life through the lens
home destinations a-z the big trips about me world beers newspapers updates/links top fives travel store




Location - South east Europe/Middle East; Capital - Ankara; Population - 50 million; Currency - Turkish Lire MORE TURKEY

I said goodbye to the Kurdish south east and headed for the Cappadocia region in central Turkey - November 2013.


turkeynote3After suffering rampant inflation and a couple of currency changes the country has now settled on the Turkish Lire









turkey212Goreme is the tourist centre for visiting the remarkable rock sculptures in Cappadocia - Goreme


turkey216The 'fairy chimney' rocks have been carved through a mix of natural and man-made forces - Goreme


turkey231aAn artistic sign marks a shop entrance on the way to Goreme Open Air Museum - Goreme















turkey282Goreme Open Air Museum protects several 9th to 11th century rock-cut churches, formerly inhabited by Byzantine monks - Goreme













turkey238On entering Goreme Open Air Museum the first building you'll come across is the Nunnery and Monastery - Goreme


turkey235The Nunnery and Monastery occupies six floors, but it's interior was closed to visitors when I was there - Goreme


turkey249The 13th century Carikli (Sandals) Church - Goreme


















turkey252The entrance to St Catherine's Chapel - Goreme














turkey271Karanlik, or the Dark Church, is one of the most impressive - Goreme


turkey266It's frescoed interior has been restored to display vivid colours - Goreme


turkey278The Chapel of St Barbara is named after Saint Barbara - Goreme



















turkey281The view opposite the Chapel of St Barbara - Goreme















turkey295There's carvings everywhere you turn in Goreme


turkey227The way to go. An early morning balloon flight over Cappadocia is a very popular tourist activity - Goreme


turkey287The Open Air Museum is a series of stairs, alleyways, caves, churches, monasteries, chapels and frescoes - Goreme


















turkey296There's plenty of other rock-cut caves scattered around Goreme















turkey299These fairy chimneys are next to the Open Air Museum car park - Goreme


turkey303A 15 minute walk from the museum is El Nazar (Evil Eye) Church - Goreme


turkey306Wander around Goreme and surrounding valleys and see what you can find - Goreme














turkey224Restaurants serve slow-cooked kebabs by tapping the base of these baking pots - Goreme















turkey202The fairy chimney on the right was my room for the night - Goreme


turkey200The fairy chimney entrance - Goreme


turkey208I loved the inside of these rooms. Most converted fairy chimneys have a history and mine was used as a winery. Others were stables and Byzantine family rooms - Goreme













turkey198I also stayed at the cheaper Dorm Cave, but it too had a great ambience - Goreme















turkey318Walk up a steep road to Sunset View Hill for brilliant views of Goreme


turkey324The warm glow of a fading sun falls on Gulludere (Rose) Valley - Goreme


turkey328People gather at Sunset View Hill, with the distinctive Uchisar Castle in the distance - Goreme















turkey340The hotel and fairy chimney lights come on for an atmospheric snap - Goreme















turkey346Sari Han was a caravanserai and is now a popular place to watch the Whirling Dervish ceremony - Avanos


turkey350The ceremony, or sema, is performed by the Mevlevi religious sect - Avanos


turkey354The 'whirling' part of the sema enables the dervishes to communicate with God - Avanos















turkey360It's pretty hard to make out in this photo but in the middle/right is Uchisar Castle - Uchisar


turkey367More caves and tunnels in weird and wonderful rock formations at Uchisar


turkey369Hanging out the washing - Uchisar














turkey375These rocks in Urgup, a few km from Goreme, are known as the Three Beauties


turkey378Devrent Valley is home to volcanic rock formations which resemble various animal forms














turkey380Can you guess the creature? A camel at Devrent Valley














turkey387The tops look kinda fungal to me - Devrent Valley


turkey394Pasabag is famous for its huge fairy chimneys














turkey397For some reason this reminds me of Donnie Darko - Pasabag















turkey399Mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys - Pasabag


turkey401Making use of the natural surroundings - Pasabag


turkey407A former church at Pasabag


















turkey413Pasabag is a great place to wander around


turkey422For me a drawback of tours is being dragged along to souvenir shops, but it was interesting to see how clay was transformed into these colourful vases and plates at Avanos














