Friday, September 25, 2009

Hiking in Ihlara Valley - Cappadocia, Turkey

Hiking in the stunning and lush Ihlara Valley, Cappadocia, is the best experience in Turkey. We arrived at Ihlara early morning and our hiking for the day was 7km. My heart sank as I glanced deep into the gorge we are about to descend. I could hardly believe that I’m going to make it on foot into the deepest gorge in Asia Minor. From the top of the gorge, the Melendiz River can be seen flowing in shades of blue and green through the valley. The breath taking scenery took my fear away!

The canyon is about 100m deep and 16km long cutting into the volcanic rock formed from the eruptions of Mount Erciyes. The valley unfolds the ancient history of its inhabitants, the Christians who escaped from the Roman soldiers during the Byzantine period. We were told that about 8000 people once lived in Ihlara Valley.

It was a pleasant walk through the valley with vineyard, poplars and pistachio trees along the way. The soothing sound of the rushing Melendiz River made the journey so much less tiring and half way we had a brief stop for a cup of tea at the Jungle Cafe by the river.

Beautiful rock formation

The Jungle Cafe

Lunch at the Belisrima Restaurant

Several churches were carved in the rock
Top view of Ihlara Valley
Top view of Ihlara Valley just before we got down

A village at the end of the hiking route

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