Monday, November 12, 2012
On Monday morning, you will wake up bright and early and head to the Izmir airport where you will catch a flight to Nevsehir (Cappadocia Airport).
Upon arrival, you will head to the stunning Goreme National Park where you will enjoy lunch in the Pigeon Valley. The eroded plateau of the Göreme valley is a spectacular example of the effects of differential erosion of the volcanic tuff sediments by wind and water. Typical features are pillars, columns, towers, obelisks and needles that reach heights of 40 m. The major remnant of erosion, Akdag (1,325 m), is the dominant feature in the valley. The nearby Erciyas volcano is still active with occasional minor eruptions. Its outstanding example represents the Earth’s evolutionary history. Within these rock formations people have excavated a network of caves which served as refuges, residences, storage and places of worship dating from the 4th century. The surrounding landscape is agricultural with a number of small scattered rural villages.
After lunch, at the Balkon Restaurant, you will begin your exploration of the Zelve valley. Zelve is situated on the northern slopes of Aktepe, 1km from Pasabaglari (Monks’ Valley) and 5 km from Avanos. The ruins at Zelve are spread over three valleys, which also house several pointed fairy chimneys with large stems. The valley was inhabited until 1952. Apart from monasteries and churches, houses, a tunnel joining two of the valleys, a mill, a mosque and several dove-cotes are found in the valley. Like the ones in Uçhisar, Göreme and Çavu?in, it is not known when the rock dwellings in Zelve were first inhabited but it was an important settlement and religious area during the 9th and 13th centuries. The first seminaries to priests were given here. The Direkli Church (with Columns), situated at the bottom of the slopes, dates back to the early years of monastery life in Zelve. The main decorations are high relief crosses belonging to the Iconoclastic doctrine. Some of the most important churches in the valley are Balikli (Fish), Uzu mlu (Grape) and Geyikli (Deer), belonging to the Pre-Iconoclastic period.
After a stunning tour of the park, you will head to the Kavaklidere Cotes D’Avanos Winery, where you can explore their 180 hectares dedicated to Narince, Kalecik Karasi, Emir and Öküzgözü, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo.
Dinner will be at the Han Ciragan, a traditional Turkish restaurant with over 200 years of history.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Kocabag Cappadocian Wines is a family owned wine producer and viticulture company located in Uchisar district, Nevsehir. Mehmet Erdogan, the father of Hasan-Menduh Erdogan, established Kocaba? in 1972. His main purpose was to benefit from the surplus of grapes available producing table wine consumption. Consequently, he carved into rock in his garden to build a cellar with a storage capacity of 150 thousands of liters. Clearly, this was quite a large rock. The company put its first bottle of wine on the market in 1986.
After the visit, you will have a guided visit of the Pigeon Valley, Open Air Museum and various churches.
With a slight change of pace, you will dine at the Old Greek House Restaurant. The Old Greek House is nestled in the village of Mustafapasa, aquaint village in the heart of Cappadocia was previously called Sinasos which means the “The City of the Sun”. It was by pure chance that in 1992, the Ozturk family became involved in the restaurant and hospitality business, converting the Old Greek House into a restaurant and it eventually one of the most celebrated and famous restaurans in Cappadocia.
Cappadocia is a geological wonderland. When the volcanoes in the region were active, the lava which poured out covered all previously formed hills and valleys forming a high plateau. This newly formed plateau concists mainly of tufa and some rare layers of basalt. The basalt is less affected by erosion when compared to the tufa and has served as a protective cover. This juxtaposition of different materials has produced capped columns, pyramidsand conical formations with dark-colored caps known as peribacalar, fairy chimneys. A block of hard rock which resists erosion is left standing alone as the tufa around it is worn away,until it stands at the top of a large cone. A fairy chimney exists until the neck of the cone is eroded and the cap falls off.
Goreme Open Air Museum : The monastic complex of rock churches and chapels covered with frescoes is one of the best known sites of Central Anatolia. St. Basil from Kayseri established a monastery and had missionaries educated here in order to spread Christianity.
The best churches of Göreme are Elmal (Apple Church), St. Barbara, Yilanli Kilise (Snake Church), Karanlik (Dark Church), Çarikli (Sandal Church) and Tokali (Church with a Shield).
Come early evening you will check in to the hotel and have some down time before enjoying a leisurely dinner at Elai Cappadocia.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
If you’re game for a VERY early morning dawn air balloon ride, this is the time to do it. This is an optional part of the trip, as it is a private tour that will pick up guests around 05:45-06:00 and will leave around 08:30-09:00. The approximate price for this tour is around 100.-€ per person including transfer and VAT. If you’re not keen for high adventurous flights, feel free to sleep in with a cup of Turkish coffee in hand.
The early morning flight will head to Istanbul from the Cappadocia airport.