Awake! … arriving in the evening it was already dark, stone buildings, orange sodium glow. Morning’s brightness revealed the full view across Göreme valley.
Göreme is a popular tourist destination in the Nevşehir Province in central Anatolia, Turkey. Scattered amongst the houses are “Fairy Chimneys”, spires of softer rock topped with a more erosion resistant cap.
Since ancient times people have carved in to the rock formations, and underground, to form their houses, churches and other buildings. The shade and fresh breeze in the caves is a cool refreshment away from the midday sunshine. A night in a “cave hotel” is a must, although there is a wide spread available from pure cave to complete palace.
Selime Cathedral was a centre for Christians during the Byzantine period, built during the eighth and ninth centuries. A multitude of rooms are carved deep in to the rocks, and over the years these have served religion, military and commercial purposes.
From Selime, following the Melendiz river valley to the southeast for about 10km leads to Ilhara, and the area known as the Ilhara valley. The valley forms a comparative oasis of green cutting through the otherwise drier and rocky landscape. Yellow sunflowers and purple thistles glow bright in the green, and there are several tiny churches that have been cut in to the valley cliff wall along the walk.