Cappadocia Part 2
So if you are tired of wandering around in the snow (or heat in the summer) you can always get away from it by going underground. In the Cappadocia area there are approximately 150 - 200 known underground cities. Most of them are more of a village in size with maybe only three levels, but several are rather large with up to 7 or more levels below ground. These dwellings were dug out of the same layers of tuff as seen around Goreme.
It is believed that the early people of the area used these underground settlements to hide in and escape from raiders that frequented the area. The subterranean cities were also used by early Christians who fled to the area to escape persecution from the Roman empire.
The underground city I visited was at Kaymakli. Now I have done my fair share of wandering around abandoned mines while living in the Southwest, so I am no stranger to subterranean travels, but I have to say, this city was really amazing.
There are arrows and signs pointing the ways down and up, and without them, a person could easily get lost within the different levels of tunnels and rooms. Thank god for electricity. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in that place with only oil lamps and torches. In a word, wandering around that place was, neat.
My only regret was that since I was traveling alone, there were several tunnels I didn't get to check out. I found a couple of tunnels that just kept going on, or down, into the darkness. I had a flashlight and would have continued further than I did, but the idea of never being found if something happened to me down there made me pause.
I did make it out and then it was back to wandering around the tuff valleys around Goreme. George was my companion for this day.
There are numerous dwellings scattered around the canyons. Most of them no longer have any interior artwork remaining, but there are a few exceptions now and then. An interesting feature of some of the churches is that they occasionally buried their dead right at the threshold. They would just carve out the niches and lay the bodies in.
I enjoyed wandering around just looking at the beautiful scenery as much as climbing into the rooms and houses. The snow adds a certain quality to the rocks and pillars. I would love to see and explore the area again someday in a different season.
I hope you enjoy the photos from Part 2 of Goreme.