Described as ‘Turkey’s answer to the Grand Canyon’, Göreme is the site of one of the most remarkable landscapes in the world. Following the eruption of the volcanoes of Mt Argaeus (long since renamed Mt Erciyes) and Mt Hassan, the region was left covered in a 32ft layer of lava, clay and agglomerate which time and the elements have sculpted into numerous cones, pyramids and columns. These strange looking structures have become known as ‘fairy chimneys’ and offer a truly amazing sight which has to be experienced first-hand. Not only have the elements had a hand in creating these amazing structures however. The people of Göreme, realizing that these soft rocks could be easily carved, used them to create houses, churches and monasteries, and decorated them with some wonderful examples of Byzantine art and frescoes. The nearby village of Uchisar, also in the Nevsehir province, offers further examples of this natural wonder, as well as a whole ‘rock castle’, complete with caves, stairways and tunnels.
Göreme itself is a small village where many people still live in the rock houses, and is not only a perfect base from which to explore, but an intriguing location in which to stay. Vayama.com offers accommodation at budget hotels in Göreme and the chance to experience a vacation which will feel like being on another planet. During your stay, you might want to take the opportunity to take a hot-air balloon flight over the area – one of the best ways to appreciate these spectacular sights. A trip to the Göreme Open Air Museum is also worth doing, as is a visit to the underground cities in nearby Avanos.
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