If I could stress on one word it would be “peculiar” and very wierd indeed. From the many places I have seen by far the strangest was Cappadocia located in central Turkey. And its not just the place. The feeling, the energy of the place was odd. A sort of erosion was present not only in the structures but also in the air, in the aura, in the atmosphere. One word says it all : odd, very odd indeed.
What was the reality of the people living there? Why did they exactly dig so down deep? What was it really like? And what on EARTH were they thinking!? If you could describe a parallel civilization similar to the one we have On land, this was one below ground. It felt like a paralell dimension of the likes of the Other Mother and Other Home in Neil Gaiman`s superb story “Coraline”. The feel was eerily similar like another world living just upside down with stories of a high rising flat doing down under deeper into the ground instead of scraping the sky.
I had a chance to go to the Paris catacombs but I chickened out last minute, it was a cold March anyway and it already felt cold and even the thought felt spooky.. But similar to the underground tunnels of the Paris catacombs the whole region of the ancient Cappadocian province provides you with tunnels and tunnels and layers upon layer like roots penetrating the soft khakhi soil of the entire region.
The fact that people somehow managed to live , even barely “live” in those underground caverns was mind boggling enough these people actually created entire CITIES below the ground! Like skillfull burrowing animals. they created a staggering 13 storeys underground. The mere 2 storeys that the tour guides took us were enough to make me clautrophobic enough to literally run out when the tour was over.
I won`t be giving you guys a long boring history lecture here but more of how this place feels and affectss yor mind and soul. Though a highly touristic and adventurous area Cappadocia is a delved deeped in religious significance with early Christian landmarks and churches and chapels spread everywhere. The cave dwellers had originally buit these maganinamously bizarre underground homes and then these odd dwellings were inhabited by early christians who were most probably trying to preserve the new faith from Roman suppression. The spirituality is everywhere with history as alive as the geography speaking about the Roman tales. It was a surreal experience and nothing like I ever felt before.
The places to visit are abundant, Ürgüp, Göreme, Guzelyurt and Uçhisar and Pigeon Valley are just a few of the many regions of this historic Hittite and later Roman province. One is amazed by the abundance of subsoil structures as if the people of those times had infact learnt to burrow and dig from the shrews and moles to hide themselves from the dangers of invasion and practice a new religion in seclusion. Sounds like a real Earth Bending Kingdom from Avatar: The last airbender. Toph would be proud.
Visiting Cappadocia is essential on your to do list before you die! The views are breathtaking, the magic surreal, the mystery and oddity beyond explanation. It is the best place to go for a hot air baloon ride and I promise you, its worth every penny!