The 20 best sights of Cappadocia – description and photos

Attractions in Turkey

The main sights of the cities and regions of Turkey, as well as places of interest to tourists, with descriptions and photos. Location of these interesting objects and places on the map. The most popular sights are: Ayia Sofia, Mount Olympos (Tahtali), Kaleici, Gaynuk Canyon, Blue Bay of Oludeniz, Yanartas Mountain. The ranking is based on your visits.

Top Sightseeing Attractions (319)

On the map Turkey – Istanbul Architecture and monuments

The Hagia Sophia, or Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul, is a famous monument of Byzantine architecture and a symbol of its heyday. For almost a thousand years the Hagia Sophia was considered the largest building in the world. It is located on the site of the ancient acropolis, on a hill, which began the history of Istanbul (Byzantium, Constantine.

On the map of Turkey – Kemer Nature

One of the most romantic mountains is Mount Olympos, which in Turkey is more commonly known as Tahtali. Tahtali Mountain is a calling card of Kemer. It is a part of the Western Taurus mountain system. It is the dominant peak of Olympos National Park. The park has t.

On the map of Turkey – Antalya Architecture and monuments

The oldest part of Antalya is called Kaleici. It was originally a Roman city, then it became a Byzantine city and later passed to the Seljuk Turks, and finally to the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Visitors to the old city have the opportunity to touch the history that came down to us in its original form.

On the map of Turkey – Kemer Nature

Between Antalya and Kemer is the plain of Geynuk which is famous for its pomegranate and orange orchards and its lowlands are covered with exotic southern vegetation such as cacti, palm trees, and oleanders. In ancient times, this plain was a road for traders, leading them to the warm and clear sea. Sl.

On the map of Turkey – Oludeniz Nature

Ölüdeniz in Turkish translates to “Dead Sea”. This famous resort is so beautiful that many call it “God’s gift to the world. The beautiful bay, which strikes the imagination of travelers with its beauty, is surrounded by pine forests. This place is the coziest anchorage for.

On the map of Turkey – Kemer Nature

A unique natural phenomenon in Turkey is considered a “fire-breathing Chimera”, located at the top of Yanartas Mountain. The very mountain Yanartas is situated near the town of Kemer, 7 km away from the ancient city of Olympos. Yanartas is one of the most visited places by tourists. Su.

On the map Turkey – Belek Entertainment

A unique entertainment center, covering an area of 63 thousand hectares, is located in Belek. It is called “The Land of Legends” and includes many different areas for entertainment. The park was opened in 2016 and from the first day it was unofficially called “Disn.

On the map of Turkey – Antalya Architecture and monuments

It is believed that the ancient Aspendos was founded in the fifth century BC by colonists from Argos. To avoid incursions from the sea, the city was built 16 km. away, on the shore of the then navigable river Euremedon (the current name of the river is Kepryu.

On the map of Turkey – Icmeler Active Recreation

Icmeler is located in the western part of Marmaris Bay, in a remarkably picturesque bay seven kilometers west of the city, and the vacation here is a real pleasure. Icmeler Bay is a magnificent natural formation unlike any other in the world. This place has become more popular in recent years.

On the map Turkey – Alanya Entertainment

“Sealanya Sea Park in Alanya is positioning itself as a sea park, but in fact it is a huge complex consisting of an aquarium, water park and dolphinarium. The 15 pools located in the park, there are a variety of non-dangerous marine animals, with which you can swim.

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On the map of Turkey – Antalya Architecture and monuments

The ancient city of Termessos is located 34 kilometers to the west of Antalya in the Gulluk Dagi Natural Park on a 1050 meter high plateau. It is one of the most important ancient cities in Turkey and covers a very large area. The city of Termessos takes its name from .

On the map Turkey – Bodrum

Gumbet Bay is located two to three kilometers from the famous Turkish resort of Bodrum and adjoins it to the west. Such a good location and proximity to the airport make this resort very popular with tourists around the end of May to early October. This place is in demand by .

On the map of Turkey – Side Architecture and monuments

In the south of the peninsula of Side, in a picturesque area right by the sea, were once built two temples. The east temple was dedicated to Apollo and the west one to Artemis. These gods were considered the chief gods of the city. Apollo represented the Sun, and his twin sister Arte.

On the map of Turkey – Kemer Entertainment

Since 2015, in Kemer operates Dolusu water amusement park, which, in addition to the fun rides, there is also a dolphinarium and an aquarium. This is the first complex of attractions of this kind in Kemer. Before it appeared the nearest water parks to Kemer were in Antalya, where you had to go by bus.

