September 28, 2016
Cappadocia is a large region that includes many towns, named by the Persians it means beautiful horses. Today I am in Göreme. The time that the Göreme was first settled is unclear, but it could date back as the Hittite era, between 1800 and 1200 B.C. The location was central between rivaling empires, such as the Greeks and Persians, leading the natives to tunnel into the rock to escape the political turmoil. Today the rocks and caves make for perfect tourism restaurants and hotels.
I am staying at the Aren Cave Hotel in Göreme, and I can not sing its praises high enough. Cappadocia did not become a tourist attraction until the 1980s, so most of the hotels in the area were once homes. When tourism moved in, those that could afford to, purchased the older homes and turned them into hotels. The price of a home shot from around $100,000 to $500,000 in this period.
Göreme is a district of the Nevşehir Province in Turkey. After the eruption of Mount Erciyes about 2,000 years ago, ash and lava formed soft rocks in the Cappadocia Region, covering a region of about 12,000 square miles. The softer rock was eroded by wind and water, leaving the hard cap rock on top of pillars, forming the present-day fairy chimneys. People of Göreme realized that these soft rocks could be easily carved out to form houses, churches, monasteries.
Within walking distance of downtown Göreme is the Göreme Open Air Museum. This area, which is now a museum, is a lovely concentration of the churches of the era. These Christian sanctuaries contain many examples of Byzantine art from the post-iconoclastic period. These frescoes that are unique to the period and the area. Sadly, photographs are not allowed of the frescoes, the ones I captured were before I was scolded for photographing.
Wandering the town of Göreme
This place is magical and I will never have the words to do it justice.
Dinner was at a lovely spot called Pumpkin. The owner had worked in restaurants and hotels around town for many years and went out on his own. If you get a chance, it is a set menu that changes every night. The food is wonderful, and importantly, the service and people are delightful. Service in restaurants in this area can be very mixed, often verging on the very poor.