“The beauty of a landscape resides in its melancholy.”
– Ahmet Rasim, Turkish writer
Deep in the heart of Anatolia, in the very center of Turkey, lays a world of powerful and strangely alluring magnificence. It seems to be on everyone’s list of the most surreal landscapes on earth, even for the well-traveled. But there is nothing – short of the moon – that approximates the mesmerizing landscape of Cappadocia.
Formed from very soft volcanic stone, sculpted by wind, and punctuated by valleys, the so-called fairy chimneys and troglodyte dwellings leave an unforgettable impression upon visitors.
But as appealing as it is to the eye, Cappadocia’s beauty is more than skin deep.
This region has been inhabited continuously for at least 4,000 years. It has some 40 underground cities: a few big enough to house 30,000 people each in times of danger. These cities, and the countless caves carved into the soft stone, were ideal hiding spots for Christians when invaders from Asia would periodically sweep across Anatolia.
The greatest surprise of all is perhaps the stunning art, which would never be apparent from the outside. There are 1,000 churches and monasteries carved by hand out of this soft – honestly, it’s not all that soft – rock. Artists sculpted soaring domes, vaults, columns, and arches.
The walls were then frescoed with elaborate representations of events from the Bible (many of which took place on Turkish soil). Most spectacular is the collection of 30 frescoed churches over 1,000 years old, which comprise the Goreme Open Air Museum.
Through a good part of the 20th century, people still lived in the caves. One of our favorite things to do here is to stay in one of the better hotels that have been built featuring cave rooms.
We can arrange for you to see Cappadocia by soaring above this dramatic landscape aboard a private hot air balloon. And yes, there will be champagne waiting for you afterwards.
On foot you can hike to beautiful caves, remarkable valleys, deep canyons, and tiny villages. Bring our expert photographer along to help capture the magic of the atmosphere.
Hop in an off-road vehicle and explore hidden valleys tucked out of sight.
Or see the landscape on famous Cappadocian horses. The Persian name for this region, when they ruled it before Alexander the Great conquered it, was Katpatuka, which means “the land of beautiful horses.”
Or maybe mountain bikes are more your speed.
We are happy to arrange for a private wine tasting. Turkish wine has a growing reputation (it is the world’s fourth largest producer of grapes) and Cappadocian wines are among the best. Or if food is more your thing, we can arrange for you to meet the owners of an organic farm and dine at their home.
Cappadocia is perhaps at its finest in the early evening. As the setting sun moves across the sky, the landscape is transformed by moving shadows cast by the dramatic sculptural forms.
We can arrange for your exclusive use of some of Cappadocia’s most spectacular settings including the Goreme Open Air museum. You’ll hear the relaxing sound of the flute-like Sufi ney, and soon after that, whirling dervishes will appear in the cavities of the caves surrounding you to perform their centuries-old ritual of worship and dance.