Cappadocia 1

Coming from Iraq, we made our way to Cappadocia, with a couple of stops. In Mardin we had our washing done and enjoyed some local food before we continued.

The new side of Mardin
Parking for the Night

We came through the region where pistachio trees grow, and crossed the Euphrates a last time on our way westwards.

Pistachios are ripening near the Euphrates

In Kahramanmaras, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake had destroyed a lot of buildings less than a year ago. We could see many houses in ruins, others had already been removed. People are still living in containers around the town.

New apartment building hit by 7.8 earthquake

After passing Kayseri, we finally reached Cappadocia. Our first valley full of cave dwellings and churches was Zelve. The Hittites lived there more than 4,000 years ago and during the Byzantine era, it was a major hub for Christian monks.

Little mosque @ Zelve
Mill to grind wheat into bulgur

Until the 20th century, a thriving community of farmers and craftspeople lived in the caves of the valley, but then, they had to leave their homes and move to nearby towns because erosion and earthquakes threatened the houses to collapse.

Next, we stopped at Pasabag Monk’s Valley, famous for its “fairy chimneys”, funny rock formations, formed only by erosion.

We decided to spend the night at the parking there, but in the evening we had one more thing planned. We drove to the Saruhan Caravanserai next to the road between Avanos and Kayseri, and attended a religious ceremony practised by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order.  It is a customary meditation practice, through which dervishes aim to reach greater connection with Allah by listening to the music, focusing on God, and spinning one’s body in repetitive circles. We found the music and spinning dervishes very mesmerizing.

Saruhan Caravanserai
Swirling Dervishes

The next days, we want to explore more of Cappadocia by hiking through different valleys.

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