Other trips


Other trips can be accessed by clicking the following links:

2013
Iceland, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Mongolia, China, Thailand, Cambodia and South Korea

2014
Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Copenhagen

2015
Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Nepal, India and England

2016
Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Ethiopia, Kenya, S. Africa, Zimbabwe, UAE and Denmark

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fred & Wilma's Home in Cappadocia!


My sincere thanks to you, Emi, from Ottawa and Montreal for coming up with the title of today’s post! Annie in Jerusalem on 10/22

We stayed in the town of Goreme in the middle of the region so we could easily tour from there and also see some of the most spectacular fairy chimney valleys in the region, and one of two regional UNESCO World Heritage Site’s Open Air Museums. The Goreme ‘museum’ is actually a cluster of fairy chimneys famous for its spectacular cave churches.

We walked about a mile out of town to visit the museum, watching oodles of huge tour buses pass us as we were able to take in the amazing sights around us one step at a time.



 Once at the museum, we spent a few hours going from one hidden church  to another as we traipsed up and down rocks, in and out of narrow crevices, and up fairly steep and very narrow steps that were the only way up AND down. That made for some tight maneuvering, let me tell you, because there were generally lots of people wanting to access the same spots we did. 



The churches are laid out counterclockwise so we simply followed the madding crowds from one church to another. We had arrived at the museum mid morning about the same time as the tour buses. We luckily had far more time than their passengers were allotted so once the buses departed, it was almost as if we had the entire museum to ourselves. What a difference that made.

As we entered the museum, the first thing we saw was a steep rock simply called Convent and Monastery, that housed a six story convent, which had a kitchen and refectory on the lower levels and  chapel on the third.


We could access the 11th C. wonderfully preserved frescoes of  biblical scenes and saints’ portraits of the Elmali Kilesi aka Church with the Apple through a tunnel. The church has 8 small domes and 1 large dome and red ochre geometric designs and crosses.










Above is Barbara Kilise (kilise is Turkish for church). It had some frescoes but it was also decorated with red ochre symbols painted on the rock including some geometric designs. Normally when I, and I'm assuming you too, think of a church it's a lovely building made of wood, stone with an attractive facade. In Cappadocia, however, there are NO buildings identifable from the outside as being a church as all appear as simply big rocks, period. It's as if you were transported back to the Stone Ages and Fred and Wilma Flintsone were living next door. It's the uncanniest thing coming across huge rocks that are really churches and hold amazing frescoes and often the most colorful painitngs!

The most stunning church was the Karanlik or Dark Church which has been extensively restored by UNESCO and has an exceptional group of frescoes throughout the entire church. Vibrant scenes dominated by deep blue colors decorate the walls and the domed ceiling. The frescoes, which show scenes from the Old and New Testaments, have retained their brilliant colors due to the structure of the church which lets in little light, hence its name.



















To access the 11th C. Church on the Sandal we had to climb up a narrow metal ladder – once again the only entrance and exit, so a very tight fit at times when others were coming down when we were going up or vice versa! The church was named after the footprints, or indentations some might say, below the Ascension fresco. Some believe they were the casts of Jesus’ own footprints.



 In the Refectory and Kitchen, we saw the huge rock-carved dining table that was packed at mealtimes with up to 40 priests. Carved into the opposite wall was a place allotted for wine making. There were a number of kitchens and storage rooms throughout the museum but nothing of great inte3rest to us, we thought.




 Just across the main museum area and a short way down the road was the Tokali Kilese or Church with the Buckle, the oldest church and one of the largest and most impressive. The church is made up of an ‘Old Church’ and ‘New Church.’ The former was built in the early 10th C. and less than a century later it became the vaulted atrium of the ‘New Church’ which was dug deeper into the rock.








As we’d wandered through Goreme on the way to the Open Air Museum, we’d passed a number of carpet stores and we both decided to stop on the way back and ‘look’ at some. Knowing this was our last day in Turkey and thus our final opportunity to buy a carpet made us more receptive to buying than we’d been passing 101 carpet stores in Istanbul and every other city we’d been in Turkey. I had had extensive notes with me about buying Turkish carpets but threw them out after we left Istanbul thinking that was no longer an option.

Steven, having lived for 2 years in Iran many decades ago, is far more knowledgeable than I about oriental rugs. We had only talked for a few minutes on the way back to town what possible room we’d ‘need’ a carpet in but had no idea about the size we should be looking for. Not the best way to go carpet shopping but that’s what we did and what fun we had! We ended up buying a lovely 5x7 Sumac style kilm for the study; not sure what we’ll do with the one already there though!

After getting hopelessly lost in the pouring rain, we finally found our way back to the hotel just in time to be picked up at 5:30 to be taken for a Whirling Dervish ceremony in the town of Avanos 30 minutes away. After having visited the Whirling Dervish Museum back in Istanbul, we were excited to be attending an actual ceremony. It was held in the gorgeous stone Cultural Complex that we had just enough time to walk through and admire its beauty before sitting down on seats around what looked almost like a boxing ring. No photos were allowed during the performance which consisted of 8 men, 4 musicians/singers, 1 master Dervish and his 3 much younger associates who twirled magically to the sounds of the flautist, drummer and guitar players.




It was held in the gorgeous stone Cultural Complex that we had just enough time to walk through and admire its beauty before sitting down on seats around what looked almost like a boxing ring. No photos were allowed during the performance which consisted of 8 men: 4 musicians/singers, 1 master Dervish and his 3 much younger associates who twirled magically for about 30 minutes to the sounds of the flautist, drummer and guitar players. Though it was of course a religious ceremony, it seemed so much a like a dance performance too as the 3 younger men moved so gracefully and seemingly effortlessly. We were in the first row and didn’t notice their breaking a sweat. Once the religious part ended, the men continued to twirl for a few moments so that pictures could be taken; I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many flashbulbs go off in front of me in such a short time!

















Drinking very sweet apple tea after the performance.

Thank you, dear readers, for joining us as we explored Turkey together.