On the map of Turkey – Side Architecture and monuments

One of the most interesting sights of the Turkish city of Side is the Temple of Artemis. It is located on the south of the peninsula by the sea and is very close to the temple of Apollo. The temples were built at the same time and were dedicated to the most important gods of the city. In those days, for the locals.

On the map of Turkey – Kizkalesi Nature

In the vicinity of the famous Turkish resort of Kizkalesi, about 3 km from the Mediterranean coast are two unique non-manmade caves, which locals call Hell (Dzhekennem) and Paradise (Jennet). Tours are often organized here, so it is always crowded. They are located.

On the map of Turkey – Marmaris Architecture and monuments

The city of Mugla is the capital of the administrative district, which includes several major tourist centers in Turkey. However, vacationers and travelers rarely come here. The reason is probably the fact that most tourists often identify holidays with the sea. But not so much for the rest of the holidaymakers.

On the map Turkey – Alanya Architecture and monuments

Sharavsin caravanserai or Sharapsa Khan was built in the middle of the 13th century (1236-1246) on the Great Silk Road, on the initiative of Giyaseddin Keyhusrev II, son of Sultan Alladin Keykubat I, to join Alanya to the Seljuk capital of Konya. Since then, during the.

On the map of Turkey – Side Nature

The city of Manavgat is located on both sides of the Manavgat River in the valley of the same name. The Manavgat River originates on the western slopes of the Taurus Mountains, and then, flowing along the mountain slopes, flows into the reservoirs – Manavgat Barazh and Oymapınar. Above the city a few kilometers up the river in a natural way.

On the map Turkey – Alanya Architecture and monuments

The Monument to Alanya’s conqueror, Sultan Aladdin Keikubat I is located in the western part of the city and is the very first monument that greets tourists arriving from the airport. Aladdin was a Seljuk sultan who ruled Alanya in the 13th century (1219-1236).

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Cappadocia in Turkey: 9 interesting sights

Cappadocia (Turkey) – a rare in geological characteristics, located in central Anatolia. This mountainous area, which hides underground cities, cave monasteries and churches in its bizarre cliffs, bears great historical significance, for which it was included in the UNESCO heritage list. The first settlements in the depths of Cappadocia date back to the 3rd millennium B.C., and with the arrival of the Christians to the land its mountains have become a refuge for numerous temples, cells and crypts.

Cappadocia, Turkey

The uniqueness of local landscapes is in their natural origin: all these fabulous buildings were created not by man, but by nature for tens of millions of years. Once upon a time the territory of modern Cappadocia in Turkey was covered by lava tongues erupting from the active volcanic chain and deposited on the earth layers together with the ash. Over time, the surface of the earth rose by about two hundred meters and the ash and lava were transformed into volcanic tuff, a light, porous rock. Over millions of years, wind and rain have eroded the flimsy material into intricate figures and rocks, pyramids and canyons.

Balloons over Goreme

Today Cappadocia is one of the most visited attractions in Turkey, and every day there rise up hundreds of balloons with tourists. The site is surrounded by Goreme National Park, which is an open-air museum, which includes numerous rock sculptures and cave shrines. Near the park there is a village called Goreme with hotels, restaurants, and stores, where travelers who come to Cappadocia usually stay.

History

The Hittite Empire

The history of Cappadocia in Turkey, intertwined with several nations and empires, is quite confusing, so scientists to this day cannot come to a consensus on many issues. It is known that as early as the 3rd millennium BC its lands were mastered by the Hittites, who were later completely exterminated by the Hittites. One scholarly theory is that it was the Hittites who gave the site its modern name, which originally sounded like “Cattapeda” (“the place below”). Other scholars maintain that the name was invented by the Persians who came to the area in the 6th century B.C. and called the place Haspaduya, which translates as “Land of beautiful horses. Since the second version sounds more romantic, it is used in all reference books.

Dwellings in Goreme

In the 1st century AD. Cappadocia became part of the Roman Empire, and in the 4th century its cliffs became a refuge for the Christians persecuted at the time. It was they who discovered the ancient Hittite underground city, perfected it, and began to carve large monasteries and miniature cells out of the malleable tufa. In the Byzantine era, with the advent of the 7th century, the area began to be encroached upon by the Arabs, but the state fought back staunchly, attracting the forces of the allied Armenian empire. In the 11th century Cappadocia was invaded by Seljuk Turks who added their traditional buildings in the form of caravanserais, mosques and madrassahs to the local landscape.

Tours in Cappadocia

Despite the arrival of the Turks in Cappadocia, the Christians, most of whom were Greeks, continued to coexist peacefully with Muslims on its territory and preach their religion until the 20th century. That all changed with Ataturk’s decision to exchange Greeks living in Turkey for Turks living in Greece. After that, the local monasteries fell into decline, and the remaining locals devoted themselves entirely to agriculture. Interest in Cappadocia revived in the 1980’s when Europeans who discovered the site began to visit central Anatolia. This was the start of the development of tourism in the area that now sustains the entire region.

