But At Minus Ten, it’s a Heat Wave!
19th December 2016
The landscape of Cappadocia was formed over thirty-million years ago, when erupting volcanoes blanketed the area in ash. The ash solidified into an easily eroded material called Tuff, overlain in places by hard volcanic rock. Over time, the tuff was worn away, creating distinctive formations, such as the Fairy chimneys, Mushroom shapes, and long and tall tower shaped rocks.
However, the area we were in is only famous for its close proximity to the Ihlara valley, which spreads over a long 15km area, and the many rock churches, cathedrals and monastery’s, which are all built into the rocks.
To many, the valley is much more compelling then the simply incredible rock formations. However, when we took the dogs for a walk in the valley, we all immediately noticed its dramatic setting.
The main part of the valley lies between the small villages of Selime to the south, and the village of Ihlara to the north. The valley has around 60 churches and chapels, which have been cut straight into the rock face. Many have beautifully decorated frescos, which-(although not in pristine condition)-, can still be seen. Though, this isn’t surprising since most of the churches date back from the 11th century. Most of the frescos depict the lives of saints, monks, and scenes from the bible.
Whilst walking in the valley, It was very pleasant to walk in the crisp snow with the beautiful sound of the trees rustling in the wind, and to the soothing sound of the rushing water, coming from the Melendiz River.
During the summer, you’d be surrounded by a rich wildlife of lizards, frogs, butterflies, birds and sometimes eagles and other mammals like lambs and sheep. However whilst walking in the deep, freezing snow in -11 degrees, there was no wildlife to be seen, apart from the occasional sound of a donkey, and the nonstop sound of a dog barking.
The canyon was created by the cracking and collapsing which occurred as a result of basalt and andesite lava from Mount Hasandag’s eruption. The Melendiz river found its way through these cracks, eroding the canyon bed and helping to form canyon we see today. The Melendiz river used to be called “Potamus Kapadukus”meaning the River of Cappadocia.
After exploring the intresting and beautiful valley, we continued on our adventure, walking back up the 400 steps, and going to the Catlak restaurant for a late lunc and their super hospitality.
After having some lunch, we went with the owner of the restaurant to explore a popular destination amongst…..Star Wars fans!-(Cue Star Wars theme).
Many people visit the site since apparently, George Lucas got inspiration from the landscape. However, it didn’t actually feature in any of the Star Wars films as the Turkish government at that time refused him rights to film there. Cappadocia’s desert-like landscape, complete with houses, shops and other ‘buildings’ carved straight out of the cliffs and mountains, looks so incredibly other-worldly it could have come straight from the Star Wars universe.
We then explored some more cave house, before heading back to the hotel, and getting a good nights rest, ready for the next trip….Goreme.