Turkey: Cappadocia: Land of the Beautiful Horses
Discover a landscape and its cultural treasures that even an active imagination would be hard pressed to conceive of.
You will be met at the airport by your guide. Spend the day exploring the valleys, canyons and hills of Cappadocia, an ancient Persian name meaning “land of the beautiful horses.” Located on the main route of the old Silk Road, this lava-covered plain has been eroded over thousands of years into a fabulous landscape of outcrops, caves and grottos. Visit the bizarre Fairy Chimneys, the historical towns of Urgup and Mustafapasa, and the gorgeous landscape of Pigeon Valley.
Check in to your stylish cave hotel.
This evening we will suggest dining options where you can sample dishes from the local cuisine such as “manti,” the Turkish ravioli specialty of the Kayseri area, and a local wine.
After breakfast, set off with your guide on a scenic hike through the hidden valley of Kizilcukur and onward to Cavusin. The landscape is a patchwork composed of gorgeous colors of ochre rock, contrasting with the green ribbons of apricot orchards.
For a hearty lunch, perhaps you might wish to sample another specialty of this region, Mercimek Corbasi, the famous Turkish red lentil soup.
In the afternoon, you will visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, a Unesco World Heritage Site, world-famous for its Byzantine churches cut into the rock face. These early Christian churches contain a dazzling array of vivid frescoes, depicting scenes from the Bible, from the life of Christ, and from the mythological and creative imagination of the painters.
Meet your guide this morning and head off to visit the town of Avanos located on the banks of the Kizilirmak River. Known for its colorful ceramic tiles and red-clay pottery, in which much of the local cuisine is cooked, Avanos has been at the center of Anatolian craftwork for centuries. A short distance from Avanos is your next stop, the underground city of Ozkonak. Built to protect the local population from raids, Ozkonak is an ancient version of a modern bomb shelter.
Late this afternoon you will attend a performance of the Mevlevis, the whirling Dervishes, who belong to one of the Sufi mystical sects of Islam. This deeply spiritual performance takes place in a 13th century caravanserai built on the old Silk Route and used, long ago, by the passing camel caravans.
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight.
This is just the beginning.
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