Our journey today took us from a huge and ancient underground city to a bustling village marketplace to an enchanting valley of fairy chimneys. (And how can you not love a day that includes a "Valley of the Fairy Chimneys"?)
|The fairy chimneys of Cappadocia|
Kaymakli Undergound City is an World Heritage site. It consists of a huge complex of underground rooms and passages cut into the soft volcanic rock. The complex has literally miles of tunnels and extends down into the earth eight levels! The upper four floors were opened to the public in 1964 and excavations are still going on in the lower levels.
|The entrance to Kaymakli Underground City|
The original rooms of this city may have built by the Phrygians in the 8th to 7th centuries B.C. The city was expanded over the centuries by the following civilizations, including the Romans whose superior engineering skills allowed them to create a strong structure in spite of the many levels. They built the chambers around a central "trunk" and position of the rooms in each level were staggered so that no room sat directly over another open space.
|One of the central "trunks" which gave strength to |
the eight levels of rooms in the underground city.
|Cupboards, shelves, and sleeping chambers were cut into the walls of the rooms.|
|I would guess by the dark streaks that these cubby holes held candles or oil lamps.|
|The little notch in the pillar could be used to tie up livestock|
|A grinding stone was made of harder material than the tufa walls of the rooms.|
|Rob got a good workout crouching through the passages |
between some of the sections of the underground city.
|And he barely fit in the full size rooms!|
|This huge stone could be rolled into the passageway entrance for safety.|
|Stone stairways led from one level to the next.|
|Chambers in the Underground City|
|Recent analysis indicates that this stone was used for copper processing.|
Naturally, we exited through the gift shop...another little bazaar of shops lining to the road to the buses.
|The shops in front of the Underground City.|
Our stop was a large open-air farmers’ market in the town of Urgup. It was filled with stalls selling everything from spices, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other produce to housewares, clothing, and farming equipment.
|Market Day in Urgup, a Turkish village in Cappadocia|
|The market had everything from clothing to produce to farm equipment.|
|Grocery shopping in Urgup|
|Spices and walking sticks.|
|Herbs, nuts, and teas|
|Interesting geography on the way to Pasabag.|
|Rows of Fairy Chimneys|
|The basalt chimney tops|
|Even here, people had carved rooms into the towers.|
|Defying years of erosion, this cap balances precariously.|
|Tourists wandering beneath the immense towers.|
|It was a sunny, but cold, afternoon.|
|Old dwellings built into the towers.|
|Beautiful carvings decorate the entrance.|
|Fairy towers seen through the window of an ancient cave dwelling.|
|Inside a fairy chimney|
|Looking down on the valley from the hillsides.|
|The landscape around the valley.|
|Mert Taner - guide extraordinaire!|
|Debra walking back to the valley after our hike to the hilltops.|
|Susan and Judie enjoy the gorgeous sights.|
|More chimney tops|
|The aptly named camel rock|
|Gay, Sally, Jean, Eileen, and Kathy...|
and Mert - photobomber extraordinaire!
|This valley seemed to bring out the ham in our group members.|
Nancy poses for her husband, David.
Naturally, we once again exited through the "gift shop" where Jane tried out her skills as a camel rider, and Jean experienced the Turkish ice cream vendor's trick of handing you an ice cream cone inside of several other cones. As she tried to take her treat, it would suddenly disappear back into the young man's hands. By the end of several tries, the crowd was laughing hysterically.
|Jane and her camel.|
|Our bus driver Nihat enjoys the ice cream trickery.|
|Jean finally gets to keep her ice cream cone.|
|Entrance to the Underground Ceramic Museum|
|Amphora excavated from the sea|
|Early Ottoman ceramics|
|Gorgeous pitcher made by the craftsmen of this workshop|
|I was amazed at the talent of these artists who drew the designs by hand.|
|Artists painting the designs on the ceramics.|
|One of the finished plates with the traditional Turkish tulips|
|Our host introduces the potter while we sip our apple tea.|
|He uses a traditional foot powered wheel|
|The process begins.|
|Cindy and Matt, our tour group's potters, watch intently to learn a new technique.|
|And the tube takes shape.|
|The shoulder vase is made up of several pieces. |
This is the hollow tube that goes over the shoulder of the wine server.
|Matt gets outfitted in the traditional Turkish trousers.|
|He begins shaping his clay.|
|It's shaping up nicely!|
|Bravo, Matt! They cut it in half and he had successfully crafted a hollow tube.|
Rob had chosen to remain in town during the afternoon excursion, and he had his own cultural adventure. He walked down to the little market stalls in Mustafapasa and purchased a couple of items. The three brothers who own the shop invited him to join them for Turkish tea (which they call chai). They spoke just enough English that they could all enjoy the visit, and Rob said that when tea was served, all business ceased. It was just a time for fellowship and conversation.
When he returned to our hotel room, he left the door open to let a little fresh air in. (Remember, we are staying in one of the chambers carved into the rock!) He was in the bathroom brushing his teeth when he was surprised by a little meow at his feet. One of the hotel's cats had seen the open door and decided to come in for some warmth. She ended up staying for the rest of the afternoon, begging for cuddles and “talking” to him. If you know my husband, you know he was in heaven!
|Our cave cat!|
|Rob and the cat having a cuddle.|