Cappadocia forms a rough triangle, southeast of Ankara, between Nevsehir, Kayseri and Nigde, with the town of Urgup at the center. It makes a good base from which to explore the monastic villages, and also offers the best shopping in the region. The story of Cappadocia begins well over 10 million years ago, when the three most dominant peaks were active volcanoes. Subsequent eruptions dumped layers of mud, ash and lava on the area. Rain, snow and wind created a fantasy-land of rock formations, most of which resemble chimneys, cones, needles, pillars or pyramids, and often capped by perfectly balanced, gigantic slabs of rock. The earthquakes added vast valleys and oxidation to give the area the final artistic touch: rocks "painted" yellow, pink, red, russet and gray-violet. Also well worth a visit are the fresco Christian churches and the rock-cut underground cities.
Day 1: Transfer from your hotel in Istanbul to the airport in the late afternoon. Fly from Istanbul to Kayseri. Transfer to Urgup. Overnight in Urgup.
Day 2: Begin the day in Devrent Valley, followed by Zelve Open Air Museum, one of the most impressive monastery complexes in the area. Next, visit Pasabag (also known as Monk's Valley), followed by a short drive to Avanos, a village situated on the banks of Kizilirmak River, famous for its clay pottery. After a lunch break there, where you can also participate hands-on in a pottery work shop, you will proceed to the Göreme Open Air Museum, featuring the most impressive of all rock-carved churches in Cappadocia. The last stop-off will be at Uchisar Village, located next to a natural Citadel. Overnight in Urgup. Optional: Whirling Dervishes performance to Sufi music in an old Caravansarai.
Day 3: The day's first stop-off is at Red Valley, presenting an opportunity to hike through orchards and vineyards, between fairy chimneys and rock-carved houses. Continue the walk in Rose Valley. Afterward, visit the old Christian Village of Cavusin. Following a lunch break, visit Pigeon Valley, so named after the hundreds of little windows carved into the rocks to attract nesting pigeons. Then visit Kaymakli Underground City, Ortahisar Castle and Mustafapasa Village, an old Greek village also known as Sinasos. Transfer to Kayseri Airport and fly to Istanbul. Airport transfer to your hotel in Istanbul.
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Middle East Turkey Local Culture Sightseeing Cultural Journey