Day 4 in Turkey: Kapadokya and Derin Kuyu

Kapadokya – more often called Cappadocia – is at the centre of Anatolya province. Renowned for the canyons formed through thousands of years of weathering of sedimentary rocks sculpting unearthly formations, It is now even more famous for the scenes created by the hot air balloons traversing the canyons in windless summer mornings.

Unfortunately, I could neither photograph nor try the hot air balloons for time and safety constraints. Recent climate change has made the wind in the region more erratic, evidenced by unfortunate fatal incidents. In accordance to the Korean government’s guidelines, Korean tour companies do not allow their clients to use the hot air balloon services for the time being.

Before visiting the Canyons, we first visited the Derin Kuyu. Literally meaning ‘deep well’, Derin Kuyu was first an underground passage for the steel era people’s military. Later, the early Byzantines dug in deeper, and founded an underground city for Christians that took refuge from persecution until Constantine the first converted to Christianity.

Even after Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal on his deathbed, though, most of the people who populated these underground cities could simply not think of a life outside of these caves. People chose to continue to live in the rocks: These little holes we see in Kapadokya are rooms or windows of houses where people actually resided.

Our tour company made up for the unavailability of Air Balloons with a Jeep Safari program. Tourists would ride in jeeps along the canyons, and stop by at vantage points for whatever tourists do (more photos).

With the excitement of the dunes and the bumpy ride behind us, we checked in to our hotel, dreaming of the sights and wonders of Istanbul.

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