In this page you can find a detailed description of Cappadocia’s main towns, valleys, underground cities and museums. Hope you enjoy it and please feel free to contact us for any question you may have!
With its more than 80.000 inhabitants, Nevşehir is the capital of the province and most “developed” place around. The city is home to one domestic Airport with daily flights from and to Istanbul, as well as other locations. You may also find two malls, a public and a private hospital.
Nevşehir can be considered a “dormitory city” by the local population due to its role on people’s lives. While other cities of the region were taken by the tourism sector and its services; Nevşehir became the home of those who work on this business and it does not match, by any meanings, the topographical characteristics of its neighbors Uçhisar, Göreme and others.
Recently local authorities found at Nevşehir downtown; another underground city which is expected to be the world’s biggest one. This archaeological treasure is already been explored and in a few years it may be open for visiting; a fact that will probably increase not only the number of tourists around but also the economy itself.
If you’re hungry for an authentic Indiana Jones type of adventure and can not wait until the Nevşehir excavation is complete, don’t worry: there are other three available underground cities to see, just some kilometers away!
● Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV): http://www.kapadokya.dhmi.gov.tr
● Nissara Mall: http://nissaraavm.com/
● Forum Kapadokya Mall: http://www.forum-kapadokya.com/
● Nevşehir State Hospital: http://www.nevsehirdh.gov.tr/
● Special Versa Hospital: http://www.versahastanesi.com.tr/
A little town known for being the highest spot of the entire Cappadocia and home of an imposing natural rock castle from which the city was named after.
This place is one of the most quiet and relaxing ones all around the region due to the elevated number of luxury, high class boutique hotels and resorts occupying its streets.
Need an example? The one and only “Relais & Chateux” approved property in Turkey, it’s in Uchisar.
The privileged view you can get from any point of Uçhisar is one of the reasons why some of Cappadocia’s most famous hotel brands decided to root their head offices there.
Walking around the town you can also find excellent restaurants and cafes, as well as a drugstore, convenience stores and cabstands.
If you’re fascinated by those instagram photos of people posing by the side of a tree covered in evil eyes; know that you can do this yourself!
The famous tree is part of Uchisar’s Pigeon Valley (Güvercinlik Vadisi); a beautiful area with 4 km of territory which connects Uçhisar to Göreme.
The name “Pigeon Valley” was given to the valley due to the numerous bird nests carved into the rocks. The ancient local population used to collect and use Pigeons’ excrements as fertilizer to their fields.
● Uçhisar City Hall: http://www.uchisar.bel.tr/
The most popular and famous town of Cappadocia is home to many hotels, hostels and pensions from different categories and price ranges, a lot of cafes, pubs and restaurants as well as the operational offices of hot air balloon companies.
This “trendy” town is considered to be the busiest one among all others and it's frequently featured in Tv shows all around the world - have you ever heard of a lovely family called “The Flintstones”?
Besides its huge “instagrammable” potential; Göreme is the guardian of many historical sights and archeological gems; all very accessible and safe to explore. The town was registered as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in 1985 and ever since that date, it has been visited by many people who are interested on its cave churches and frescoes from the 10th to 12th centuries.
● Göreme’s Official Page (UNESCO website): https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/357
● Göreme City Hall: http://www.goreme.bel.tr/tr
● Göreme Open Air Museum: https://www.muze.gov.tr/tr/muzeler/goreme-acik-hava-muzesi-goreme-orenyeri
This is for sure the shyest town of Cappadocia. Ortahisar took long to embrace its touristic potential; which is actually a fantastic characteristic that created a totally genuine “Cappadocian” atmosphere for those who visit it.
As the city is still taking the first steps towards globalization; it’s common to see the contrast between locals living their simple lives while tourists wander around looking for some adventure. This authenticity is very dear to people who prefer to dive into local culture rather than just experience it partially.
Like Uçhisar, the town was named after a natural rock castle called Ortahisar. This castle is known as the world’s tallest natural skyscraper and it’s open for visitors.
While there you may visit the Ethnography Museum as well as the Ortahisar Panorama for incredible photos or just a coffee with a gorgeous view.
● Ortahisar Culture Museum: http://www.culturemuseum.com
● Ortahisar City Hall: https://ortahisar.bel.tr/
Famous for its nightlife which is slightly more “lively” than on the other towns; Ürgüp is home to high quality hotels, nice restaurants, a small yet cute commercial area and some interesting locations once used as Tv sets for national soap operas.
I personally consider Ürgüp as the “hipster” part of Cappadocia due to its nice blend between anatolian traditions and “western style” facilities.
● Ürgüp City Hall: http://www.urgup.bel.tr/
Known as the Greek Village of Cappadocia; Mustafapaşa was once called Sinasos and it’s a true time travel in real life.
This town has its architecture directly attached to the Greek Orthodox history, during a period where Turks and Greeks were still sharing the same land, way before the war who sent each person to their respective country of origin.
