The Off-the-beaten-track Cappadocia Tour starts at 9.30 from our office after a cup of morning coffee or tea and finishes at about 5 pm. We pick you up from your hotel in Göreme at 9.15 - 9.20 or 9.00 from Ürgüp or Uçhisar.
The first stop is at at Honey (Love) valley panorama where you can admire the most amazing creations of nature, hundreds of phallic-shaped rocks, created over millions of years by wind erosion. The magnificent landscape of Cappadocia has been formed from solidified lava streams, ash and tuff stone from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. The landscape you can see now is the result of thousands of years of continual erosion, which has shaped the tuff deposits into the strangest pyramids and cones. The guide gives you information about how the landscape was formed and the history of Cappadocia.
Next you explore Zelve open air museum. The ancient village of Zelve lies in three adjacent valleys with buildings cut into the steep sides of the rocks, which once used to be the home of one of the largest communities in the region. Christians and Muslims lived there together in perfect harmony until 1924, when Christians had to leave the country because of the exchange of minorities between Greece and Turkey. Muslims in their turn were forced to leave the village in the 50s, when life became too dangerous because of the risk collapsing as a result of erosion. Now Zelve is an amazing abandoned cave village which has been made into an open air museum.
After lunch you drive to Gülşehir, where you first take a short walk in Acıksaray (open palace), a deserted cave-village with rock-cut dwellings and chapels, the original function of which is not quite clear. It is presumed that it was built in the 10-11th centuries and served travellers as a caravanserai. It covers the area of one square kilometer and contains eight complexes gathered around three-sided courtyards, each with a decorated main facade. The village is remarkable for its facades and the interesting-looking rock formations, one resembling a huge mushroom.
Then you continue to Gülşehir to vist St. Jean Church (Karşı Kilise), the frescoes of which are among the best preserved in Cappadocia. The two-storyed church also houses a wine cellar, graves, water channels and living quarters on the lower floor, and a church decorated with Biblical scenes on the upper floor. According to the inscription on the apse, the church is dated to 1212.
Last you go to Tatların underground city, which was discovered only in 1975 as its original entrance had collapsed and it took many years before it could finally be opened to public in 1991. It is believed to have been an important centre for either religious or military purposes, judging by the large size of its rooms and the fact that there is a church with well-preserved frescoes right next to it. Currently only four floors of the underground city, which is spread over a pretty large area, can be visited but work continues to open more floors to to public.
The tour finishes with a cup of tea, apple tea or coffee in our office and after that we take you back to your hotel.