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What to see

The sights of Cappadocia in Turkey cover a huge area, and it is simply impossible to see them all in a day. So that you do not waste time, we have collected in this item the most interesting sites, among them:

Goreme National Park

This open-air museum spreads over an area of more than 300 km², is a whole monastic complex: it includes dozens of churches and chapels. From the 6th to the 9th centuries, Göreme was one of the most important monasteries of the region. Goreme was one of the major Christian centers, on the territory of which functioned more than 400 shrines. Many monasteries have survived to this day. There are wall paintings of early Christianity as well as Byzantine frescoes. The most famous in the museum is the Church of St. Basil, inside which you can look at the surviving images of saints and scenes from the Gospel. Also worth checking out is the Church of St. Barbara, painted with colorful patterns, and the Apple Church with four columns and a Greek cross.

Avanos City

If you do not know what to see in Cappadocia, you should go to the miniature town of Avanos, located near the banks of the longest river in Turkey, Kizil-Irmak. Due to the fact that the water in the river is rich in ore and red clay, the locals managed to develop craftsmanship and pottery here. Underground structures and fanciful rocks you will not find here, but you will find silence and solitude, harmoniously intertwined with the oriental coloring. Moreover, in the town everyone has the opportunity to visit one of the local workshops and learn the basics of pottery. The attraction is also famous for its carpet factories, Seljuk Aladdin Mosque and Woman’s Hair Museum, the collection of which includes more than 16 thousand exhibits – real locks of hair, once belonged to girls from around the world.

Uchisar Fortress

The quiet town, located 4 km from Goreme, is more like a small village with no banks or supermarkets. The village itself does not cause much interest, but the Uchhisar fortress located on its territory attracts the gaze of tourists. This structure made of tuff with a sharp top can be seen from any observation platform in the city. The fortress appeared in the era of Hittite Empire and was able to seat up to 2,600 people. The structure is gradually deteriorating, and travelers here can see only a small part of the building. It is definitely worth climbing up to the observation deck, which offers a large-scale view of the expanse of Cappadocia with its picturesque valleys.

One of the most popular attractions in Cappadocia and Goreme are the Fairy Chimneys, which has long been a hallmark of the area. Look at the unique rock sculptures, shaped like stovepipes or giant mushrooms with cone-shaped caps, you can in different parts of the valley adjacent to the town of Zelve. Of course, tourists are told romantic legends that magical fairies live in the pillars, but in reality, the bizarre formations were the result of the destructive effects of rain and wind on the tuff rocks.

Fairy Chimneys

The Caimaklys is a huge underground complex with eight stories. Each of them has dozens of tunnels and rooms that once served as warehouses, kitchens, stables and cellars. Ventilation and water supply systems were arranged here, there was its own chapel and pottery workshops. Here, scientists found a long tunnel stretching for 9 km and connecting Kaimakly with another attraction – the cave settlement of Derinkuyu. It is believed that the underground dwelling could accommodate up to 15 thousand inhabitants. Today only the first 4 floors of the town are open for tourists but even this is enough to feel the ancient atmosphere of the once inhabited caves.

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Kaymakli Underground City

When visiting the city of Goreme and Cappadocia in Turkey be sure to see the underground complex Derinkuyu. The history of the site dates back to the 8th century BC. For a long time, Christians persecuted by Arabs for their religious beliefs took refuge in the structure. To date, archaeologists have excavated 11 floors, which go deep into the 85 meters. Scientists estimate that they will be able to excavate another 9 floors.

Underground City of Derinkuyu

It is believed that on the territory of the underground attractions could simultaneously live up to 50 thousand people. Like in Kaymakly, there was a ventilation system with a half-meter shaft, as well as water pipes that provided all the floors with water. Today Derinkuyu is the largest underground city in Turkey.

Pashabag Valley

Pashabag is one of the most picturesque valleys of Cappadocia, often referred to as the Valley of the Monks. Many hundreds of centuries ago the area was home to Christian preachers, so today you can see the results of their activities – churches and chapels. The most famous structure in the valley was the chapel of St. Simeon Stolpnik, who came to Pashabagh in the 5th century. The temple is located in a rock sculpture with three cone-shaped hats. Several churches have survived here as well, with ancient frescoes preserved in their walls.

