Turkey Photography Guide Part 3 - Cappadocia and Göreme
Written and Photographed by Mike Lindle
This mystical region in Turkey is like non-other. Having had the opportunity to explore the region back in 2014, I fell in love with the daily displays of hot air balloons, insane rock structures, caves carved by fleeing christians from Roman Soldiers, beautiful hiking in the valleys, and the region’s wine tasting. What more could you need out of a getaway? Göreme is at the heart of Cappadocia.
To ensure the best possible day trip and explore the region easily, make sure to book the Green Tour (~$60). It is a a paid-excursion that covers lunch and transportation through some of the region’s most noteworthy destinations like Pigeon Valley, Ihlara Valley, Selime Monasery and a few others. You can book directly through your hotel once in town.
Part 3 - Cappadocia / Göreme
Sunrise Views of the Hot Air Balloons
A short sunrise walk from Göreme to this location will offer sweeping views of the surrounding valley as well as the daily display of hot air balloons launching. Göreme is a special location in Cappadocia since during the busy-season nearly 150 hot air balloons take off each morning.
A special town with a population of about 2000 permanent residents. Göreme is located in the Nevşehir Province in Central Anatolia, also known worldwide as Cappadocia. It is perhaps best known as the central hub for tourism in the region, touting excellent views of nearby cave dwellings, fairy chimneys, and underground monasteries carved by fleeing christians during the byzantine period. In 1985, Göreme National Park joined the UNESCO World Heritage roster.
Pigeon Valley (Map to O Ağacın Altı Cafe)
You do not need to stop at the cafe to enjoy the view, it’s apparently infamous for being a tourist trap. Though this location is nestled right on top of a ridge between Uçhisar and Göreme. From up here you can look out on Pigeon Valley watch as the clouds roll over. There are other merchants offering ice cream / knick-knacks up there as well.
This monastery housed at various points throughout history the Hittite, Assyrian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Danişment, Seljuk and Ottoman civilizations. The monastery is dated back to the 8th and 9th centuries, though the paintings and frescoes inside date back to the 10th and 11th centuries. These frescoes depict Mother Mary, Annunciation, and Ascension. Clergymen were once educated inside the walls of the Selime Monastery. It also served as the military headquarters for the region long ago. It is the biggest religious structure in Cappadocia, including a large, cathedral-size church.
This 16 km, 10 mi, long canyon was forged by several eruptions of Mount Erciyes. Cut and carved into the volcanic rock in the southern area of Cappadocia. Flowing through the valley, you can find the Melendiz river. Since the valley has a steady supply of water, this area served as the first settlement of the Christians fleeing the Roman soldiers. Throughout the valley, you can find hundreds of old churches carved into the volcanic rock caves. Among a few of the well-known churches are: Sümbüllü, Pürenliseki, Kokar, Yilanli, Karagedik, etc.
This town is located in the central Anatolia region of Turkey, not far from the cave churches of Göreme. There are about 18,631 residents here. Cappadocia is a major producer of Turkish wines, and Ürgüp is the region’s wine-capital. Enjoy the views of this crazy rock carved town and while you’re in the area, take a few wine tasting tours!
This valley in Cappadocia is appropriately named for it’s free-standing, naturally formed penis shaped rocks. These ancient structures appear in Love Valley, sitting around 1000 meters above sea-level. There is a main vantage point of the valley below and you can also walk right down through the path among the giant rock structures. The hike is mild, so definitely soak in the surreal landscapes of the area!
Göreme’s Sunset Point
This is my personal favorite view in Göreme, named Sunset Point for a reason. Head up here from your accommodation to catch a blazing sunset over the entire town and surrounding valley. You can catch views of the Uçhisar Castle from up here as well.
Cappadocia’s 2nd most visited town is Uçhisar. It’s a little more laid back than Göreme (which is saying a lot because Göreme is very laid back as is). The Uçhisar Castle sits at the top of the hill offering beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes. It is the highest point in Cappadocia.