Nowadays Mustafapaşa is home to a University, restored cave and stone hotels, antique style greek mansions, simple restaurants and cafes; as well as the ancient Saint Nicholas Church.
● Mustafapaşa University: https://www.kapadokya.edu.tr/
The town where the art of pottery is still carried and practiced the same way they did thousands of years ago; it’s also where the only McDonalds branch of Cappadocia is.
Avanos is famous for the Red River which cuts the town and it’s the main source of clay extraction for ceramic production.
Talking about pottery; the town’s economy is based on this form of art and one of the greatest things to do once you visit the area is to join a workshop and learn how to produce your own pottery masterpiece using the same techniques as the Hittites.
If you’re not a fan of arts and crafts, you may spend your time by the river eating a nice fish fillet, visit some cafes, stay at one of their chain hotels and step by the Hair Museum.
Yes, that’s right: there is a museum entirely dedicated to collect and display female hair.
● Hair Museum: https://www.chezgalip.com/the-hair-museum-of-avanos/
Other Towns To Visit:
● Çavuşin: Right on the way between Göreme and Avanos; Çavuşin is a small and peaceful village with a few cave hotels for those who expect the quietest accommodation possible. The town is home to a huge ancient rock formation which was partially destroyed by natural causes in 1963. This accident was the sad end of one of oldest cave churches in Cappadocia.
● Güzelyurt: Home to three small sized underground cities and more than 50 cave churches; the ancient Greek styled village is a tiny piece of extra beauty placed in a calm area of Cappadocia.
● Devrent Valley: Also known as “Imagination Valley”, this curious place is composed by different rock formations which were sculpted by nature in impressive shapes and figures such as a camel, a duck and many others.
● Paşabağ: The place where you can find the biggest amount of Fairy Chimneys was once called “Monk’s Valley” and nowadays is a must see on everybody’s list.
● Soğanlı: An amazing valley known for its traditional handcrafted dolls produced by the local ladies. It also has cave churches covered in frescoes and open for visitors; as well as plenty of space for those who enjoy hiking.
● Ihlara Valley: Located in the Aksaray city surroundings; this 16 km long canyon is a piece of green nature and fresh air; ready to be explored. Besides the river that flows down there; you can also find Byzantine cave churches open for visitors.
● Love Valley: the name may be romantic, however the reason is a little bit more to the phallic side. This beautiful open air concentration of fairy chimneys was given this title due to the large quantity of “funny erected shaped” rocks.
● Red Valley: one of the most interesting valleys to walk through or camp. The different tones of reddish rocks are the reason of the Valley’s name.
● Rose Valley: a large valley composed by small valleys; which received this name the same way as the Red Valley did: by its color. Cave churches and archeological treasures are easy to find.
● Uzengi Valley: This 4 km wide valley is home to some beautiful fresh spring water sources, as well as rock carved bird nests and apricot fields.
● Derinkuyu: the 5 floor underground city was built as a shelter during the beginning and popularization of Christianism. Specialists believe that this construction dates from the 9th and 10th centuries and at some point became home to almost 20.000 people. To meet the needs of its inhabitants, the underground city had a sophisticated ventilation system as well as different rooms, food stock and a chapel.
● Kaymaklı: although this one is smaller than Derinkuyu in terms of levels; Kaymaklı has larger floors and it’s closer to reach by car than Derinkuyu. The reason of the construction was the same, except for the period. Kaymaklı is known to date from the 13th century and it’s doors were open for visitors in 1964. Despite the architectural differences and narrow corridors; Kaymaklı is composed by different rooms, a chapel, a winery, huge stone doors for emergencies, food storage areas and a “maze” atmosphere.
● Özkonak: discovered in 1972; Özkonak underground city has just one enter and it was entirely built into volcanic granite. The structure is composed by ten rooms, a well crafted ventilation system as well as other facilities. As Özkonak was recently discovered, big part of its levels are still closed for tourists. Meanwhile the authorities and specialists keep working on the preservation of the area.
Other Small Underground Cities are: Tatlarin, Mazi and Gaziemer.
More Interesting Places To Visit:
● Zelve Open Air Museum: Originally an antique type of “rock condo” for those who lived in Cappadocia thousands of years ago; Zelve was still inhabited up to 1950’s when the local population decided to abandon the area due to imminent danger related to rock collapses. Nowadays the so called “Ghost Town” is a protected and well preserved park and museum where it’s possible to find cave houses, cave churches and even a mosque.
● Saruhan Kervansaray: Once upon a time, during the “silk route” era, this place was used as a hotel for salesmen who were on their way to Constantinopla for trading. The place offered not only drink, food and comfort but also protection against thieves who could possibly loot your load and run away. Nowadays Saruhan is the stage for one of Cappadocia’s best Whirling Dervishes performances and it’s open everyday for visitors.
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