Kappadokya – Balloons AND caves, but not IN caves

There are so many amazing places to see in Turkey; Kappadokya really stands out. Instead of the usual ancient ruins, giant marble columns, and jaw-dropping temples, the place is riddled with caves!

There are underground cities, open air museums, tunnels and canyons. It seems like every cliff face has a door or a window in it, and every freestanding pillar of rock has been hollowed out into a three story house.

Open Air Museum

One of the more well known sites in Kappadokya is the open air museum, just outside of Goreme town to the east. It is basically an area with a particularly high concentration of churches dug into the rock formations. Taking pictures in the churches is not allowed, so we have no pictures of the churches.

It was very impressive, but we also found the highest concentration of bus tourists there. For us the highlight of the museum was not in it but above it. We came out of one of the crazy caves to see dozens of hot-air balloons rising up from all over town.

Kappadokya balloons

Normally the balloons go up early in the morning to catch sunrise. Apparently the last few days had been too windy so the balloon companies were flying an extra afternoon flight.


Monkeying Around

Our favorite thing to do in a place like Kappadokya is to just wander off and monkey around all afternoon. There are so many cave houses everywhere, and we even found an old church to take pictures of. It was a bit tricky to get into, but worth the scramble.

There were some cave-houses that we went into where the first room had a hole in the ceiling. When we climbed up through the hole, we found another level, again with a hole in the ceiling. Amazing!

We finally emerged out a window about 35 meters off the ground, and there was still another level above us. This one could be reached by a super-sketchy series of hand and foot-holds gouged into the outside of the rock. Nope, not going up there.

We must have spent two or three full days just wandering around the countryside poking our heads into holes in the rocks. Good times.

More to come on Kappakokya and the people we met there!



I am a world-travelling, long distance runner previously disguised as a high-voltage engineer and now masquerading as a travel blogger.

2 thoughts to “Kappadokya – Balloons AND caves, but not IN caves”

  1. Your description reminds me a little of exploring Angkor Wat in Cambodia – miles of abandoned temples with infinite numbers of rooms and passages to discover and climb around. Looking forward to your next piece on the people.

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