The tour starts at 9.30 AM with a pick up from your hotel in Cappadocia.
First stop of the tour is Ortahisar Castle. Hisar, in Turkish, means castle, and the highest point in the area. Ortahisar is natural stone fortress, which you can climb for an amazing panoramic view. Next stop of the tour is Mustafapaşa (an old Greek town). Mustafapaşa has been called ‘the undiscovered gem of Cappadocia ‘. Mustafapaşa was Greek town until the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey took place following the First World War. Greeks left some fine and diverse architecture, a grand church and “The Medrese” Islamic College). The Medrese has swivelling columns by the main door. The tour continues with Keşlik Monastery where the two sides seem to have lived side by side. The monastery is partly decorated in the traditional style and partly with geometric patterns, the only decoration allowed by the iconoclasts. Next stop is Taşkınpaşa.
You have all heard of tiny places that developed into big important centres.Taşkınpaşa went the other way. In the 14ᵗʰ century under Karamanian rule this was a place to be reckoned with, now it’s a small, sleepy village. But some interesting signs of its former glory remain. The little mosque, and the Turbe tombs outside, is rare examples of Ottoman architecture. The mimbar (pulpit) and mihrap (where the Koran was kept) are masterpieces in the wood carving, so they are now in Ankara museum. Next stop of the tour is Sobesos. Near the village of Şahinefendi is a very new archaeological site. So new. It includes a Roman bath, tombs and what appears to be Byzantine Chapel built on top of a Roman Temple. The mosaic floors are largely intact and very beautiful.
Next stop is Soğanlı Village and Valleys. This is one of the most strikingly beautiful places in Cappadocia. Its name means with onion in modern Turkish. Two valleys meet at the village, which has been in existence since Roman times and which was once an important monastic retreat. The monks of Soğanlı were famous for their wine. They relied heavily on pigeons for fertiliser for their grapes and you can see many pigeon houses among the fairy chimneys. You will walk the valleys and discover the churches, and the even older Roman graves, usually in solitude since Soğanlı is so out of the way and rarely visited. In the Soğanlı Village centre you will find dolls, gloves and socks made by village women for sale.
After Soğanlı, we are heading to Derinkuyu underground city. The underground cities were complete with wells, chimneys for air circulation and niches for oil lamps, stores, water tanks, stables and places to store the dead until they could be taken out and buried. Most importantly carefully balanced moving stone doors, resembling millstones, were devised to quickly block the entrances in the event of an attack. Of course these doors opened from one side only!
After visiting all levels of this unique underground city, we are leaving for Pigeon valley. All around this area you can see pigeon houses. The sides of some fairy chimneys have fallen away and you can see inside where the rows of ‘pigeon holes’ have been carved into the rock. The entrances are often decorated to attract the birds. Some are simply surrounded by white point; others are intricate and colourful examples of Islamic art.
Next to Pigeon valley we’ll see onyx and semi-precious stones worked into jewellery and ornaments.
Last stop of the tour is Göreme Panorama– the best place from which to photograph Göreme and its surroundings.
You will return to your hotel at around 17:30 – 18:00 with full of happy memories from your day.