Cappadocia is generally regarded as the plains and the mountainous region of eastern central Anatolia around the upper and middle reaches of the Kizilirmak river (Red River). It was here that several ancient highways crossed and different cultures came into contact with each other.
The origins of this unusual region can be traced to the Tertiary period some 50 million years ago when craters and chimneys dominated the landscape. Since then huge quantities of volcanic material have spewed out of the many volcanoes. Forces of erosion have shaped the incredible and unique Cappadocian tuff-coned landscape. For hundreds of years, men have dug into the soft but firm tuff to create dwellings, monasteries, churches, and underground cities. Much of the area is today a UNESCO world heritage site.
Throughout ancient times the population of Cappadocia needed safe places of refuge, something that an underground city was able to provide. It is believed that there were at least 36 underground cities across Cappadocia. The deepest discovered to date is Derinkuyu, which was found in the 1960s, and is believed to date back to at least the 8th century BC.
There are also a number of other underground cities in Cappadocia. Kaymakli is another huge complex that you can visit. Another massive city was discovered in 2014 in Nevşehir, which will likely open to the public soon.
The Cappadocia region has no shortage of beautiful valleys to look at, but one of the favorites is definitely Love Valley. Love Valley is famous for the huge fairy chimney rock formations that are found throughout the valley, and it has long been a popular destination for lovers. You can hike in the valley itself, or just admire the view across the valley from the large viewing area on the valley rim.
Cappadocia is also well known as one of the best places in the world to take a hot air balloon flight. From the air, you get a truly wonderful bird’s eye view of the landscape. The majority of balloon flights take place near the town of Göreme.
Turkey is famous for its bazaars. If you’d like to see the seasonal produce, spices, and other goods that are on sale, then visiting one of Cappadocia’s outdoor markets is a great way to do so. Although they generally run late in the afternoon, the best time to visit is in the morning when there is likely to be more fresh produce available.