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Cappadocia – a trip to another world

Cappadocia is a very special holiday destination where you can discover many underground cities with churches and monasteries. The landscape above the ground with its “fairy chimneys” and the churches carved from the rock are also worth seeing. If unusual buildings and an exciting culture appeal to you, a round trip through this region is definitely a good choice. Cappadocia is also attractive for hikers and mountaineers.

A journey of discovery in Cappadocia also combines well with a beach holiday on the Turkish Riviera – seaside resorts such as Antalya offer various day tours. Cappadocia is a unique experience, so book your direct flight with SunExpress!

The origins of Cappadocia's tufa landscape

Cappadocia lies on a plateau with an altitude of between 1,000m and 1,300m, in the middle of Türkiye (Turkey), in the south-eastern part of Central Anatolia. In this area, there are two volcanoes: the Hasan Dağı at 3,253m high and the Erciyes Dağı, which is slightly more than 3,900m high. These two volcanoes were responsible for the emergence of the unusual landscape when they hurled tufa ash across the land during eruptions. Over time, this changed into tufa and was eroded by rainwater and the winds into conical or columnar formations – the so-called “fairy chimneys”. Tufa can also be easily processed by people. In former times, they carved caves into the rock to live in, hiding from their enemies during the persecution of Christians. Monks eventually built complete subterranean cities with residential areas, monasteries and churches, some of which were frescoed. They are still well preserved and date from the 5th to the 14th century.

Subterranean cities: Göreme and Derinkuyu

A real highlight of a trip to Cappadocia is a visit to an underground city. The huge cave system at the Göreme open-air museum, which, like the rest of this unusual area, was declared a World Cultural Heritage site, is of particular interest, with large churches featuring columns and high vaults. The underground city of Derinkuyu, which was built eight floors deep into the rock, is also fascinating; here visitors can learn how these cities were ventilated. Derinkuyu was a town of the Hittite people, who lived in Cappadocia in the third millennium before Christ; there are also numerous buildings to be admired above ground. In the Ihlara Valley, a canyon 150m deep and almost 15km long, there are about 50 rock churches with artistically decorated interiors. Holidaymakers in Cappadocia can even stay in hotels that have been constructed within the rock, and learn how to live inside the tufa.

Besides its interesting landscape, Cappadocia boasts beautiful cities such as Kayseri, at the foot of the Erciyes Dağı volcano, with several mosques, a large citadel and a 13th-century mausoleum. If you like climbing mountains, you can take a trip from Kayseri to the extinct volcano. Warm clothing is recommended, as even in the summer months, snow often lies on the summit. The city of Ürgüp in the province of Nevşehir is another attractive destination on a trip through Cappadocia, where many so-called “fairy chimneys” can be seen in the surrounding landscape. In former times, they were believed to be the dwellings of fairies; these structures give the Catalkaya Valley the appearance of a lunar landscape. Avanos, a city in the province of the same name, is another popular tourist destination. Nearby is the village of Özkonak with an underground city; Avanos is also known for its many potteries.

The best time to fly to Cappadocia

In the summer months, it can get very hot in Cappadocia, so the best times to travel are the months of April to June and September to November. The best way to get there is to fly to Kayseri Airport (ASR): if your hotel does not offer a transfer, buses run from there to the city centre. If you want to travel to Cappadocia, you can also book a flight to Konya (KYA), Ankara (ESB) or Istanbul. A flight to Konya (KYA) provides a good opportunity to watch the dance ritual of the dervishes; there are regular dance performances. Other attractions to discover in this city are the two mosques, two Koran schools and the Kubadabad Palace.

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