Destination Cappadocia, pearl of Turkey

The image is inseparable from the destination. Immortalized by its spectacle of colorful hot air balloons floating on the horizon, Cappadocia belongs to its iconic cities. People come from all over the world attracted by this folkloric panorama. And then, we become aware of the exceptional heritage of this region listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A trip to Cappadocia (once known as the ‘Land of Beautiful Horses’), it is to travel through millennia of history, to feel closely the Byzantine age in its grandeur and its decadence, to penetrate a labyrinth of geological formations. Forbes takes you to discover this magical land.

In this infinity of prehistoric troglodyte houses dug in the mountains – which became refuges for the first Christians – and in this valley with lunar landscapes, you lose your Latin! Located in the historic region of Central Anatolia, southeast of the capital Ankara, Cappadocia boasts one of Turkey’s most rugged settings. Nevsehir, Kayseri (these two cities with an airport), Aksaray and Nigde are the four towns that form the tourist area of ​​Cappadocia. Among the masterpieces that await visitors: the Göreme Open Air Museum; the underground city of Kaymakli; the Valley of Love; Tokali Church; the Sarihan Caravanserai or the Museum Hotel Cappadocia. Let’s go ?

This meeting with History is getting organized. It is recommended to go through a guide to familiarize yourself with the riches of this heritage city. Many are French-speaking. Our guide Mukadder Varli knows the secrets of each stone and perfectly communicates his passion. The tour starts with the unmissable visit of the Goreme Open Air Museum, an incredible place among the first to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This small troglodyte village was sculpted jointly by erosion and by man in the 4th century. Here lies the Byzantine monastic soul with its many churches and chapels carved into the rock. In this maze of alleys, one can observe a rock sculpture of seven floors, which contained a convent with a dining room, a kitchen and a place of worship.

© Getty Images

Sublime underground murals, remarkably preserved in their original colors, tell the earthly journey of Christ from his baptism to the Last Supper. In the midst of these remains, we no longer know which Saint to turn to with this lunar panorama as far as the eye can see! Surrounded at 360 ° by columns of natural rocks topped with a hat and small houses covered with limestone fairy chimneys, the Göreme complex offers a spectacle like nowhere else.

Underground city of Kaymakli, we continue the exploration by the discovery of this acropolis full of mysteries. There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia, but that of Kaymakli – the deepest – is distinguished by its exceptional sophistication, we find there: very well appointed ancient residences, wine cellars, stables, and of course a church. . Men and cattle lived there in autarky, sheltered from (many) chapel wars. A sort of ‘Noah’s Ark’ whose recent excavations have revealed the priceless treasures of the site.

© Getty Images

The Valley of Love, after the mystical, the ‘suggestive’. This time we slip into a somewhat confusing setting… We are therefore immediately taken into the confidence by our guide Mukadder: “ This trail is very famous because of its particularity, it is dotted with boulders pointing towards the sky like phallic objects. Let’s be clear, these hat-capped columns look like an erect penis. “. Indeed, it is a little the idea which crossed the mind of the whole assembly during this day of visit… Surprising nature which has shaped this unusual panorama over the centuries. The Valley of Love known as Love Valley is a popular place for Insta-tourists but also locals who appreciate the magnificent play of light of this very special site.

In this part of Turkey, there is also one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Cappadocia houses a collection of establishments that share the same architecture and techniques of cave constructions. Here, preservation is a religion. Each brand must comply with very strict specifications to establish itself. We salute this government’s desire to perpetuate the heritage of this exceptional site. The Museum Hotel Cappadocia is our favorite. This Relais & Châteaux stamped address is the only one in the country to enjoy the distinction.

© Museum Hotel Cappadocia Relais & Châteaux

In the heart of Cappadocia, the Museum Hotel has been erected on ancient ruins, some intact, others restored with respect to their original luster. In this House of 30 keys, none are alike! Imagined as a “living museum”, the establishment seems frozen in time immemorial with its priceless antiques from the collection of its founder, Ömer Tosun, a history buff. You will be able to share your daily life with sumptuous masterpieces: chandeliers, vases, carpets, crockery, furniture, works, crafts… dating from the Ottoman, Seljuk, Roman and Hittite eras.

All the rooms, suites, the Lil’a restaurant, the reception, as well as the outdoor spaces are adorned with this ancient setting. Many of his pieces are recorded at the Nevşehir Museum. But before enjoying this privilege, you must first sign a certificate of responsibility during check-in. Here, clumsiness does not forgive! Be advised.

© Museum Hotel Cappadocia Relais & Châteaux

Inaugurated in 2002, the Museum Hotel brought together the concepts of “living museum” and “boutique hotel”. The guest wanders from one era to another both in terms of architecture, design, cuisine rich in a centuries-old region, as well as certain experiences such as these picturesque shows or wine tastings in typical cellars. Unique, too, its location. The Relais & Châteaux benefits from the most beautiful point of view of the surroundings, it thrones up there by opening on the main areas of interest of the region: Avanos, Göreme, the valley of Love, the valley of the Pigeon, the Red Valley and Mount Erciyes. A show at all hours of the day and night, attracting many fashion shoots and revelers.

© Museum Hotel Cappadocia Relais & Châteaux

After an excursion on foot, in a quad, in a 4 × 4 or in a hot air balloon, back to the hotel, we immerse ourselves in the magnificent swimming pool for a welcome bath of freshness. With its floor adorned with mosaics and its stone terrace, we are entering the delicious age of the Roman baths. In the evening, we put on our 31 to honor the award-winning cuisine of Chef Mustafa Buyukhan who mixes flavors between the terroir of Anatolia and Armenia. Gourmets can also learn how to compose a typical Turkish meal during a private lesson with the Chef, a fervent defender of responsible organic cuisine. The end of the evenings are conducive to waking dreams of contemplating the moonlight over Cappadocia. The other eternal city.

A trip to Cappadocia is a bit like opening a story: we know that sooner or later, we will come back.

Travelogue :

Museum Hotel Cappadocia

Tekelli mah. No.1 Uchisar 50240 Nevsehir

Cappadocia – Turkey

Telephone: +90 (384) 219 2220

Email: [email protected]

Guide Mukadder Varli : +90 (532) 415 30 64

<<< À lire également : Vacances Idylliques En Turquie Entre Bosphore et Riviera >>>

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