Zelwe Open Air Museum

If you’re looking for information on what to see on your own in Cappadocia, don’t overlook the unique historical monument of Zelva. The first settlements within the walls of the complex appeared in the 2nd-5th centuries. By the early 11th century, Christians came to Zelva and converted a number of its rooms into churches and cells, so you can see their creations here today. Until 1952, the caves remained inhabited, but due to the gradual collapse of the rocks, people were forced to leave the complex. The destruction of Zelwe continues to this day and staying within its walls is dangerous, so visiting the museum is limited. But even a tour of the complex from the outside will allow you to appreciate its grandeur and scale.

This is one of the most famous valleys in Cappadocia in Turkey, spread out closer to the village of Chavushin. It got its name from the pink hue of the rocks. The valley has two canyons that run parallel to each other and join at the approach to the lookout point on Aktepe Hill. One of the spurs stretches for 2 km, the other for 3 km. There are 5 ancient temples in the Rose Valley, the oldest of which is the Church of St. Joachim and St. Anne, dating back to the 7th century.

Pink Valley

Balloons in Cappadocia

One of the most popular activities in Cappadocia is hot air ballooning, which gives tourists a unique opportunity to see the lunar landscapes from a height of almost 1 km. Balloon tours are organized during the whole year, but the real parade of mongolfiers can be observed during the summer time, when up to 250 balloons are in the air. The flights usually take place early in the morning at dawn and last from 40 to 90 minutes. Read more about hot air balloon tours in our separate article.

Balloons in Cappadocia

Where to Stay

The nearest settlement to Cappadocia is Goreme, and that is where most of the hotels are concentrated. Almost all hotels in this area have no stars, which by no means detracts from the quality of their services. It is interesting that many hotels are located in the rocks, so tourists have a great opportunity to experience living in these caves.

Charming Cave Hotel

Charming Cave Hotel.

The choice of hotels in Cappadocia in Turkey is very rich: only in Goreme you will find more than a hundred different hotels. A double room costs an average of 140 TL per night. Most establishments include free breakfasts in the total amount. The most budget accommodation options will cost 80 TL for two people per night, the expensive ones will cost 700 TL.

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Prices are for December 2018.

In addition to Göreme in Cappadocia, there are other, more remote settlements where you can also rent a room: these are Urgup, Uçhisar, Ortahisar, Çavuşin and Avanos. The cost of living in these villages varies about the same range as the prices of accommodation in Goreme.

How to get to Cappadocia

Bus to Cappadocia

There are three ways to get to Cappadocia in Turkey: by plane, by bus and on your own by rented car. There are two airports not far from the sight – in the cities of Nevşehir and Kayseri, where there are daily flights from Istanbul. You can read more about how to get to Cappadocia in our separate article.

Interesting facts

Your visit to Cappadocia in Turkey will be much more entertaining if you familiarize yourself in advance with the most interesting facts about the sight:

A vineyard in Cappadocia

  1. Cappadocia has a total area of over 5,000 km².
  2. Despite the desert landscapes of the site, the land here is very fertile: it grows a lot of grapes, which supply almost all of Turkey. Cappadocia also grows beets, apricots, chickpeas and other crops.
  3. There is a legend that the landscapes of Cappadocia inspired director George Lucas to create the planet Tatooine in the famous “Star Wars”. The area has also been the setting for famous Hollywood movies such as Empire of the Wolves and Ghost Rider.
  4. Many locals still use the caves as their permanent home.
  5. A total of 36 underground settlements were discovered by scientists in Cappadocia, but today only 3 of them are accessible to tourists.
Useful Tips

To make sure your trip to Cappadocia goes smoothly, we have prepared a number of recommendations for you based on the experience of travelers who have already been here.

Ballooning in Cappadocia

  1. If you want to see absolutely all the sights in Cappadocia, you need at least 2 days. If you have only 1 day then you can spend it visiting Goreme Park.
  2. It is better to go to Cappadocia on your own, not with a tour. Firstly, you will save money, and secondly, time. Tour guides take tourists to onyx factories, sweets and carpets, which takes up the lion’s share of your precious time.
  3. If you are going to see the valleys of Cappadocia, we advise you to familiarize yourself with the rules of safety in the mountainous terrain. Many tourists neglect the basic norms of behavior, resulting in injuries.
  4. The ideal months for visiting Cappadocia are May, June, September and October. During this time it is not so hot, but also not cold, there is practically no rainfall and cloudiness.
  5. If you decide to see Cappadocia from a hot air balloon basket, do not be in a hurry to buy a flight from the first company you meet. It is always better to buy your ticket from the organizing company on the spot rather than through an online service.

These are, perhaps, all the main points to consider when visiting such a picturesque place like Cappadocia, Turkey. We hope that our article was useful for you and will help you in organizing your own tour of the sights of the region.

Author: Catherine Unal

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