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Why visit Cappadocia?

Are you trying to decide which parts of Turkey to include in your itinerary?
Cappadocia Open Air MuseumWe think Cappadocia is a must on any Turkey itinerary. But maybe this is just our opinion? Different people have different likes and dislikes. How do we know this is a good idea for you? Here are 8 Reasons why Cappadocia is irresistible!

An epigram from Ancient History reads, “A venomous viper bit a Cappadocian,” and continues, “the viper died.”

This ironic inscription was not a word against the character of a common Cappadocian, but rather it was meant to highlight the hardiness of the Central Anatolian, as this area was legendary for its brutal winters. St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote about the Christian scriptures as being, “sunbeams that warm our life when it is frozen in ice.” (Letter 10.2)

I have had the pleasure of living through eight Cappadocian winters. As I think of a time when modern building materials and heating options would have been absent, I can understand the gist of the above epigram! (And I am a North Dakotan by birth!)

Even though the temperatures never get near the cold I am accustomed to in the Northern Plain States in America (the winters here resemble a Chicagoan winter), this may be one of the many reasons why our family loves Cappadocia. But there are so many more…

After helping and conversing with many tourists over the years, 8 reasons immediately stand out to me as to why Cappadocia is one of the top vacation destinations in the world.

1. Other-worldly beauty

Cappadocia UchisarHere a picture is worth a thousand words. When I asked a Turkish friend recently why people should vacation in Cappadocia, he replied, “Where else on this earth will you find fairy chimneys like ours?” When people are in the midst of this alien landscape they are able, even if for a moment, to escape the stresses and worries of their life in their home cultures, and hopefully, these momentary escapes will provide a better perspective to address the issues when they return.

2. Turkish Hospitality

Cappadocia Turkish teaOne of my greatest joys in introducing my friends, family and acquaintances to my Turkish friends is to hear their comments after being with them for a few hours. “I had no idea that Turkish people were so friendly and hospitable.” Cappadocia is the proverbial “diamond in the rough”, a place where you are treated like kings and queens in the midst of Turkey’s “Badlands”.

3. A Historical Treasure

Cappadocia underground cityThe archeological record dates back to 5500 BC in this area and continues to the present with a “guest book” signed by some heavy-hitters: the Hittites, the Ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Selcuks, and the Ottomans. Many of these peoples ruled the known world from present-day Turkey. Not to mention two of the major world religions, Christianity and Islam, found significant expressions of their faith right here in Cappadocia. (The Cappadocian Fathers and Mimar Sinan from Kayseri)

4. Exquisite cuisine

Ziggys coban salad CappadociaAn additional 10 kilograms have been added to my physique since moving to Cappadocia in 2005. This is not because the Turk mutfağı (Turkish kitchen) is unhealthy, but because of the inability to control myself! Is there anything else to say other than Testi Kebap, Iskender, Chicken Shish, Pide, Mantı, Lahmacun, Ayran and my absolute favorite Turkish dessert: künefe!

5. Artistic and Cultural Uniqueness

Turkish rug CappadociaThe art of pottery-making has been in existence on the banks of the Kızıl Irmak (Red River), the ancient Halys, since before 200 BC. The red clay is taken from the bordering hills and is shaped by master artisans into beautiful vessels. Rug weaving, twirling dervishes, folk dancing, village weddings and Turkish baths are among some of the other cultural bonanzas of the central Anatolian plateau.

6. A Wide Variety of Excellent Accommodations

Cappadocia Duru HotelOne of the joys of living in a highly touristic area is that we are never at a loss for choices getaways. From basic youth hostel pensions to 5 Star luxury spas to romantic boutique hotels, the visitor has plenty of choices from which to receive excellent service from a fully-competent staff at all levels of boarding options.

7. Fun for kids

Cappadocia pottery childrenIf your children like to climb, hike and explore this is the ultimate playground for them. Parents visiting from ultra-safety-conscious cultures might have to learn to loosen up a bit and let the kids play, but what 10-year-old wouldn’t want to go and crawl around in an underground city, or rent an ATV and tear around on a pseudo-lunar landscape?

8. Affordable

Of course this is a relative term but in comparison to a vacation in Rome or almost any European city for that matter, Cappadocia is a bargain. If one is willing to do a little on their own, such as learn the public transportation routes, eat light lunches, visit family-owned carpet and pottery shops, incredible memories can be formed without deforming your pocketbook!

So, in the end, only you can decide whether you want to vacation in Cappadocia, but hopefully this post has been helpful in the decision making process. And instead of asking why, we encourage you to ask “Why not????”

Can you think of other reasons not listed above?

By Aaron Moss

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