Monday, April 30, 2007
Four-hundred historical houses in the Uchisar district of one of Turkey’s most important tourism centers, Cappadocia, have been turned into restaurants, boutique hotels and pensions.Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Uchisar Mayor Mustafa Zuhal said the houses from the late Ottoman period and early republic period have been an attraction for foreign tourists visiting the region since the 1990s.
“The historical houses of the Cappadocia region have been restored with the permission of the Nevşehir Committee for the Protection of Cultural and Natural Structures and opened as hotels, restaurants and pensions. The French mostly manage such venues. Some German, Italian and the U.S. tourists buy these venues and enjoy their holidays. They add value to the region.”He said despite boutique hotels being more expensive than 4-5 star hotels, the natural environment has a positive impact on tourists.
Zühal said more than 100 historical structures were being turned into boutique hotels, adding that interest in historical houses enlivened tourism and that prices for those house range between 100,000-150,000 euros.
Monday, March 26, 2007
International artists will gather next month in the Cappadocia region for art. The International Uchisar Cappadocia Art Camp, which is marking its fourth year, will unite 20 artists from all over the world in Nevsehir’s Uchisar district. The works featuring the natural beauties of Cappadocia and created by the artists during their stay in the region will be displayed in the historic Uchisar Castle as part of the activities.
Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Uchisar Mayor Mustafa Zühal said besides Turkish artists, around 20 painters including French, German, Dutch, Italian, Columbian and Argentinean artists are expected to participate in the event.
“The camp is quite important for international promotion of our region and its districts. Cappadocia will be conveyed on canvases through the eyes of the artists. We will also be able to further promote our region to international visitors via an exhibition comprising artists’ works scheduled at the end of the camp on April 23,” he said, adding, “We made the art camp a traditional one. We want to continue it in a more comprehensive way since we find a chance to show and promote Cappadocia from different perspectives. We will thus give every sort of support to the artists participating in the event.” The camp will run through from April 2 to April 23.
Friday, March 2, 2007
The Cappadocia region offers visitors a distinctly extraordinary landscape and stunning natural beauty stretching over an area of 15,000 square miles. The Ihlara Valley is one of those unique spots located in the region, luring a great deal of tourists from all over the world with its natural and historical legacy.
Aksaray Provincial Culture and Tourism director Hamza Zengin told the Anatolia news agency that the valley was one of the major tourist attractions in the region with its natural beauty, historical treasures and many churches.Noting that the valley was home to 105 churches as well as rock houses and temples constructed by early Christians, he said the valley was an ideal place for monks and priests for worship and seclusion at the time.
“The formation of the valley, underground cities with connecting tunnels and churches that date back to A.D. 400 are all very popular with tourists. The Ihlara Valley is beautiful throughout the year and remains among the most popular spots in the Cappadocia region,” said Zengin.The Ihlara Valley, formed after several eruptions of Mount Erciyes, is a 16-kilometer long canyon in the southern part of Cappadocia.
Cracking and collapsing, which occurred as a result of basalt and andesite lava from Mt. Hasandag’s eruption, created the Ihlara Gorge and running through they valley is the Melendiz River.
What is unique about this valley is the ancient history of its inhabitants. The whole canyon is honeycombed with underground dwellings cut into the rock, churches from the Byzantine period and graves built into the valley’s walls, some of which are connected by tunnels and corridors. The valley proved to be an ideal place for the seclusion and worship of monks along with a hideaway and secure area for people during invasion.
The decoration of some churches can be dated back to the 6th and13th centuries and can be classified in to two groups. Churches close to the Ihlara Canyon have frescoes with oriental influence and those nearer to Belisirma possess Byzantine style decorations. Very few Byzantine inscriptions in this area can be read but a 13th century fresco in the church of St. George (Kırkdamaltı), the names of Seljuk Sultan Mesud and the Byzantine Emperor Andronicos are inscribed. The construction of new churches slows down after the Seljuk Turks’ conquered the area, however, church life continued until the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923.Some of the best-preserved frescoes in the Ihlara Valley can be found at the Agacaltı, Purenliseki, Kokar, Yilanli and St. George churches.
Near Uchisar is a valley that has become quite popular with hikers. It is known by many names (Valley of the Pigeon Lofts, Dovecote Valley, Pigeon Valley) but they all refer to the thousands of pigeon houses that have been carved into the soft tufa since ancient times. Although they can be found throughout Cappadocia, they are especially plentiful in this valley which must have one of the greatest collections of pigeon lofts in the world. They were carved wherever space allowed including abandoned caves and the walls of collapsed churches. They lack the architectural interest of the doocots of Scotland or the elaborate Persian pigeon towers but their sheer numbers are astonishing. In Cappadocia, pigeons have long been a source of food and fertilizer. The advent of chemical fertilizers has reduced the use of pigeon fertilizer. However, some farmers still maintain their lofts because they insist that the reputation of Cappadocian fruits as the sweetest and most succulent in Turkey is entirely due to the pigeons’ droppings.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
This year 22 international television stations from 10 countries have come to Turkey’s Cappadocia region — famous for its “fairy chimneys,” rock houses and underground cities to shoot documentaries, the private Dogan News Agency (DHA) reported.
Officials from the Nevsehir Museum Directorate said Cappadocia was a magnet for local and foreign tourists as well as Turkish and international TV stations. Six broadcasters from South Korea, three from Germany, two each from Japan, the United States, France, Iran and Greece, and one each from Russia, Italy and Switzerland have so far applied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to shoot documentaries in Cappadocia.
In 2006, a number of Turkish television stations and production companies also applied to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to shoot documentaries, TV series and films, among them, Sami Guçlu’s “Askin Dansi” (The Dance of Love), to be screened in January, and a large part of Kartal Tibet’s “Dunyayi Kurtaran Adamın Oglu” (The Son of Man Who Saves the World). Turkish TV series “Gumus” and “Adak” were also shot in Cappadocia.
Cappadocia is easily accessible by bus from anywhere in Turkey. By train, it is slower and uncomfortable and these trains run from Istanbul and Ankara to Kayseri and Nigde. There are connecting flights of the Turkish Airlines, which connect Istanbul with Kayseri (daily) and Nevsehir (Tuzkoy airport) twice on a weekly basis.
If you are already in a hotel in Turkey, you can find many package tours that will take you to Cappadocia, show you all the attractions, accommodate you in a hotel for a few nights, and bring you back to your hotel.
Cappadocian Greek Language
Cappadocian, also known as Cappadocian Greek or Asia Minor Greek, is a dialect of the Greek language, formerly spoken in Cappadocia (Central Turkey). After the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s, Cappadocian speakers were forced to emigrate to Greece, where they were resettled in various locations, especially in Central and Northern Greece. The Cappadocians rapidly shifted to Standard Modern Greek and their language was thought to be extinct since the 1960s. In June 2005, Mark Janse (Roosevelt Academy, Middelburg) and Dimitris Papazachariou (University of Patras) discovered Cappadocians in Central and Northern Greece who could still speak their native language fluently. Amongst them are middle-aged, third-generation speakers who take a very positive attitude towards the language as opposed to their parents and grandparents. The latter are much less inclined to speak Cappadocian and more often than not switch to Standard Modern Greek. A survey of Cappadocian speakers and language use is currently in preparation.