Travel with me #116 : Ürgüp, Pigeon Valley and the Sultan Cave hotel!

in #dlive6 years ago

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Dear Steemit Friends:

Today we will explore more of the Cappadocia region of Turkey on the Central Anatolian Plateau. This beautiful area of the world is a mix of ancient human history and the dramatic landscapes that the natural world has to offer. Able to maintain all of its rustic and historical charm, despite thousands of tourists visiting each year, Cappadocia has more to offer in the way of unique landscapes that any other place I have visited in the world. Are other places more dramatic? Perhaps. But there are very few that rival this place for pure magical strange-ness.

I start my journey today in the wonderful town of Ürgüp which is located near the cave churches of Goreme where we visited together before. To see more of that, check out my post HERE. Of the 34,000 people or so that live in the disctict, 18,000 of them live in Ürgüp making it a sizeable settlement. The town is famous for being the centre of the wine production and trade in Cappadocia with 60% of the wines from the region coming from the Turasan Winery in the town.

As you can see the views from Ürgüp are not too shabby!

Ürgüp is famous for its conical shape, resembling a miniature volcano. That is very fitting since the rock formations found around Cappadocia were formed millions of years ago by three volcanoes named, Erciyes, Hasan and Melendiz Dağları. Fortunately, Ürgüp isn't a volcano and its same simply comes from the unique geology of the region caused by its volcanic past. Beautifully, the buildings and cave dwellings of the town rise up the slopes of the mountain side, many being carved straight into the rock.

In many places you stay in the town nearest to the natural attraction that you want to visit. Then you travel from the rather boring town to the place of natural wonder before returning to normality. In Cappadocia the towns are the natural wonders. Built into the very bones of the land are the living, working and socialising areas. So even as I was leaving for my day of adventures, I couldn't help but look back at the beauty I had just left behind.

Discovering Pasabag or Monks Valley


This remarkable valley is full of beautiful fairy chimneys but with very unique shapes! The fairy chimneys rise up from what is now a vineyard and the name Pasabag literally means, Pacha's vineyard. the word 'Pacha' means General, as in a General in the military. It is also sometimes named Monks Valley, probably because many monks and hermits carved their small homes in the rock here in centuries past.

One of the entrances to the beautiful valley.

My guide spent quite a long time convincing me that these looked most like mushrooms... but I have to say I think they may look more like something else! I don't think I can say what, in such tasteful company such as yourselves. However, the formations of Pasabag were truly impressive regardless of what you think they look like. Extremely tall, the tops of them look like round pyramids just balanced on top. Apparently there were even some hermits that carved their little living quarters right into those top caps that barely even look attached! I'd be scared about my room toppling off the top of the pillar!

I thought the pillar in the foreground right looked like a man wearing a wizards hat! There really were some amazing shapes that I had never seen before. Still kind of like the typical fairy chimneys that I had started to become desensitised too, they almost looked like the towers on a French chateau with the slate tiled roofs on top. So either wizards or chateaus, what do you think?

Walking through the huge pillars of rock made me realise how very big they were and made my small self feel even smaller than normal. Some of the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia felt quite delicate and looked almost fragile, but the pillars here in the Monks Valley felt very imposing. My neck started to ache from so many hours just staring upwards at them!

Behind me you can see some of the vineyard in which Monks Valley stands. Archaeologists believe that wine making in the region has been going on for at least 7,000 years, but the Hittite people are probably responsible for developing the bulk of the industry in the area between 1800BC and 1400BC. Even during the reign of the Ottoman empire, who largely suppressed the drinking of alcohol, wine making continued in the region led by Christian and Jewish settlers.

After the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923 there was much encouragements made to the wine industry in the country and by the 1940s the industry was thriving. There are many award winning wines from the indigenous grapes of the region the best of which are reportedly Narince and Emir for white win and Bogazkere and Okuzgozu for reds. Their popularity is spreading world wide with many experts ranking the wines produced here very highly.

The beautiful village in Pigeon Valley

We saw some beautiful views together of Pigeon Valley in one of my previous posts but I never got up close and personal with the area. Today I was delighted that I would be visiting a little village nestled just inside the famous Pigeon Valley where I was going to get to get a real taste for the local people and their customs. Goreme and Ürgüp are well developed tourists destinations and though they've been very faithful to their routes and history, staying well preserved despite thousands of tourists, they are nothing compared to the village I was about to visit in terms of experiencing authentic daily life of local people.

It was a long way to find this isolated village and it took quite some time to hike through the valley to the hidden village. My excitement kept me going, however, knowing that I was about to experience more of the local life than most got to experience when visiting the area. I was told that this little village was home to farmers whose goal was to be self sustainable by growing all of the food they eat and rearing their own cattle.

