Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Fairy Chimneys & the Extraordinary Landscape of Cappadocia

Is this another planet? Armies of pinnacles, topped by precarious rock caps; surround by white hillocks which have been hollowed out by man over thousands of years into dwellings still in use today. Volcanic eruptions, wind and weather have joined forces over millenia to create a landscape dominated by bizarre tuff formations.
A 'Fairy chimney' geologically known as a 'hoodoo' is a conical rock formation consisting of a cone cap of hard rock (basalt) resting on a pinnacle of softer rock. The softer rock comprises a thick layer of tuff (consolidated volcanic ash). The top layer is more resistant to erosion than the underlying tuff.
Put simply, the ashes from several volcanic eruptions accumulated in the valleys and on the plains of Anatolia which created the tuff, sometimes known as tufa. This was covered with a layer of lava made of basalt. Over millions of years the basalt fractured and eroded due to rain and snow creating the cone shaped caps, sitting on top of the eroded pinnacles of tuff.
As a result of the volcanic deposits millions of years ago the surrounding plains are now extremely fertile.  They are filled with vineyards and vast orchards of apricot trees.
11th century Byzantine Churches created out of the Tuff rock formations.
Wandering in and around this sculptural landscape created by nature millions of years ago, then inhabited and utilised by man over time immemorial, has made a lasting impression on us

68 comments:

  1. I'd always vaguely thought I would like to visit there but actually your photos make me realise it is worth making the effort - it looks a most extraordinary landscape.

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    1. Do visit Jenny - I do not think that you will be disappointed.

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  2. Despite visiting Turkey several times, I have never made it to Cappadocia and am most disappointed by that having now seen your amazing pics of the place. Maybe one day soon ...

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    1. Turkey has so much more to offer the traveller than many people realise. Do try and visit this area Marina, I believe that it will become more popular in the next few years as people discover it.

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  3. What an amazing place! And your photos of Cappadocia are stunning, Rosemary. It does look another planet or a fantasy world - and I imagine it must feel like nowhere else on earth. It is fascinating, too, how people have built their homes in this landscape and how they've decorated the rock.

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    1. We actually went to find fairy chimneys, but in reality we discovered and learnt so much more. Glad that you found the post interesting Wendy - thank you.

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  4. Incredible pictures, Rosemary. It is quite amazing to think nature can produce these pinnacles, with the little pointed 'chimney tops', and that the rock is suitable for man to carve out a home in them. The church is the most intriguing thing - surely there must be nothing else like it anywhere in the world. Thank you for showing us something very special in Cappadocia.

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    1. Dear Patricia - there are actually four different churches in that collage - there were also several more which I have not shown. No photos were allowed inside - the one illustrating the typical Byzantine decoration was taken before I realised. Thank you for your kind comments and glad you enjoyed seeing this little corner of the world.

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  5. How awesome. Your photos show the chimneys so well, and the village. All lovely indeed.

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  6. Fascinating and beautiful at the same time. Would love to go there one day...maybe in the Spring when trees are blooming and everything is greening up. Thank you for these wonderful pictures, Rosemary. I would never have known anything about this magical place.

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    1. Spring and Autumn are definitely the best seasons to visit this area Gina - it is far too hot in the mid-summer.

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  7. Hello Rosemary, Although those surreal formations are reason enough to go, I want to gild the lily by visiting when the apricots are ripe!

    Coastal Taiwan also has some fantastic erosion formations, but nothing to compare with these.
    --Jim

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    1. Dear Jim - we returned home with a very large bag of dried apricots. They have the most wonderful selections of dried fruits in Turkey.

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  8. Kapadocja jest niesamowita. Znam ją niestety tylko z pięknych zdjęć, filmów, jak i teraz u Ciebie ja widzę. Pozdrawiam.
    Cappadocia is amazing. I know it unfortunately only with beautiful photos, movies, and now I see in you. Yours.

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    1. Dear Giga - thank you for your kind comment. May be one day you will have the opportunity to visit too.

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  9. That was my thought when I was there as well - Is this another planet? Such an "out of this world" landscape isn't it?

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    1. Thank you for your comment - it is indeed a memorable landscape to see.

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  10. Dear Rosemary,

    This is absolutely fascinating. The movie Star Wars comes to mind. I'm intrigued by the 5th image down, which appears as though it could be for both home and storage. I'm assuming that people still live in these dwellings — is that true?

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    1. Dear Mark - the cave home that I showed in a previous post was made out of exactly the same kind of tuff structure as the 5th image. Lots and lots of them are still lived in, but I think the one that you mentioned on this post is now probably just used for storage.

