Niğde, Turkey
37° 58' N 34° 40' E
Sep 22, 2008 15:11
Distance 237km

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Text written in: English

Underground Cities

This morning we began our journey to the town of Nidge. It was a 7 hour bus journey through the Turkish countryside. The bus was extremely comfortable, which made the journey easy. As we drove through towns and mountains I realized how much I had missed trees and colors. While in the desert everything was beige, the color of sand, including the houses. In Turkey the houses are painted in bright colors and are actually completely built. In Egypt and Syria many houses are partially built on purpose so they do not have to pay taxes.

Upon arrival to Nidge we took a local minibus to visit the Gumusler Monastery. One of many that have been built inside the mountains. At the time it was built there was religious persecution and Christians found safety in the surrounding mountain formations. Because we had taken a local bus, we wondered if we would have transportation back to the city. Fortunately, the last minibus before Ramadan prayer time came by and picked us up. Otherwise we had to wait for over two hours until prayer and breakfast time was over.

Next morning we left towards Capadoccia. Still in the region of Anatolia, we will now make our way into the heart of rock formations. Our first stop was at the Ilhara Valley where we did a leisurely 1 1/2 hour hike. Scenery was lush and beautiful. Along the way you can see many of the churches that where carved out of the mountain sides. By the end of the hike we where ready for lunch and headed to the nearby town for a quick bite. Because of Ramadan meal options are limited. I did have a very tasty meatball stew with some pilaf rice. It was perfect to satisfy my cravings.

Our next visıt was one of the many underground cities during medieval times where residents of whole cities would seek shelter in case of invasions. Some of these cities are over 20 levels below the ground. In the one we visited we only went 8 levels down. It was cool and common areas spacious. There was a church inside the underground city. Once we kept descending, some walways became very narrow and difficult to walk in. It felt like a little expedition discovering this mysterious caves.

Moving on to Goreme in Capadoccia...

Photos / videos of "Underground Cities":

Gumusler Monastery Gumusler Monastery Inside Gumusler Monastery Look at the size of those cabbages... The Ilhara Valley Part of our group trekking into the valley Inside one of the cave churches. One of many in the valley. Ilhara Valley Cave homes and churches Restaurant in Ilhara Valley