Finally, after a treacherous hike down the valley in the blistering hot, I reached my destination. With no official name, this little group of buildings I have called a village was more a small community of farmers. Mostly run by middle aged women, they had created a beautiful area nestled into the side of the valley where they had planted and grew many different fruit trees and had live stock roaming free.

The shade of the fruit trees was most welcome after such a long trek but I knew this was going to be really worth it. I was welcomed graciously by a woman who introduced herself as Elif. I will tell you now that not a single person I met here spoke a word of English so we communicated by use of our tone, facial expressions and gestures! I felt so welcomed and was astounded by the generosity of the people here, who were genuinely excited to be able to show off their community to visitors.

Enjoying the shade of the trees.

As you can see the compound had such a variety of different produce and animals all in one place. There were grapes for eating and for wine, donkeys for transportation and labour (though this one was just a baby) and chickens and ducks too for eggs and meat.

What post of mine would be complete without a cute little animal?

As you can see the ducks and chickens were completely free range and loved the shade of the trees down in the cute valley where the farms were situated. They ran around all of the pots, baskets and carts used for the manufacture and storage of food.

I thought I would just be here to see the area but the women of the community embraced me with open arms and were genuinely excited to be able to show off where they lived and their industry. They wanted to show me how they lived and how they lived off the land. As you can see here, another bubbly lady wanted to show off the lavender that they produced to make essential oils and other gifts to trade and sell.

I wasn't expecting to eat here but they started bustling around me laying out food and invited me to join them. The food was of course the freshest I'd ever tasted with all of the products on the table having been grown by the women of the community, as far as I could understand from our gesturing.

It was the funniest meal I've ever had as we tried to communicate with each other, leading to many laughs at the different mimes we were giving each other. Never have I found a group of people so full of joy. This simple life gives them everything they need and their care free attitudes are testament to the good lives they lead here, showing you don't need technology or 'things' to be happy. You just need friends, a good home and good food.

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After my beautiful meal the Turkish man you saw me with with the donkey offered to give me and another two tourists who had found their way to the farm, a ride back home. I was so grateful to accept because the trek down really had been arduous, though extremely worth it. I had loved every minute of my stay here and it was fascinating to see the lives of local people as they would have been lived here for centuries. Living in the caves and valleys and living off the land, with some minimal trade.

Overlooking Goreme at the Sultan Cave Suites


One of the premiere hotels in Goreme town, the Sultan Cave Suites are situated in stepped back terraces overlooking the beauty of the town and the surrounding areas. The hotel has 30 rooms and combines original features and cave architecture into modern, luxurious rooms that even the most seasoned traveller would marvel at. Of course, the inside of rooms are just part of the story because outside your room there are also dozens of little terraces spread all over the hotel for you to sit and enjoy the view and the atmosphere of Goreme.

Beautiful terrace right outside the front of my room for relaxing

I am so excited to re-discover the beauty of this room with you all. Honestly I was enchanted. A mix between the ancient cave dwellings found all over the region, and the feel of a historical french chateau, it just oozes luxury. Never have I seen such a perfect marrying of rustic charm and plush, soft furnishings.

There was a fireplace built into the original cave walls and ornate Turkish design mantel piece framing it. I have to say that it was very hot when I visited Cappadocia so the idea of a fire sounded absolutely terrible at that point, but I could imagine cozying up in here on the velvety red chairs and reading a book during the winter, when the region actually gets quite cold, even seeing snow.

A great example of the ornate furniture mixing well with the plain stone

Through a solid, rustic wood door was the bathroom complete with antique looking fixtures and fittings, but all of the modern conveniences of hair dryers and heated towel rails! Not large, this room was one of the original rooms from an ancient cave dwelling that was re-designed to fit the hotel room's requirements while still maintaining the original bare stone walls.

My absolutely huge bed was nestled into this lovely stone archway making the large room still feel cosy and snug. Every little feature was thought about from the small dressing table with fold out seat to the little original alcove features for ornaments and artefacts.

Enjoying the rooftop view from Sultan Caves Suites


The rooms are completely beautiful at Sultan Caves Suites but the real selling point that draws people from all over the world are its rooftop terraces. Overlooking Goreme and the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, you can't help but feel in another world as you sit on the traditional Turkish low benches and relax.

Watching the sun set over the town I had time to reflect on my day and I was blown away once again by Turkey and its people. Seeing the majesty of Monks Valley and then seeing the humble lives that the true local people lead here, so full of love and life and welcoming, I felt that the people here are right for this land. Their honesty and unique character is so at home in this land of rocks that are so beautiful and diverse.

