Discover the Science and Beauty of Turkey’s Cappadocia: The Fairy Chimneys and Underground Cities
Turkey’s Cappadocia is arguably one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring sights in the world. Located in the central Anatolian region of Turkey, Cappadocia is a natural, geological wonderland with a remarkable variety of shapes and colors created by a unique history of wind, rain and ice. While the site has a captivating beauty, a deeper look reveals the science behind its creation.
At its core, Cappadocia is composed of volcanic rock formed during a violent period of eruptions from nearby Mount Erciyes, Mount Hasan and Mount Gulludag. Over the years, the erosive force of the wind, rain and ice has essentially carved what is now known as the famous ‘fairy chimneys.’ These unique 400-meter high towers are fashioned from the dense volcanic rocks, creating extraordinary formations with cone-shaped peaks, mushroom-like caps and gorges that alternate in color from shades of red, to yellow, to white.
It’s not just the fairy chimneys that make Cappadocia so intriguing, however. Below the surface lies a true testament to human innovation, in the form of a fascinating collection of underground cities. The largest and most famous of these is Derinkuyu, which is a veritable maze made up of hidden tunnels, pathways and rooms. Some of these cities were used as early as the 8th Century B.C. and included wells for water, stables for animals, schools and even churches.
Overall, Cappadocia is an incredible example of both science and beauty, and it offers an insight into a fascinating journey through the region’s past. To experience this natural wonderland for yourself, here are some of the main destinations in Cappadocia you won’t want to miss:
Ihlara Valley, also known as Peristremma, is a 14 km deep gorge located in the southwest corner of Cappadocia, carved out of volcanic rock by the Melendiz River. You’ll find over 100 churches carved into the cliffs, as well as interesting paintings and frescoes. The Valley itself is also incredibly beautiful with vibrant green vegetation.
Goreme National Park
The Goreme National Park is the backbone of Cappadocia and is the area that most visitors to the region come to see. It’s home to the most well-known fairy chimneys and is also the most popular destination for hot air balloon rides.
Kaymakli Underground City
Kaymakli is the most famous underground city in Cappadocia and is considered by many to be the living history of Turkey. This underground settlement dates back to Hittite times and it was discovered in 1964. Inside, you’ll find a labyrinth of tunnels, rooms, kitchens and storage areas that were used to store food and provide shelter from enemy forces.
Uchisar Castle is the largest and highest point in Cappadocia, and its rocky pillars are a sight to behold. The entire area is filled with little caves and tunnels, allowing visitors to explore the fascinating architecture of the past.
Love Valley has earned its name due to the mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys that look like they’ve been put there as symbols of love. This area is known for its unique pink-tinted stone formations and its breathtaking panoramic views.
Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
A hot air balloon is the perfect way to to take in the stunning view of the fairy chimneys, pigeon houses and rolling hills of Cappadocia. Because the currents of air help you to ‘float’ across the landscape, it’s a great way to appreciate the awe-inspiring shapes and forms of Cappadocia’s fascinating geography from a bird’s-eye view.
There you have it – the science and beauty behind Turkey’s Cappadocia. This remarkable, UNESCO-listed region offers magnificent views of fairy chimneys, underground cities and other unique geological shapes, making it an unbeatable destination for an out-of-this-world adventure.