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  11. Dear Rosemary,
    I can easily see how this would make an impression on one. I've been to Istanbul a few times but never anywhere else in Turkey. Many Colleagues of mine have been there and so I guess we too should visit, especially having become intrigued by our fab photographs. To me they look like a series of Arthur Rackham toadstools!
    Bye for now,
    Kirk

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    1. Hello Kirk - I like the idea of them being Arthur Rackham toadstools. Yes, I have been to Istanbul too, a magical exotic city which I love. Turkey has such a lot going for it, I think we shall definitely return to experience another area if the opportunity arises.

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  12. This is unbelievable Rosemary.
    I have missed out on some of your posts. I see that Kirk mentions Istanbul.
    I have never been to Turkey.
    This rock formation and the way you have explained how it came to be is so so fascinating.
    I have only ever seen people living in hillside caves about 40 years ago in Spain.
    I really can see ..these images will be with you always.
    Thank you for sharing them. There is still so much to see in this world. I wonder if I will ever get there.
    val x

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    1. Dear Val - good to hear from you, and I am pleased that you have now got your blog sorted out.
      Yes, we have been away having adventures - we have seen and had lots and lots of memorable moments in Turkey.

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  13. Wauw....it is a wonderful world...
    It is a totaly different landscape....i didn't know this.
    Thank you for sharing Rosemary.
    Have a nice evening.

    Greetings,
    Inge, my choice

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    1. Dear Inge - Cappadocia definitely is a very different landscape. We were totally captivated by it.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing it.

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  14. It is an amazing place Rosemary. I've been looking forward to seeing your photos and it looks even better than I imagined it to be. It seems quite remote, is it difficult to get to?

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    1. Dear Jessica - I do believe that you can fly to Cappadocia, but not to the area we visited - I think that the flights land about an hour away and you fly from Istanbul, but not 100% sure that I am correct.
      It is in the central Anatolian plains which are vast. We travelled there by flying first to Antalya on the mediterranean coast, then drove across the Taurus mountain range before crossing the plains to Cappadocia.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the photos, and you are right it is an amazing area to see.

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  15. This looks like a landscape in a fairy tale inhabited by gnomes. I have never heard of it and I amazed that it is fairly close. I assumed it to be in South America. Thanks for sharing, Rosemary! Interesting as always! Christa

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    1. Yes, you are right Christa - less than a 4½ plane flight away. Glad you found it interesting.

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  16. Hi Rosemary,
    Wow, it looks like you had fun. It reminds me of a fairytale that my parents would read to me when I was little.
    From: Bea Cupcake

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    1. Hello Bea - you are right we have had lots of fun, and it has been quite an adventure. Nice to hear from you♥

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  17. One of my friends visited here a few years ago, I was amazed by the landscape it just like doesn't look real!
    Sarah x

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    1. When you first see the landscape it does take your breath away. We arrived in the dark, so it was wonderful looking out of our cave hotel window the following morning.

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  18. Amazing stuff, Rosemary! We've visited some hoodoos here in North America, but I can't remember exactly where. Your photos are terrific!

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    1. You are right Marie there are some hoodoos in N. America, but I think that their geology is different to the ones in Cappadocia. There are some in Utah, Bryce Canyon, and they can also be found in France, Serbia, and Taiwan.
      Glad you enjoyed the photos.

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  19. Amazing landscape . looks surreal ! Such a feast for the eyes !

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing this surreal landscape Jane,

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  20. This is something I am not all familiar with, so your post is quite educational for me. What a vast and interesting world we live in!

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    1. You are right Sanda - and we can only visit small parts of it if we are fortunate.

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  21. What a wonderful place, beautiful and very fairy tale like. The weather looked glorious too, lovely to see such beautiful blue sky.

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    1. It was a totally fascinating place to visit Elizabeth, and the weather was perfect from sun rise to sun set every day.

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  22. How absolutely incredible Rosemary. It looks like the ideal location for a scene from Star Wars. I can't believe that the chimneys are natural, they look like they have been crafted by little ewoks! Magical!

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    1. Magical is the right word Paul - glad that you enjoyed seeing them.

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  23. You have been to fairyland, that is for sure! Hello again, Rosemary, I have not been reading or writing blogs for more than half a year, but now I found out I miss you all! What a wonderful landscape, and wonderful pictures by you! I resently read a crime novel by Barbara Nadel where the plot was set in Cappadokia, and the landscape was an important ingredient to the novel. I do not remember the title , I have read 13 books about inspector Cetin Ikmen from Istanbul.

