Cappadocia ‘Green Tour’

Today we took what seemingly ever hotel and tour company in Cappadocia refers to as the ‘green tour’.  We really wanted to see both the Ihlara Valley and an underground city in the same day without a private driver, and the ‘green tour’ seemed to be the most cost efficient and interesting method.

Our tour started with with us meeting to board the bus at 9:30am. Our first stop was the Göreme Panorama overlook, where we had a complete view of the Göreme valley and Göreme village.  At this view point we had a nice view of fairy chimneys, rock formations, and cave houses.

Us at the Göreme Panorama overlook

Our next stop was the Derinkuyu Underground City, which is one of the deepest underground cities in Cappadocia at 55 meters deep.  It could house up to 20,000 people!  We took a one hour guided tour of the underground city.  We enjoyed visiting the city, but it could be a true nightmare to anyone afraid of being deep underground or in narrow, tight spaces.

Descending into the underground city

Our guide explaining how the inhabitants would spear anyone who intruded and fell into the pit

A ventilation shaft in the underground city

 There were some tight squeezes in the underground city – this one was optional though!

Our third stop was the Ihlara Valley.  The Ihlara valley is a 16km long canyon in which both sides are lined with rock-carved churches. We took a short 3km guided hike through the valley and then had lunch at a relaxing restaurant by the river in Belisirma Village.

Our guide with the map of the Ihlara valley

The Ihlara Valley

Bells carved into the stone show that a church is through the passageway

Katie in the the Ihlara valley

 Our lunch restaurant

Our fourth stop was pretty random.  The bus stopped at the side of the road, and the guide told us to get out and take pictures with the pretty scenery.  It was indeed pretty, but the stop was just strange.

Our fifth stop was the Selime Monastery, which is a elevated monastery that had been carved out of rock by Christian monks in the 13th century. The size and elevation of the church was pretty impressive.

View from the monastery

 View of the monastery from where the bus parked

Our final stop of the tour was a quick picture stop over Pigeon Valley. Many vendors were selling bird seed, which is probably a large reason why so many pigeons are found at Pigeon Valley!

A pretty tree full of ‘evil eyes’

 ‘Feed the birds so you can save them’ – umm, should they not be able to hunt and forage on their own?

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