Perhaps most well-known from above, Turkey’s Cappadocia, famous for hot-air ballooning, is equally as scenic on land. The region covers five Turkish states, but at its heart lie the neighborhoods of Göreme, Uçhısar and Avanos. Center your land-based visit to Cappadocia in these areas and discover there’s more to love in the region than just the views from on high.
Begin in the land of fairy chimneys at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Göreme National Park, an open-air museum boasting the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia. The rock-cut churches include frescoes and paintings from the 10th–13th centuries. In all, the park features 15 churches, seven refectories, various tombs and cellars.
Dig deeper at Kaymakli. Here visitors explore a complex underground city with seven layers, from rooms for grain storage and stabling animals to wine aging and cooking.
Between Göreme and Uçhısar is Güvercinlik, or Pigeon Valley — so named for the multitude of dovecotes or pigeon houses carved into the rock, the pigeons’ droppings providing a valuable resource for neighboring farmers. A 2.5-mile trail offers hiking opportunities through the area with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Pre- or post-hike, visit the Citadel of Uçhısar, situated on the highest point in Cappadocia.
The longest river in Turkey, Kızılırmak, or Red River, separates Avanos from the rest of Cappadocia. The production of earthenware pottery in the town dates to the Hittites; relevant still today, the craft utilizes the red silt of the river.
Güray Müze joined the well-known Güray Ceramic workshop in April 2014 as a museum dedicated to the history of ceramics in Avanos. The first section of the museum houses originals from Anatolia from the beginning of production until the 20th century. Works of last-century artists are showcased in the next section before guests enter a cultural center where artists can promote their works across a number of different mediums. The Güray Ceramic workshop offers an up-close look at the production of these works of art, as well as the opportunity to bring home a piece of the fairy-tale land of Cappadocia.
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