Situated in east-central Turkey, the Cappadocia region is at a relatively high altitude and is famed for its remarkable geological formations and rock architecture. Originally a volcanic region, the rock formations here are truly spectacular and subsequent erosion has left the area with many massive rock pillars and ‘fairy chimneys, that are so unusual, they give the sense of having been created by some mythical inhabitants, rather than being a product a nature. All around the region, ancient humankind took advantage of the softer rocks to carve intricate temples and houses directly into the mountains.
The fairy chimneys (termed ‘hoodoo’ in geology) are columns that look as though a large rock has been carefully placed on top by unknown hands. In fact, they are the result of different rock formations and millennia of erosion by the elements. The rock on the top is harder, so underneath, the softer rock is gradually eroded until just a column remains, with further erosion minimised due to the protection of the top rock. Cappadocia is renowned for its fairy chimneys, and the Göreme National Park here is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. The rock also exhibits various vibrant colours, and this, together with the almost unbelievable shapes, makes the whole region look like something from a different planet. A painter’s and photographer’s dream, the whole place benefits from a beautiful natural light that enhances the colours to produce magical images.
As if the rock formations themselves were not suitably spectacular, the work of human beings has added to the incredible vistas. For millennia, people have lived here and have made their homes by literally carving them out of the rock. Here you will find vast temples, simple dwellings and underground cities, all hewn into the cliffs and often in immense grandeur and scale. The scale of the region is awe-inspiring and Cappadocia really should be on everyone’s ‘must see’ list.