Most people’s image of Turkey is not unlike most people’s image of Spain — sun, sea, sand and value-for-money holidays. Turkey offers all that of course but there is another side altogether which travelers often don’t get to see and that’s because no one ever tells them about it and that’s the Turkey of fairy chimneys, underground cities, ancient christian churches carved into the living rock and of course hospitable people who are extremely proud of their country, it’s amazing history and their command of the English language! In much the same way that it can be said that Ireland is so much more than its capital city, the same can also be said of Turkey which is so much more than the sum of its collective parts. In Cappadocia, one can retrace the early steps made by the apostles and their disciples as they they hid from the Romans and anyone else that happened to be persecuting them at the time. Many of them sought refuge by carving out intricate caves, passageways and redoubts amongst the soft rock that characterizes so much of this part of central Turkey, where the landscape is literally peppered with the remains of more than 100 underground cities of antiquity — with just two of them so far having been excavated to any degree!
Derinkiyu is perhaps the most famous example where as many as 10,000 lived underground in a complex warren of interconnecting rooms, shafts, stairwells and passageways that go down as many as ten stories beneath ground level. The ingenuity of the local people can also be experienced by discerning travelers who elect to stay at one of the regions many cave hotels, an example room of which is featured on the accompanying photograph. Stay tuned as we will reveal more in follow-up blogs.