Traces of Cappadocia 3

göreme open air museum

Destinations:
• Pigeon Valley Panorama
• Ortahisar
• Keshlik monastery
• Mustafapaşa
• Göreme Open Air Museum

itinenary:

Pigeon Valley Panorama:  This is a valley that has become quite popular with hikers. It is known by many names (Valley of the Pigeon Lofts, Dovecote Valley, Pigeon Valley) but they all refer to the thousands of pigeon houses that have been carved into the soft tufa since ancient times. They were carved wherever space allowed including abandoned caves and the walls of collapsed churches. In Cappadocia, pigeons have long been a source of food and fertilizer.

Ortahisar: Ortahisar  can be reached by turning right at the 15th km on the Nevşehir road, Ortahisar is famous for its friendly inhabitants, picturesque stone houses both old and new, narrow streets and lovely churches as well as the castle-like rock formation after which the town is named. The natural fortress, 90 m high, a prominant landmark in the region, honeycombed with caves and tunnels, camouflaged by nature without the slightest indication of human presence inside, has partly crumbled away, revealing some of its interior. It offers a magnificent panorama over the fairy chimneys of Hallaçdere and Mt. Erciyes. An underground passage links it to İshak Kale , which rises at a distance of about 350 m. From the foot of the castle the town descends right into a deep ravine.

Keşlik Monastery:  It is located close to Mustafapaşa. The monastery was built in volcanic tuff stone and used in the Byzantine era until the end of the Ottoman Empire (1920s). Keshlik Monastery has retained two churches and its refectory. Unfortunately the frescoes in this church have been blackened with smoke over the centuries and are difficult to make out. The most beautiful frescoes, painted in shades of bright yellow and orange, can be seen in this church. Inside there is a safe room and when they were in danger, they could close the door by a big and heavy millstone and escape through a tunnel under the monastery and garden.

Mustafapaşa: In the strange and wonderful landscape of Cappadocia is the old, tranquil and picturesque town of Mustafapaşa 5 km from Urgup and 10 km from Goreme. Known formerly as "Sinassos", this is a small town of 2500 inhabitants where originally Turks and Greeks lived side by side, and the sound of church bells mingled with the call to prayer from the mosque.

Göreme Open Air Museum:  The Goreme Open-Air Museum resembles a vast monastic complex composed  of scores of refectory monasteries placed side-by-side, each with its own fantastic church. It is obviously the first sight to be visited by any traveler in Cappadocia, standing as it does in the very center of the region with easy access from all directions. It contains the finest of the rock-cut churches, with beautiful frescoes (wall paintings) whose colors still retain all their original freshness. It also presents unique examples of rock hewn architecture and fresco technique. The Goreme Open Air Museum has been a member of UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984, and was one of the first two UNESCO sites in Turkey.


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