in 2 or 3 rows, star, flabellum, whirligig and stylized plant. Windows are done in two types: winged or guillotine.

Gaziemir Underground City

Gaziemir Underground City

Wine culture in Cappadocia

The reason why viticulture was developed in Cappadocia is the harmony between the special feature of volcanic soil in the region and the rough structure of the land since the ancient times.

Although it is unknown when wine first appeared in Cappadocia, producing grapes and getting wine had to be ancient like the history of the region. In the same way, west borderline of Mesopotamia which was admitted as the homeland for wine in 3000 BC arrived at East of Cappadocia (Fırat River). So, Urgup had to get its share of wine that was produced near the region. The findings that wine was produced in Cappadocia go beyond prehistory in Anatolia. In early Bronz Age (3000 – 2000 BC), golden pots that had wine in it were found in king tombs dated at a time a thousand years earlier than Hittites in Alacahoyuk (near Çorum) which is on the North of Cappadocia. Most of the findings are exhibited in Ankara Anatolian Civilisation Museum. In the consequence that Anatolia met to writing with the help from Assyrian trade colonies, recorded documents about grape and wine producing increased. Later in Hittite period (1650 – 1250) they called wine as “wiyana” and in Anatolia it was named as “wiyanawanda” that means the country of wine. In that period, the region that wine and grapes widely produced had to be the Red River (Halys) and the Green River on the east of it. Wine and grapes were served to gods as divine drink and it had importance as a product for trade in Hittite Period in 7th century BC. Hittite King described as presenting wine to god in Ivriz Rock Relief on the South of Cappadocia. Even when Persian invaded Anatolia in the middle of 6th century BC, production of wine and trade made progress in the period.

Wine and grapes were served to gods as divine drink and it had importance as a product for trade in Hittite Period in 7th century BC. Hittite King described as presenting wine to god in Ivriz Rock Relief on the South of Cappadocia. Even when Persian invaded Anatolia in the middle of 6th century BC, production of wine and trade made progress in the period.

Jesus says: “I am a real grapevine and my father is a grape grower. He breaks each stalk that does not give fruit out and cleans the stalk that gives fruit in order to make it give more.” (Johannes 15/1 and 3) Continuity of cultures can be seen again. Wine which was the symbol of polytheistic religions and equated to Dionysos or Bakus became the symbol of Christianity at one point between 1st and 4th century AD. Perhaps it was the reason why Christians came from far away countries. Soil in this region gives perfect product when fertilizer of pigeons was added to it. Wine production stopped because of Arab attacks between 7th and 9th centuries. Then Mongolian attacks give negative effects in the middle of 13th century. After Turks settled the region, production would not decrease as it was estimated. Especially the city Hacibektas was in the region as the centre of Alvi – Bektasi belief. This belief gives tolerance to wine. In 14th century Arab traveler Ibni Batuta mentioned about cappadocia wine. German traveler Demshwam told that Rums produced qualified wine in his visit to the region between 1553 and 1555. As the famous man in Tulip Age of Ottoman Empire, Damat İbrahim Pasa located somewhere for viticulture from Nevsehir foundation land in 118th century. A tribe who came to Nevsehir at the same time founded vineyards by removing oak trees. Even Damat İbrahim Pasa ordered to give land for viticulture between Kurtderessi and Uchisar if it was necessary.

In her valuable book “The taste in Cappadocia” about Cappadocia, the investigative writer Sula Bozis syas that; “Grapes which were produced in the wineyards of Tenei, Andaval, Sinasos ((Mustafapasa), Prokopi (Ürgüp), Neapoli (Nevşehir) as villages of Nigde were used to produce wine and raki.” An another quatition from the book; “Consumed among Muslims and Christians, raki was used as a drug against excessive cold. Wine was drunk by Christians, Bektasi and Alevi inhabitants. The biggest blow that dealt to wine productions was exchanging in 1920s.

After Rums abandoned the area, Turks that settled there did not give enough importance for it. With the progressive power given by increase in iner and outher tourism, wine consuming increased and this came to a conclusion for new lands for vineyards and experiment with new kinds of grapes.

Cappadocia is the region that risen by volcanic activities at 1200 meters height from the sea level. Togother with showing the typical features of terrestrial climate, there is a microclimate positive for viticulture in a lot of valleys and the Red River basin.

It becomes hot and dry in summer, cold and rainy in winter. Spring and autumn is short. So, seasonal passes are rapid. Most part of the soil in the region is volcanic ashes that we call as tuff and it is poor for farming.

Fertilizer of pigeons were used for hundred of years by Christians and Muslims. In his essay “Nevsehir and pigeons”, writer Ismail Habib Sevuk visited the area in 1936 and quoted his impressions like that. “Vineyards… Vineyards… The living depends highly on it. The soil in the city is little but efforts of citizens are high. Neverthelessi the soil is not fertile. What must be done. Think whatever you want. Do you know that pigeons are producing, not soil in Nevşehir.”