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Turkey Day 3: Cappadocia Caves, Cathedrals, and Castles Pt2

It was another restless night of sleep, not because of the call to prayer this time but moreso because of jetlag. I was up before sunrise which is extremely uncommon for me. I went out on the terrace to see if the balloons were flying but they had been grounded for weather. It was a beautiful, peaceful sunrise and I enjoyed the serenity.
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When Brenda woke up, we went down to the hotel breakfast buffet. It was similar to the buffet in Istanbul the day before.
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Our guide, Emre, picked us up at 930a and we headed out to do what's known as the Green Tour. Yesterday we did the Red Tour. Our first stop was Kaymakli Underground City. The city is a vast network of underground caves that are believed to have been originally started around the 8th-7th centuries BC and then expanded more fully during the 1st century AD and used for several centuries up to the 20th century. During the later years, they were mostly used by Christians avoiding Muslim persecution. The tunnels were abandoned in 1923 when the Christians were expelled to Greece in a population exchange whereby Greek Muslims were transferred to Turkey. If I remember correctly, the cave city goes for eight stories under the ground. Only four are open to tourists.

We first spotted the familiar holes for livestock stables.
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I believe this was a door. They rolled the stone in front of various openings to close them off as they would descend deeper into the cave system.
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Everything is accessed thru these narrow tunnel walkways.
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Various rooms.
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Our timing at Kaymakli was perfect. There were very few other tourists and the large groups were arriving as we were leaving. On the way out, we stopped and browsed thru the souvenir stores where I bought some evil eye jewelry to take home for friends.

We then drove about an hour to the town of Selime in the Ihlara Valley. There, at a cemetery located across from our main destination, the Selime Monastery, is a monumental tomb in honor of Selime Sultan. It was built some time in the 13th century.
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The Selime Monastery dates back to the 9th and 8th centuries BC. It consists of a full-size cathedral, monastery, kitchens, and stables carved into the rock. It was used for this purpose until the 10th and 11th centuries AD and then converted to a refuge for those traveling along the silk road. It was abandoned in the 16th century.
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Going up.
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From the kitchen.
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Inside the monastery.
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Inside the cathedral.
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Going down.
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The winery.
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In one day, we saw two very different living situations, one underground and one above ground, but both carved into the rock formations. It was crazy to imagine what life must have been like to live in either of those situations. These two sites were my favorite sites of the trip...so amazing.

Back in the van, the snow-capped mountains framing the Ihlara Valley were majestic and beautiful.
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We arrived to do a walk and then lunch at a river running thru the Ihlara Valley. It was a popular walking trail but not crowded during the heat of the mid-day.
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These weird wooden people were set up periodically down the path. I'm not sure what the point was. I thought they were a bit creepy.
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We stopped for lunch at a riverside restaurant.
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Beef in clay pots.
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After lunch, we had one more stop to make at Uchisar Castle, a kind of rock castle skyscraper that looms over the town of Uchisar. Dating back to the 4th century, it was used as a refuge and vantage point for hundreds of years.
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It was a long way up but the views were worth it.
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It had been a long day and we had climbed and climbed. Emre dropped us off back at our hotel and we took a load off with my favorite rum in all the world...Cuba's Havana Club (with Coke, of course).
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We walked a short way over to Sedef for dinner. They have some pretty good chicken wings in Turkey.
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After a long bath in the beautiful round tub, we called it a night in hopes of some better sleep before our departure the next morning.

Posted by zihuatcat 22:57 Archived in Turkey Tagged cappadocia turkey brenda

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