Located in the Central Anatolian Plateau is Cappadocia, renowned as central Turkey’s most visually striking region. Bounded by the towns of Hacıbektaş, Aksaray, Niğde and Kayseri, the beauty of the region resides in both its natural beauty and man-made structures. Approximately more than 2,000 years old, historical sources suggest that Cappadocia has been important since Hittite times. The Bible’s New Testament also tells of Cappadocia. With its erosion formed caves, clefts, pinnacles and the ‘moonscape’ area around the towns, Cappadocia continues to attract tourists from all across the world.
Located in central Anatolia, the climate of Cappadocia is categorized into what is known as steppe climate. There is a significant temperature difference between day and night. The climate is extreme in this region, be it summers or winters. Summers in Cappadocia are extremely hot, with daytime temperatures rising up to 38 degrees Celsius between the months of June and August.
However, night time temperatures fall back down into the 20′s. Winter lasts from December to February, with an average temperature of -2 degrees Celsius. Thus, travel enthusiasts recommend that the spring and autumn months are the best time to visit Cappadocia. The temperature is moderate during this time. Spring begins in March and lasts until May whereas Autumn starts in September and ends in November in Cappadocia. The area receives limited rain throughout the year because it is enclosed along the Northern and Southern coasts by mountain ranges.
Travel enthusiasts recommend that one night and most of two days is the absolute minimum for a visit to Cappadocia. The trip would become too hectic if the duration is any less than that.
Some of the must visit areas and must do activities in Cappadocia include:
• Göreme Open-Air Museum: Among the most famous sights in Cappadocia, the museum is home to the best collection of painted cave-churches. The best-preserved frescoes are in the Karanlık Kilise (Dark Church), where an admission fee needs to be paid. The origin of these churches and the painted frescoes can be traced to the medieval orthodox Christian monks, who carved the caves between 1000-1200 AD.
• Uchisar: Renowned as the tallest point in Cappadocia, this natural rock citadel tops the itinerary of most visitors to Cappadocia. The climb to the top of the hisar, to the tall rock outcrop via tunnels for the spectacular panoramic view is a popular tourist activity.
• Stay in a cave hotel: The origins of caves in Cappadocia is as old as Cappadocia itself. In order to get a taste of the ancient times, one can choose from the 400 cave hotels in Cappadocia, to cater to specific requirements and budget of every traveller.
• Opt for a hot air balloon ride: Apart from the trek to Uchisar, this is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the landscape of Cappadocia, from a ‘higher’ perspective. Scenic balloon flights over Cappadocia begin at sunrise in the Kiliclar Valley.
As far as accessing Cappadocia is concerned, the best way to travel to Turkey is by air. The Erkilet Airport at Kayseri is the main airport in Cappadocia. Nevsehir Kapadokya Havalimani, from where there is one daily flight from Istanbul is another airport through which Cappadocia can be accessed.
For a taste of Turkish culture, plan a vacation to Cappadocia as soon as possible!