Cappadocia – Riding in the Land of Beautiful Horses
The Persians named the enchanted countryside of Cappadocia “Katpatuka”: “the land of the beautiful horses”. The inner Anatolian highland is a region of great beauty and one of the wonders of nature. Bizarre rock formations, tuff rocks eroded by wind and water with underground cities and numerous rock churches are reminiscent of a surreal lunar landscape. The breathtaking countryside and cultural heritage of Cappadocia have been taken under the protection of UNESCO, who made the region a World Heritage Site in 1985.
Visitors can best discover “the land of horses” on foot or by horse. At gentle tempo and in touch with nature, individual travellers can gain intimate insights into the enchanted world of fairy chimneys and rock gorges.
One person who fell in love with this country 15 years ago is Hubert Canal from Austria. In 1997, he bought an old farmhouse in the village of Ortahisar, near Ürgüp, moved there when he retired from work and reports in his blog (http://horseriding-ortahisar.blogspot.de) on his chosen primitive way of life in the Anatolian Mountains. Mr Canal offers travellers horseback rides, either as a day trip or an excursion lasting several days, as part of their visit to Ortahisar on their way through the Göreme National Park.
“For me, a riding tour is the most primordial and beautiful way of riding and in Cappadocia it is a particularly special experience. This region, with its fascinating countryside and culture, can only reveal its full beauty and variety either on foot, by bike and, even more beautifully, on the back of a donkey or a horse.”
Mr Canal leads his visitors through the valleys and elevated plains, equipped with plenty of supplies, weatherproof clothing, saddle bags and bridles. When a beauty spot comes along, it’s time to pause: the horses can graze and the riders enjoy a picnic. Fitness and a little riding experience are important because of the rough terrain, but nobody is driven too hard on the exploration tours.
Cappadocia is still a kind of “insider’s tip” today, nestled in the heart of Turkey, muses Hubert Canal.