This post should answer all of your questions about Devrent (Imagination) Valley. To learn about central Cappadocia’s other captivating valleys, check out our Cappadocia Valley Series Home Page.
“Dusty. Slow. Hot. Enough already.”
These are the thoughts that would be drudging through my mind if I were to be seated on a hump-backed camel, traversing the monotonous miles between one caravansary to the next on the ancient Silk Road.
My “sophisticated-self” would not know how to handle the absence of speed, convenience (air-conditioning!) and my link to some source of internet-based information to scintillate my imagination. Regardless of how I judge those who live in a past without the multitude of benefits resulting from today’s technology, I find deep in my heart that, in more ways than one, they are the richer ones. Their imagination was captured by the staggering world that they found themselves in, and truly appreciated the immense value of their fellow person.
This ‘captive imagination’ is what I felt emanating from Ali İkiz as he switched between Portuguese, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish and English, helping international tourists find just the right souvenir as they shopped for themselves and/or loved ones back home.
BACK IN TIME
His friendliness and genuine interest in these people from a ‘strange land’ transported me to the time when this windy route was an historical spur of the Silk Road that has been servicing travelers (between Ankara and Sivas) for 2,500 years. Ali’s curio shop stands in the millennia long tradition of commercial trade on the legendary Derbent Valley, or Devrent Valley, or Camel Rock Valley, or Imagination Valley, or whatever else you would like to name it!
While watching camels pass through this area as a child Mr İkiz can remember when tourists were not in such a hurry to experience this alien region. Readily he recalls how drenched Spanish tourists slumbered in his dry and warm home because they had missed the bus back to their hotel, and when campers from France were invited to pitch their tents in his garden so he could enjoy their company and improve his French. While the world was still spinning at 1,038 miles per hour (1,670 km per hour) as it is today, life was much slower before the advent of the age of information.
“I can remember when tourists were warmer and more trusting. They had more time to sit and enjoy the new types of people they were meeting.” replied Ali. “Tourism is a cultural-sharing event. If done correctly, it can be one of the world’s most powerful uniting forces between cultures.”
TOURISTS BRING HEALING
My friend Ali of course benefits from tourism as he provides for his family through the profits he makes from his store, but his indebtedness to this region’s leading industry goes much, much deeper. “When I was 18 years old I survived a terrible accident. A bus ran over my chest and shoulder, because of which I lost a kidney and my spleen. I spent three months in the hospital, and then two years recovering at home. When my friends and relatives would visit I was constantly reminded of my accident as they always asked me about how I was recovering, but when I toured the area with foreign visitors who didn’t know what had happened to me, spending time with them reminded me that there is a larger world out there. It gave me hope.”
What sites did Ali show to his new friends that provided a relational atmosphere for him to heal?
What inspired his imagination to grasp the notion that he was a part of something much greater than himself?
Devrent Valley. Imagination Valley.
The kissing couple
A seal colony
Apparently Ali has not been the only one inspired by these rocks. Legend has it that one of St. Simeon’s spots of solitude is located in this valley. St. Simeon’s Cave is but a few minutes hike from the head of the trail, which winds through these petrous formations. This valley supposedly helped him in his desire to attain a “closeness” with God, where other, more urban areas only provided obstacles to this pursuit.
Can you see the cave towards the middle right? How did he get up there?
What you may be pursuing while you are in Cappadocia, I do not know. However, I suggest that a trip to Cappadocia is not complete without a stop to survey the incredible Imagination Valley. But also do not settle for a truncated experience in the region – you must take time to drink tea and enjoy Turkey’s greatest resource: people like Ali İkiz, who want to be your friend along the pathway of life.
Devrent Valley is located about halfway down the road from Avanos to Ürgüp. The public bus does not use this road so you will need to arrange your own transportation. If you are looking for a rental car or scooter, click here for a good option.
(If you visit Ali’s shop and mention CaptiviatingCappadocia.com, he promises to give a 10% discount on whatever you purchase.)
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