We moved to Cappadocia in 2011 with the desire to create a blog that would introduce the amazing people of Cappadocia to the many foreigners who visit each year.

At its heart CC is about people. “Capturing the heart of Cappadocia” is not just a nice sounding phrase; it is the purpose statement of this blog. Here you will get to know Cappadocians online before meeting them in person when you visit.

Cappadocia is a fascinating place but what makes it truly wonderful are the people who live here. If your memories of Cappadocia consist mainly of the sites (Open Air Museum, Underground cities,…), then you have missed a God-given opportunity to connect with some amazing, dear souls. Those who read this blog will not make that mistake. 

In addition this blog includes basic information important to travelers as well as interesting anecdotes from our life here.  And be sure to check out the Recommended Reading List for reviews of books about Cappadocia and Turkey in general. 

Do not come here expecting to find basic reviews on Cappadocia hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Those are easy to find all over the web. CaptivatingCappadocia.com aims to give what you cannot find anywhere else. Please add comments to posts and feel free to ask questions; i.e. you are welcome to become a part of this community.


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Born in 1969 in Munich, West Germany and adopted at four days old by an American couple serving in the US Army hospital, I seemed destined for overseas travel and residence. My dad finished his military service, we moved back to the states, and I grew up in Chattanooga, TN, USA with one brother. At nine years old I had an encounter with Jesus Christ that forever altered my life as my desire has been to follow Him with everything in me ever since.

In 1987 I went to Washington & Lee University in large part because I wanted to play soccer and thought I could make the team, which I did. Four years later I graduated with degrees in Economics and German having spent six weeks in Germany during my sophomore year. After graduating I moved to Los Angeles, CA to begin working with Teach For America as a middle school math and science teacher in the Long Beach Unified School District. Working in the “hood” was no problem; dealing with middle schoolers everyday nearly drove me to my grave! During my 3.5 years teaching in Long Beach Unified School District I met the love of my life (also a teacher) and in 1995 we married. At that point I had quit teaching and started working for Crystal Cruises in their retail department (actually worked at a warehouse in San Pedro, CA).

After those years teaching middle school I put price tags on shirts for six months before I found it boring. I kept working for another year and a half so my wife and I could go on an amazing Alaska cruise.

In 1997 we moved to Kazakstan with our four-month-old daughter. Among other things we taught English and made some of the dearest friends anyone could meet. (If you are looking for somewhere else to visit, the Kazaks are beyond compare.)

In 2003 we moved to Uzbekistan with four children. While there we directed an NGO office that built a soccer field for the people of the city, distributed clothes to poor villages, taught English and computer classes, partnered with the government to help the villages get clean water, all while trying to be a blessing to an amazing community. We received far more than we gave.

In 2007 we moved once again, this time with six children, to Ankara, Turkey where I got my MBA at Bilkent University. Child number seven was born in Ankara. After graduation we decided to settle in Cappadocia. As mentioned earlier I have always enjoyed travel and adventure. This includes canoe trips down the Buffalo river in Arkansas as well as the Rio Grande river, hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, riding my bicycle from Seattle to Boston, and trips to Mexico, Canada, Russia, Europe, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines. But with all of that I can honestly say that there is no place I would rather be than in the arms of my gorgeous wife surrounded by our seven precious kids.


If you have any questions or need anything, please write me at:  dukedillard@captivatingcappadocia.com

Writing “Captivating Cappadocia: [your subject]” in the subject line will make it easier for me to recognize your letter from the spam that arrives on a daily basis.


I will have to add to this as I go. For now I can say that this site is a WordPress (latest version)(self-hosted) using WP Zoom’s Discovery Theme. I use Georgia font. The site is hosted by Blue Host. The photos are either taken by me or bought from www.photos.com.


These are the best posts to start with if you are visiting Cappadocia soon:
Visiting Cappadocia? Start Here! This is an FAQ page with everything you need to know.
Top 12 Activities – These are the “Must Do” activities in Cappadocia
Top 10 Activities with Kids
Top 10 Sites – These are the “Must Visit” places in Cappadocia
Great Restaurants you will enjoy
13 Gift Ideas – Here is what to get for family and friends back home

And here are some book ideas for your reading pleasure.

45+ Books Related to Turkey


This is my personal blog. The opinions that I express here are mine. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.