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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Cappadocia's mysterious underground dwellings

Tourists heading to Turkey’s southern regions are rewarded by sun, sea and all the sand they could wish for. But those that venture away from these popular areas into the country’s vast and sun-parched centre are rewarded with some of the most intriguing sights they’ll ever lay eyes on.

Cappadocia’s fairytale peaks and spires have long enchanted travellers and settlers to the area. Located in the heart of the country, in Turkey’s eastern Anatolia, Cappadocia is spread over a plateau that soars 1000 metres above sea level. Jagged volcanic peaks pierce the blue sky, with the tallest reaching 3916 metres. It’s a dry, mysterious and beguiling place – and that’s just what you can see: for those who venture under the ground a whole other world is revealed.

 From craggy peaks...

Over two thousand years, underground cities and labyrinthine networks of tunnels have gradually twisted their way beneath Cappadocia’s surface. Clandestine palaces are carved high into mountainsides. Caves have been converted into luxurious dwellings. It sounds like something from the Arabian Nights, but these underground cave dwellings are as real as the rock from which they are hewn. 

Cappadocia’s underground cities are believed to have sprung up around 2000 years before Christ. Their residents have included the Hittites, then the early Christians, who sought refuge from the Romans, and then the Romans themselves. In fact, early Christianity was fostered in Cappadocia’s caves. The underground passages made secure hiding places and some of the religion’s earliest churches were formed in churches carved out of hillsides or deep in underground caves.

 ...to underground caverns.

Initially, people began using the caves as a refuge from enemies. They soon discovered the stone was easy to carve, but strong enough to provide protection. Gradually, the cave-dwellers began hollowing out the caves until they became great layered cities, complete with rooms, churches, tunnels, air vents, barns, wineries and storage spaces. 

There are 300 underground cities in Cappadocia. Of these, only around ten are well known. At their deepest points, these underground networks extended 100 metres below the surface.
The caves have become a significant draw from tourists, who come from the world over to examine a world so different from their own. Tourism to the area has risen more than four-fold over the past 20 years. 

This unique hotel in the heart of Cappadocia represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance for someone seeking the ultimate in lifestyle change. With its distinctive interior, repeat client base and location in the very midst of this fairytale region, we don’t have anything else like this on our books. Price is on application so please call us and find out more about this incredible hotel. Even if you're not interested, the pictures below are well worth a look:



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