Completely relaxed after a long day of wonder, laughs and joy

And so we come to the end of another adventure. My favourite part was definitely going to visit the real local village farm and being able to send time with the inhabitants of this region who have been here for centuries. It puts the cave dwellings and stone houses of the ancient past into perspective because people still live here and live that lifestyle. They farm and live off the land and live at one with the rocks and beauty of the spires and valleys around Cappadocia. Elif was so kind and welcoming as were all of the other women in the community and I can't tell you how special I felt to be so accepted by these people - what a special experience that I will never have again.

I remember when I first came here, I was so wide eyed and couldn't close my mouth because I was constantly in shock about what I was seeing. Over some time you start to become used to the crazy, different, unique fairy tale landscapes. But seeing the love that the local people have for their land and seeing how they still value and appreciate it every single day brought into focus for me that you cannot take anything for granted. Where you live, where you travel, where you eat, every moment is important and these beautiful simple people have brought that back in to focus for me once again.

Thank you so much for joining me in this tour of Monks Valley, the local village in Pigeon Valley and around Sultan Caves Suites. I can't wait so share more exploration with you in the future so if you want to see more, please follow my blog here and vote for this post! I always love talking to you all, you know me I can't resist, so please do let me know your favourite part of the area we explored together today so we can talk about it!


在卡帕多西亚的最后几个站点,我看到了被怪石奇岩环绕的于尔居普小镇,红河从城市中间流过,更吸引人目光的是那些崖壁上凿刻出来的房舍,一层层密密麻麻立在尖尖的岩石上,好像是一群合唱队队员在排队站台,从远处观望真的非常惊艳,中间凸起的岩石山峰,好像是上帝一刀下去完成的艺术杰作,这座小镇所处的独特地势和全景造型真的让人过目不忘。

小镇除了拥有卡帕多西亚地区与众不同的地貌特征,也有着悠久的历史,早在亚历山大大帝时代就已经出现在地图上的小镇,如今依然保留着罗马帝国时期早期基督徒避难的人居洞穴和美丽的壁画,五颜六色的调料美不胜收,大部分游客都会选择乘坐热气球在空中欣赏这座小镇的美。远眺小镇静谧的风光,好像在荒野里突起的一片绿洲,更像是上帝一件完美的雕刻艺术品,岩石峭壁上不仅绿树成荫,也有排列整齐的可爱小房子,展现了人与自然的和谐,一切都是那样朴素而平和。

下一站我们一起去帕夏贝看一看吧,那里拥有着卡帕多西亚最美、最高也是最可爱的仙人烟囱,无论是多头式、还是尖帽式的玄武岩看起来都是非常特別。走过石林间的蜿蜒小路,仿佛自己穿越到了异度空间。眼前景观,远看是一片壮观的石林,石柱看似瘦弱,顶部却像一顶帽子,整体看仿佛是一位戴了个帽子的绅士,又活像岩石上开出一朵朵可爱的蘑菇。近看其实每根烟囱形状都各有不同,当我爬上陡峭的山崖,盘坐在山顶的玄武岩上,俯瞰这片密密麻麻的石林,就有一览众山小的感觉,眼前震撼的视觉效应让我想起了张艺谋武侠艺术大片里的画面,自己似乎也已经修炼成仙,马上可以飞天了。

到了午饭时间,本来准备去寻找餐厅觅食的我,被当地的朋友拉到了鸽子谷,径直走下深深的鸽子谷,坐上越野卡车,经过一条山路来到了一片原生态自然农庄,村民热情的欢迎我的到来,走进农庄看见了郁郁葱葱的葡萄树,要说村庄里的明星小动物要数这只刚出生没多久的小奶驴,饲养它的当地人还开玩笑说,要把小驴卖给我,让我牵它回家。绿绿草坪上的小公鸡们,好像也在欢迎我的到来,这里简直就是最土著的土耳其版农家乐呀,在这里我体会到了当地人淳朴生活的浓浓乐趣。一位和蔼可亲的老奶奶手里捧着装满面包的碗经过我身边,露出久违的亲切笑容,仿佛一见如故见到了老朋友,和我开心的合影。走进农庄的洞穴屋,看见了招待客人的宽敞客厅,繁忙的厨房,还有堆满了薰衣草的工作间,没错呀,现在不正是薰衣草盛放的季节。主人招待我在餐桌前坐下,接着一盘盘带着自然飘香的,土耳其健康有机当地小吃上桌,一早上攀爬岩石山挥洒的汗水和辛苦在这些美食中,得到了很好的补充。

