Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Ihlara Valley

Left Konya and headed to Cappadocia - again. Another full day on the buses.

This time I was aiming for a small village called Ihlara - a tricky place to reach on public transport.

I arrived just before sunset.

Sunset in Ihlara
Next morning I walked 2km down to the entrance of the valley.

Ihlara Valley is a 7km canyon cut into the dry Cappadocian wilderness by the Melendiz River. The floor of the gorge is lush and verdant. There are lots of rockcut Byzantine churches hidden in the vertical valley walls. It was a favourite place for early Christians to hide from Roman persecution.

To get to the valley floor I walked down the 360 steps of this staircase.

Entrance Staircase
The valley floor was ablaze with flowers and trees, the river was freezing, fast and bright. It was a wonderland. I expected to be met by Munchkins and see Winged Monkeys swoop by.

The valley was free of tour parties. I did a little lurking outside the churches, but I didn't really have to...

Non-essential lurking location

Some nice frescoes...

But the main pleasure here was the natural beauty of the valley rather than the religious art.

All in all I lurked outside 7-8 fine churches - this one had our old friend St George battling a three-headed serpent.

There were some farms in the valley too.

Finally, the canyon opened out and I passed some more of Cappadocia's famous fairy chimneys

It took 7 hours to get to Selime at the other end of the valley. A great day's walking though my neck was quite stiff by the end as I had been carrying my full pack all day.

Probably the best day's walk so far, and the most beautiful valley I've ever visited. Strongly recommended to anyone who visits Cappadocia.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, what an informative write up! My sister and I want to hike the length of the valley independently, but were wondering whether the paths/various entrances are well-marked, and also whether maps are necessary. If so, are they easy to get hold of from the various hotels etc?