Thursday, 9 May 2013

Stone And Sky

From Egirdir I went east again to the city of Konya the home of the Whirling Dervishes. Unfortunately, I arrived on a Tuesday and the dervishes only perform publicly on Saturdays, so I had to improvise. I decided Konya wasn't interesting enough for a four day visit and that I should head to Cappadocia for 3 days and return to Konya on Saturday.

I hadn't really looked into Cappadocia yet so wasn't sure where to go or where to stay. On the way there I met two elderly French hikers who advised me to avoid the famous village of Goreme and head for the quieter (and cheaper) Uchisar near by.

I agreed and headed for the cheapest recommended pensiyon in The Lonely Planet guidebook. The manager told me they were completely full because high season was just starting. I asked him if he knew somewhere else I could stay and he surprised me by offering me his house.

"But where will you stay if I'm in your house?"
"No problem. I have two houses."

So, his son drove me to one of his houses, showed me around, gave me the key and left me to it. It was a beautiful stone house - even the sofa and kitchen table were made of stone.

 The house was located right next to Uchisar castle and had a patio with a perfect view of Mt Erciyes. I couldn't believe my luck.

"My patio" and Uchisar Castle

Mt Erciyes hiding behind clouds
What to say about Cappadocia? Well, it's geologically unique first of all and was created by lava flows from Mt Erciyes long, long ago. Lunar looking valleys of white, yellow or pink stone and weird stone towers known as "fairy castles" have been created by differential wind erosion of stone that is so soft it can actually be rubbed away by hand.
Cappadocia was a long time favourite place to hide for persecuted Christians who carved out whole underground cities here complete with churches covered in colourful frescoes. Many local people still live in fairy castles to this day.

Currently inhabited Fairy Castle
Custom built cave house
Walls and furniture carved from the rockface

During my investigation of the fairy castles I was grabbed by a local resident and given a grand tour of his place that resulted in him sticking a fez on my head and taking this picture.

Later that afternoon the sky changed dramatically and a huge storm drove across the plains towards Uchisar. It cut short the sightseeing but made for a nice sunset and a dramatic end to a surprising day.

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