Monday, October 8, 2007

Turkey Travelogue 10a - Hiking the Cappadocian Valleys 1 (June 13)

A visit to one of Cappadocia's underground cities is standard tourist fare. The Lonely Planet Guide affirms a visit "should be a top priority." For reasons no one can quite fathom, the people of Cappadocia constructed dozens of underground cave cities, only a few of which have been excavated so far. The most popular city, Derinkuyu, originally extended 18-20 floors under the earth and could accommodate around 20,000 people. D. told us before we went to Turkey that the explanation you receive depends on the guide you hire. According to the Blue Guide,

During the holiday months [Derinkuyu's] low, narrow, cramped passageways are filled with sweating tourists pushing and shoving in a desperate attempt to reach yet another rock-cut room or, more often, to escape to the surface and fresh air.
Knowing we would be embarking on another all night bus trip back to Istanbul that evening and more than a little cowed by the Blue Guide's description, t. and I decided to forgo the "must-see" experience and take it easy hiking in the valleys around Göreme. We set out along the road to the open-air museum, and took a turn down "Swords" valley...

I presume these are some of the "swords":

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