turkey425The village ruins at Cavusin



turkey428Looking towards the Gulludere (Rose) Valley at Cavusin


turkey427Dug into the rock face are old pigeon caves - Cavusin















turkey435A couple more unusual rock formations at Cavusin















turkey432The Rose Valley really takes after its name; you can make out a horizontal band of deeper reddish pink - Cavusin


turkey434Dwarfed at the base of the Rose Valley - Cavusin


turkey445There's a plateau at the top of Cavusin where you can look down at the village below














turkey456My last tourist site in Cappadocia was the underground city at Kaymakli


turkey463The underground city is spread over eight floors, four of which are open to the public; this was the wine cellar - Kaymakli


turkey455The city dates back centuries and was home to stables, granaries and living quarters, supported by ventilation shafts - Kaymakli














turkey471I'm not sure what lake this is, on the way from Cappadocia to Ankara, but it looked beautiful in the fading light. Maybe it's Lake Tuz? (Salt Lake)


turkey472Genclik Park is in Ankara's old quarter















turkey481There were many events commemorating the 75th year since the death of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - Ankara













turkey487Anit Kabir, meaning memorial tomb, is the mausoleum of Ataturk - Ankara


turkey490Statues at the head of Lion Road, the walkway leading to Ataturk's tomb - Ankara


turkey521The Turkish flag is draped from the Hall of Honour at Anit Kabir - Ankara















turkey497Waiting until 09:00 when the mausoleum is opened to the public - Ankara














turkey502In the meantime crowds began chanting what I presume were support for the Republic of Turkey and of Ataturk himself - Ankara


turkey503Soldiers begin the march to the Hall of Honour and the opening of Anit Kabir - Ankara


turkey512A quote from an Ataturk speech outside the hall entrance - Ankara

















turkey509The tomb of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first leader of the republic of Turkey, who died in 1938 - Ankara














turkey518Anit Kabir also has a museum honouring the life of Ataturk along with a history of the founding of Turkey - Ankara


turkey476The side-streets around Kizilay metro station are buzzing with life at the weekend and definitely worth a stroll in the evening - Ankara


turkey523Finger Gate (Parmak Kapisi) marks the entrance to the citadel in the old quarter of Ankara














turkey527Shops on the walk up to the citadel's Eastern Tower - Ankara















turkey529Alaettin Mosque's minaret rises above the market - Ankara


turkey536Walking the walls of the Eastern Tower - Ankara


turkey549Take in the whole of Ankara from Sark Kulesi (the Eastern Tower)















turkey548The Tower gives superb 360 degree views of the capital - Ankara














turkey545In need of some 'renovation' - Ankara


turkey543The old city walls, Anit Kabir, Genclik Park and the surrounding mountains can all be seen from the tower - Ankara


turkey551Shopkeepers get themselves comfortable - Ankara















turkey552A statue of Ataturk on horseback in the old quarter - Ankara














turkey555A restaurant-filled street in the tourist-heavy quarter of Sultanahmet - Istanbul


turkey556Sultanahmet is a lively area at night, with several bars to add to the restaurants and souvenir shops - Istanbul


turkey561The stunning Sultanahmet Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque - Istanbul














turkey563The Blue Mosque was built in the 17th century and contains the tomb of its creator, Sultan Ahmed I - Istanbul














turkey568The Blue Mosque gets its name from the colour of the tiles - Istanbul


turkey573I only had about 12 hours in Istanbul before my flight, but I made sure I saw this gorgeous mosque. Next time I'll venture inside


turkey577Separating the Blue Mosque from the Aya Sofya are the fountains of Sultanahmet Park - Istanbul














turkey581The Aya Sofya was originally a church, then a mosque, before it became a museum in 1935 on the orders of Ataturk - Istanbul














turkey582The current Aya Sofya structure was built as a church in the 6th century; in 1453 the Ottomans converted it to a mosque - Istanbul


turkey583The Aya Sofya, or Hagia Sophia, stands behind a Sultanahment Park fountain - Istanbul



Website and content Copyright © 2008-2014 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.


LINKS - Turkish tourist board - online Turkish eVisa application - Turkish railways - bus travel advice


I am not responsible for the content of external websites.


countries a-z