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Kappadocia – The underground towns and the Ihlara valley

August 15th, 2011

On our second day in Kappadocia we went to see the underground towns and the valley of the Ihlara.

In the underground town of Kaymakli we employed an old man called Mustafa for showing us round, who told us very interesting stories.

There are many underground towns in the area, but only 8 can be visited and even in these only a few blocks.  These enormous underground systems were built in blocks, each according to the same plan, like a timber structure around a central pillar.We saw some living and storage rooms, then a few churches and cemeteries, and even some where animals lived. They had a serious ventilation system, the narrow horizontal walkways between the rooms were designed in a way that air could circulate along them.These underground town systems were carved out of the soft volcanic stone in order to hide from the enemy.Their inhabitants were christians, the enemy was always whoever was after them. In underground systems like these, tens of thousands could live sometimes for months on end.

Our guide told us that the undergound town of Kaymakli was never taken by the enemy and having seen it, I can well believe it.

We discovered the valley of the Ihlara with Yasar, Beyza, Burak and little Yusuf.

First we couldn’t find the path leading into the valley,  but once it became obvious that we came the wrong way, we walked up to a house where we got to know a really kind family. They were offering us water, fruit and when we asked them which way to go to see the valley, Yasar the head of the family beckoned to follow him.

He grabbed the arm of his 3 beautiful children, Beyza, Burak and little Yusuf, so all six of us left for the valley, like a large family.

This valley was more like a canyon, with a tourist path along the bottom of it, which follows the stream with clean water suitable for bathing, especially in the deeper bits.

Both sides of the valley are formed by rock walls where frequently you come across cave dwelllings and churches.


This whole landscape forms a fantastic whole, which we liked very much.


Down in the bottom of the valley there is green countryside, a lovely stream that invites you to have a dip in it, further up, if you climb up onto the rocks to the foot of the vertical crags, every metre offers you an entry into a church or into dark and exciting caves.

  1. Szempy
    August 17th, 2011 at 09:08 | #1

    Milyen szép helyeken jártok :)
    Kitartást, és élménydús utat :D

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