接着带大家去看看,我在卡帕多西亚住的最后一家酒店,苏丹洞穴套房酒店。这家酒店坐落于Aydinli Hill山顶之上,最迷人的是洞穴客房里,摆放满满来自土耳其各地的古董家具,酒店巧妙的设计,把大部分客房都安排在了岩石山之中,最好的发挥了在酷暑天气里,依旧可以营造清凉和静谧环境的优势。这次我的客房被安排在岩石上的最高处,推开门看见以大红色为基调的洞穴客房,温馨舒适的床,极具土耳其民俗风光的地毯,还有我最欣赏的土耳其欧式复古家具。古老的木质壁炉还有如同欧式复古电话机一般的淋浴喷头,都给我眼前一亮的感觉。没想到最让人惊喜的还在后头,当我走出房间,就来到了这家酒店最著名的全景日光露台,整个卡帕多西亚的广阔景致尽收眼底。

不禁感慨自己是多么幸运,分配到了这间客房,正好在地势最高的露台观景阳台旁边,在夜晚和清晨,这个阳台就好像是我的私人露台,容我尽情享受最美的时光。阳台上有一个装饰着倒吊花篮的木质吧台,轻快的音乐营造出慵懒轻松的气氛,地面上铺着硕大而独具特色的民俗红色地毯,阳台四周布置了放在地面的靠枕沙发,木质桌面摆着土耳其特质银壶,恰逢夕阳西下,饮一杯浊酒,俯瞰着美景,是怎样迷人梦幻的场景。远处绵延不断的山峦,近处的尖尖岩石,还有星星点点的红顶房屋,在我身后形成了一副最美的油画。因为这个露台,我爱上了整个酒店,更迷恋整个卡帕多西亚的炫丽风景,舍不得离去。今天的卡帕多西亚的浪漫旅程就要告于段落了,之后还有更多关于土耳其的有趣旅游故事想要分享给大家。

My video is at DLive

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我在云南泸沽湖旅游的时候在一户农家乐也看到了葡萄~
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云南泸沽湖也很美丽
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hmmm..what a fantastic moments did you have... well Done ... if there is just one thing that I can do for 7*24 and every single minutes, that must be TRAVELING and being in NATURE...
I wish I could have enough money someday to travel all around the world.

I have the same dream. Let's hope our dreams will come true! :)

I do believe on it , it would happen someday✌️✌️

泸沽湖,小的时候去过一次,真的很纯净很动人,谢谢美女分享的美照哟^^

妹妹!这些葡萄圆鼓鼓的,和我吃的不一样!

Did you take this photos by smartphone? Amazing place with amazing colourful shots.

I used a full frame camera! Sony A9!

Wow! Such an amazing adventure. That video of the Sultan Caves Suite that you stayed in was incredible. Such a great view as well. Was it very expensive to stay there? I definitely need to put this location on my bucket list. Those Wizard hat rocks were so cool! They kind of reminded me of a "Smurf" village. lol Are you familiar with that cartoon? haha. Another great post! :)

Oh mrchef, I actually wasn't aware of the Smurfs until you told me, but not that you mention it, they do look verrry similar! The Sultan Caves suite is actually quite expensive for the average prices around the area but actually the prices in general are quite a bit lower than other countries you might visit!

Well great! Now you know what the Smurfs are. lol That is nice to know that it is a fairly inexpensive place to visit. You should travel to the United States! Lots to see and do here. :)

Ahh the US is definitely coming up after my Europe tour!

Awesome!! :) You will love it! You will have to come to Arizona and see the Grand Canyon! :)

The rooftop view there is absolutely stunning! Did you capture any sunset photos?

Hey livinguktaiwan! I actually did get some sunset photos but they will be coming in a post sometime later!

Wow its a beautiful village and you look absolutely beautiful as always.

moala, so sweet of you, thanks so much dear!

有当地人领路,的确是另有一番滋味 :D

是的呢,当地人会带你走进他们的生活,体验不寻常的乐趣^^

@sweetsssj is such a model and she always bring us with her journey to the world. One thing i really appreciate on her is the way she delivered her message her followers and how she showed to us what she had seen on her travel.

hey elizahfhaye, thank you so much!

Great post! Thank you for your continued commitment to Steemit! We appreciate you!

hey brettcalloway! Thank you for always dropping by and showing some love!

that is amazing. a hotel in a cave. beautiful

it is right? So far, i've only found hotels like this in Turkey!

美! 卡帕多西亚在你的游记里变得更美了。

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