Turkey is a delight and we don’t mean the stuffed one (pun intended). A richly historical land with some of the best cuisine you will ever taste, Turkey is a treasure trove of fascinating scenery from beaches to mountains and the great city of Istanbul. Every year thousands of tourists flock around in this charismatic land to explore its many charms.
One such place is Cappadocia & its fairy chimneys. Cappadocia, a dreamy slice of central Turkey is dotted with 'fairy chimneys' (rock formations). It has a history every bit as remarkable as its landscape. Volcanic eruptions created this surreal moonscape: the lava flows formed tuff rock, which wind and rain sculpted into sinuous valleys with curvy cliff faces and pointy fairy chimneys. Cappadocians chiselled homes in the soft rock, paving the way for cave-dwelling hippies and today’s boutique fairy-chimney hotels. Sculpted with the brilliance of a master artisan it is one of the most popular destinations in all of Turkey. Tours by hot air balloon float silently over the astonishing fairy chimneys. The soft volcanic rock formations rise up to meet you, offering staggering views.
Cappadocia has unique cultural and historical heritage. During early Christian times, people fled to Cappadocia and carved out an underground city from the volcanic rock. Today we are left with a network of buildings and constructs ranging from store rooms to underground wine production chambers. Tours through the fairy chimneys can only hint at one of the most complex manmade wonders of our world.
You can stay in a rock hotel, eat in a rock restaurant and live like a troglodyte (caveman) in Cappadocia. People live in the “fairy chimneys” and also use others for storerooms. Here, cozy guestrooms come scooped out of the soft volcanic rock that defines Cappadocia’s distinctive geography, with its age-old stone pillars and elaborate network of such ancient troglodyte dwellings. Before starting life as a guesthouse in 2005, these caves once served as part of a 1,500-year-old Byzantine cave monastery, and, later, as general housing for local Turkish families. Frills are few, but thrills come in the form of the property’s charmingly authentic cave rooms and splendid terrace views.
Set on the upper edge of town away from much of its hubbub (yet less than a 10-minute walk to Göreme’s center), at the border of protected national park area, dreamy views here expand over Cappadocia’s dizzying display of nature, pocked by the fairy chimneys. The cave hotel’s generous terraces provide prime perches for taking in the wonderfully weird rock formations, with stellar sunsets proving especially mesmerizing.
Apart from fairy chimney’s, here are the 3 main reasons why Turkey is a ‘must visit’ place.
Blue Mosque – A piece of history
The real name of the mosque is Sultan Ahmet Mosque, which just so happens to be the name of one of the greatest Sultans of the Ottoman Empire .It is often referred to as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles that line the walls of its interior.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the first of the two mosques in Turkey that has six minarets. When the number of minarets was initially revealed, the Sultan was criticized for being presumptuous, since this was the same amount of minarets as the mosque of the Ka’aba in Mecca. He overcame this problem by ordering a seventh minaret to be built at the Mecca mosque. The most fascinating part about the Blue Mosque is that when you are directly facing the Mosque, it appears to only have six minarets. You need to be standing at a certain angle to see all seven minarets!
A typical Turkish bath begins with relaxation in a room (known as the warm room) that is heated by a continuous flow of hot, dry air, allowing the bather to perspire freely. Bathers then move to an even hotter room (known as the hot room) before they wash in cold water. After performing a full body wash and receiving a massage, bathers finally retire to the cooling room for a period of relaxation.
It is truly a delectable experience. Turkish cuisine varies across the different regions of the country. The cooking of Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir, and rest of the Aegean region inherits many elements of Ottoman court cuisine. Typically, there is a lighter use of spices, a preference for rice over bulgur, koftes and a wider availability of vegetables, stew eggplant, stuffed dolmades (grape leaves) and fish. The cuisine of the Black Sea Region uses fish extensively, especially the Black Sea anchovy (hamsi), has been influenced by Balkan and Slavic cuisine, and includes many maize dishes. The cuisine of the southeast -Urfa, Gaziantep and Adana- is famous for its variety of kebabs, mezes and dough-based desserts such as baklava, kadayıf and künefe.
Turkey's charm lies somewhere between its stunning landscapes; the constant surprises provided by its storied history; and the hearty locals, who are always ready to chat over a çay or Efes beer. As the old Turkish saying goes: 'A cup of coffee commits one to 40 years of friendship.' This proverb nails the addictive qualities of the Turkish lifestyle, enjoyed by people who are blessed with a land of ancient bazaars and sandy beaches, magnificent ruins and soaring mountains – and who are keen to make sure visitors love it as much as they do.
Get ready to get your fill of this land of fairy chimneys. We are sure you would want to return again.
Team Veena world