After that many years visiting Cappadocíë, this week was about the eight time I quickly counted, I felt very strong about at last visiting the Ihlara Valley, combined with a visit to the Derinkuyu Underground City nearby which I did visit before. The above picture is taken 60 meter underground, 7! floors down, and low quality, I did not want to use flash,but hey it is mine, so for now it will do.
I can honestly say I was gobsmacked by the sheer beauty of the Ihlara canyon and yes, I have to admit, the gorgious weather absolutely contributed to the whole hiking experience as well.
As the walk was part of a day tour with a full programme, we did a good 4 km from the total 16 and visited only one of the churches. So yes I have to come back again to ‘do’ the valley on my own pace – including of course the stops for taking photographs as well as chatting with other hikers. Next ime it will be just me and a groupt of friends, findin gour way down the 400 something stairs to go dwon – (or maybe there are no such stairs at the beginning of the track.
Ihlara is a township with own municipality in Aksaray Province, Central Anatolia,Turkey. It is situated at about 40 km (25 mi) from the province seat of Aksaray and near the town of Güzelyurt. The township is famed for the nearby valley of the same name, Ihlara Valley, which is a 16 km (10 mi) long gorge cut into volcanic rock in the southern part of Cappadocia, following several eruptions of Mount Erciyes. The Melendiz Streamflows through the valley.
What makes the valley unique is the ancient history of its inhabitants. The whole canyon is honeycombed with rock-cut underground dwellings and churches from theByzantine period built by the Cappadocian Greeks.
Due the valley’s plentiful supply of water and hidden places, this was the first settlement of the first Christians escaping from Roman soldiers. In the Ihlara Valley there are hundreds of old churches in the volcanic rock caves. The best-known churches are Ağaçaltı Church with cross plan, Sümbüllü Church, Pürenliseki Church, Kokar Church, Yilanli Church, Karagedik Church, Kirkdamatli Church, Direkli Church, Ala Church, Kemerli Church and Egritas Church.
On the way we also got a good look at Mount Hassan
There is so much more tot tell and photopgraphs to share but that has to wait. Time to go home now.