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Cappadocia's Lunar Landscape
Cappadocia Turkey

In the days before Neil A. Armstrong gave real contours to thephantasmagoric image that the phrase ''lunar landscape'' used to evoke, Cappadocia could have served as its earthly counterfeit. Although firmly planted in the earth of Turkey's Anatolia (the ancient Asia Minor), a more extraterrestrial specter than Cappadocia's landscape can hardly be imagined -endless fields of bizarre castles, cones, spires and towers, crags dotted with mysterious apertures and phalanxes of gigantic mushrooms wearing caps that mock gravity.

All are stone, varying from bleached bone white, tan, pink, orange or green and changing tone from hour to hour, according to the sun's shifting angle. And as though a capricious nature had not done enough to make Cappadocia a striking sight, man has been at work since the dawn of history, digging, chopping and carving its yielding stone, to hollow it and shape it to his plan and to paint on it. He has left a record of his striving that dates back to the days of the Hittites of the Late Bronze Age, whom the Old Testament mentions as a people of the distant past.

The extraordinary rock formations of Cappadocia owe their existence to tens of thousands of years of volcanic eruptions during the Cenozoic era, 30 to 60 million years ago. Over many eons, rivers, rain, snow, storms and earthquakes churned through the layers of lava, creating tufa, a soft and malleable stone consisting of lava, ash and mud. Erosion did the rest.

Beneath this fantastic landscape, men dug far-flung cities 10 stories deep. Above ground, early Christians carved churches, monasteries and hermits' hideaways into the rock and painted on their walls a great museum of Byzantine art. The works range from primitive icons dating perhaps to the seventh century, through the geometric designs derived from the cross of the iconoclastic period (from 726 to 843, when figurative painting was banned as idolatry), on into the 13th century, when the Mongol invasion and Islam separated Cappadocia from Byzantium and its art. Nonetheless, small Greek Orthodox communities continued to use some of the churches until the exodus of the Greek communities from Asia Minor after the establishment of modern Turkey by Ataturk.

Cappadocia lies southeast of Ankara, the Turkish capital; a five-hour drive by bus or car will get you to the towns of Nevsehir, Goreme and Urgup. Each serves well as a center for excursions. Urgup, which has the best most modern and cave hotels. For those who are not specialists in Byzantine art, three days in Cappadocia provide enough time to see, above all, the wondrous landscape and to visit sites exemplifying its principal points of interest - churches, rock formations and subterranean cities.

Overview
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Hot Air Ballooning
Hiking in Cappadocia
Wedding & Honeymoon Package
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Whirling Dervishes Ceremony
Turkish Night Show
Turkish Bath
Buy A Cave House in Cappadocia
 
 
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