Goreme and Valley of Swords / Red Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey (One) Week 117 June 27th - 28th 2013
We drove through Goreme late in the afternoon.

The heart of Cappadocia.

Its changed a bit since 1978!

We have coordinates for Peter & Margaret's camp.

A slightly wrong turn meant we could see them on the next ridge.

A few minutes later we were there.

To watch the evening light on the eroded valleys.
And drink a well earned cup of tea.
The plateau in the distance is the "sunset view" place.

As the locals know, it faces the wrong way.

So we counted ourselves lucky and pressed the shutter as many times as we felt necessary.
And then some more.

Rose and red valleys cross our horizon.

And the peculiar looking "fairy chimneys" are illuminated.

They are formed when soft volcanic ash is eroded around the harder cap.

A room with a view.
And the dying rays of the sun.
Plus of course the sunset in the other direction.
About 5 am we were awakened by the snorting of dragons.

First the fans to partly inflate the balloons.

Then the hot air burners.

Several balloons competing for our attention.

Occasionally a pilot trying to send morse code with the burner.

Until there were so many in the air we couldn't count them.

About 45.

Or maybe 46.
They bob up and down. 

Some of them finding ways into the valleys.

Some following the valleys for a while.

Then escaping to higher altitudes and a different direction for the breezes.

They land after about an hour. Chased by ground crews.

After a short nap and breakfast we headed to Goreme.

And the outdoor museum.

A valley with several churches carved into the rock.

No photographs inside this one.

We examined the outer skin and thought perhaps a bit of over-enthusiastic renovation had occurred.

None of the freedom to explore of my last visit in 1978.

A fence round it all, an entry fee, a ticket that needs an employee to place it in the automated turnstile (as at all Turkish museums and interesting sites), a proliferation of padlocks, and a limited viewing.

Plus some protection.

Part of the price of world heritage listing and popularity.

Though we could photograph some of the frescoes.

They are Christian churches  in a predominantly Moslem country and the frescoes haven't been looked after.

Plus, of course, erosion of the 11th - 12th century churches carved out of the rock has led to a few collapses.

This is the dark church for which an additional entry was required.

Something about the principles involved in being asked to pay twice and still no photographs. 

Nevertheless an amazing collection.
With a sneak photograph of the roof frescoes in the Carikli Church.

They had been damaged to above head height.

We'll have to search elsewhere for what the pictures are about.

Graves at the entrance to the church.

We wondered about the burial rites as the holes didn't seem long enough for a full length body. 

And looked back at the churches.
We drove a little to near Cavisun and started a walk in the valleys.
Up Sword Valley.

We found ourselves walking through tunnels.

This is a wall mounted water trough.

If the guide we overheard could be believed the holes are for tethering horses.

Back to our long lost youth Peter and I did a bit of exploring.
Into a pigeon loft.
The way up was through the small hole in the floor.
Big for pigeons.

Short for us.

The many lofts date from the 18th century when the pigeon droppings were collected for manure.

We later wondered what the pigeons ate. And whether they were eaten.

Perhaps it wasn't a sustainable practice as the lofts aren't occupied now.

Occasionally some steps.

But mostly just hand and foot holds.

The ceiling of a church in the valley.

Carefully carved. Not the rougher hewn walls of dwellings and pigeon lofts.

Look carefully.

There are some pigeons after all.

But this is the only place we saw them.

Getting a bit hot.

The track emerges from the valley.

We'll find Rose valley to walk back to the trucks.

We had a little difficulty reconciling the various tourist maps, printed and on signs, but eventually worked out that the way down into the valley was near where we had camped.

We think Hooul Dagi.


Probably one of the three volcanoes that formed Cappadocia.

Layers of ash (the soft coloured stuff) and basalt (the hard stuff that forms the caps).

The tunnels seem to have been carved to carry water along the valley floor.

But they are dry at present.

Tall enough to walk through.

And so we emerged at the mouth of Rose (and Red) valley to find our trucks.

And drive back to our campsite.

Kaymakli, Uchisar, Love Valley and Cavisun, Cappadocia, Turkey (Two) Week 117 June 29th - 30th 2013

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