Cappadocia is a historic region of Turkey, set in central Anatolia, surrounded by the towns of Ürgüp, Göreme, Uçhisar, Avanos, and Mustafapaşa. Its most striking feature is the “moonscape” shaped by ancient volcanic eruptions and wind erosion. This process has formed caves, pinnacles, pillars and chimneys up to 130 feet high, creating a fairytale-like landscape made of soft volcanic rock. It is a very popular tourist destination, due to its many unique geological and cultural features.
There are many hikes you can take in this area, including climbing up the Uchisar castle, the highest point of Cappadocia, from which you can see some of the best panoramic views of the area. You will get the chance to explore many caves, the most famous of them being the Underground City of Derinkuyu. Built in the 7th and 8th centuries B.C, it used to be home to 20,000 people on its 16 levels. It was inhabited until the early 20th century, but now it serves as a museum.
While in Cappadocia, you should also make time to visit the Goreme Open Air Museum. Created as a Byzantine monastic settlement in the 9th century, and later becoming a pilgrimage site in the 17th century, the complex contains more than 30 churches and chapels carved from rock. Some of them still contain intact Byzantine frescoes and other pieces of art.
One of the most popular activities that attract thousands of tourists to this place every year is the hot-air ballooning. Every day, right after sunrise, hundreds of air balloons are let out into the sky at the same time. This can be a beautiful sight to watch from terraces and rooftops of numerous cave hotels, but it’s even more magical if you experience the ride yourself. Seeing the unique scenery of Cappadocia from this vantage point is an unforgettable experience.