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    1. Dear Lise - how lovely to hear from you again - I had wondered what had happened to you, but glad to know everything is well with you,
      I shall have to check out that book by Barbara Nadel, I think that I would find it interesting now that I have walked in the landscape and am familiar with it.

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  24. What an amazing place. I am so glad you shared it with us. This is such an interesting post!

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    1. Turkey exceeded our expectations, we saw so many interesting things and sights.

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  25. Such an impressive landscape Rosemary! Turkey and especially Cappadocia is a popular holiday destination in Holland as well, but I have never visited the country myself. I think I will have to one day. If only to visit the salt water baths and the beautiful rock formations on your photo's.

    Happy weekend ahead!

    Madelief x

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    1. Dear Madelief - do hope that you get the opportunity to visit at some time in the future. I am sure that you would enjoy it.
      Take care.

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  26. Your series of posts on Turkey are fascinating. The next best thing to being there. I use several Rumi sayings for inspiration and guidance. I had no idea it was possible to visit his tomb.

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    1. I agree, Rumi's poetry and sayings are inspirational. I did not realise that you could visit the tomb either before this trip. This Turkish holiday had so many surprises in store for us, unexpected occasions happened daily which we had no idea were on our itinerary.

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  27. Thank you for this wonderful informative post with amazing photos. My first introduction to Capadocia was when my daughter and her husband brought back photos after visiting twelve year ago. I was fascinated and would love to visit. Don't think I will ever do that, but it's great to learn so much from your visit.

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    1. Dear Betty - I realise that trips you make to Europe are a big undertaking, and that you have just had a big adventure over here, but who knows may be one day you will be able to visit.

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  28. I love your photos Rosemary. It's such an amazing place, I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago and it left a lasting impression on me too! x

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    1. Hello Penny - delighted that this post reminded you of your own visit to Cappadocia, and thank you for your kind comment re the photos.

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  29. Wonderful photos - as always! I love the Byzantine churches. I thought the place looked deserted - then I spied people looking rather like ants among ant hills!

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    1. Thats brilliant Nilly - wish I had thought of that description myself.

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  30. Oh wow, how truly spectacular, Rosemary. Your photos are extraordinarily good and give a marvellous impression of this unearthly landscape, better than any I've found elsewhere. Wonderful post.

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    1. Dear Perpetua - thank you so much for your lovely comment, you have made my evening.

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  31. Thank you for this post. I can only imagine what it must be like to go into those rock churches. I guess you have to go there to truly appreciate such a place. The rock formations are extraordinary. I like your collages showing the doors and windows and carving high up in the rock. I'm reminded of the rock monasteries elsewhere, but this area must be rewarding to travel to since it seems so remote and 'other worldly'. On a different note, I wonder what the wine is like that's produced? The dried fruit (apricots) must be delicious in such a fertile region.

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    1. Dear Linda - the wine we tasted was very good, as was all of the food we were given. I think that I have mentioned previously that we brought back some dried apricots which are delicious and reasonably priced. One thing that really impressed us were the wonderful salad leaves and herbs at most of the hotels. I know that they say you should not eat salad but we both did and suffered no ill effects. You could see that they were very fresh and had been cleaned in a spinner, they had big bowls of freshly squeezed lemon juice to go on them, which I loved.
      The rock church on the top righthand side was impossible to get in - I think that you needed a ladder to gain entrance. Many of them had typically painted Byzantine frescos which I was sadly not allowed to photograph.

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  32. Wow, these views exceed my expectation in its beauty and wonder. The art created by nature in the long course of history surely gives us an enormous impact and I really understand this will be the lasting impression on you. It’s also amazing such landscape has survived in the earthquake-prone country. I just wonder if it doesn’t crumble away in case of earthquake (No. 13). . No. 11 looks like that father, mother, and child are overlooking Cappadocia.

    Yoko

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    1. You picked a good name for the three tuff formations Yoko and you are very close to their actual name. They are known as the Three Sisters.
      Whole communities in that area have been destroyed in the past, but as you mention it is surprising that so much is still standing in the way it has done for millions of years.

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  33. Amazing landscape, amazing. I had seen it before but those photos are the best I've ever seen.

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    1. Thank you Marina for your very kind comment.

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  34. Dear Rosemary , I have listen about it and every year make from here to this place trips ,because at past year lived Greek people around . The pictures are amazing ,you think that you are in an another planet ! So beautiful
    and impressive place ! Thank you for sharing this !!

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    1. Dear Olympia - there must be nowhere else on earth that has a landscape quite like the one in Cappadocia. From ancient times, as you know, there were many Greeks living in the area. Glad that you enjoyed seeing it.

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“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them too.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh