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Fairy Chimneys to Underground Cities (and more amazing food)

sunny 34 °C

Today was the first day we gave in and joined an actual tour. We figured it was a small group with lots of sites to see, lunch was included and we figured we would get some good information about this unbelievable countryside. It turns out that no matter how remote an area you are in...a tour is pretty much the same sheep herding spectacle regardless. This area dates back 2000 years and for most of it it was a place for the Christians to hide from the Romans and whomever else was trying to kill them. The earth and rock formations come from ancient volcanic lava flows and the erosion that has occurred since. The combination of the two is the results we are seeing today; intricate caves cities carved into all levels of the geography from high up on the cliff faces to deep into the underground cave cities. The region is full of churches and monasteries as many of the missionaries that originally spread Christianity through Europe and Asia were trained here. I think we stopped at most of them...
We also stopped at a recently discovered city called Sobessos that is supposed to be almost as big as Troy when they uncover it all (4 square kilometers). They discover it in 2002 and have uncovered about 300 square meters...so we figured if we come back in about 100 years, it should be ready.
There are 40 underground cities in this area that were able to hold 500 people for at least 2 months at a time. We went to the deepest one that is open to the public called DERINKUYU and managed to get down 7 floors to about 55 meters underground. Again, none of these pictures do it justice, but we tried to give you an idea. Kitchens, churches, meeting areas, living quarters, connecting tunnels, air vents, and even stables...all carved deep into the earth to hide the Christians from the Roman armies.
It is really a lot of stuff to comprehend and imaging it all taking place can wear on you...so we need to eat. Food here is different than the other places we have been in Turkey. We are liking it as much or more, wherever we go the produce is so fresh because it is locally grown. The "clay pot kebab" is our new discovery, and aside from the waiter giving Nat a sword to get into it, it is amazing. The meat is mixed with peppers, onions, tomatoes and spices and put into the clay pot, the top is sealed and it is thrown into a fire to stew. The pot is designed for single use and we break it open when it gets to the table. Two nights in a row...two delicious meals...
A few people seemed concerned I have Natalie camping in a cave, sleeping on straw, if you want to check out our hotel, www.sultancavesuites.com - I really haven't learned how to backpack yet...

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Natalie about to slice open our Clay Pot Kebab
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Grapes grow everywhere here!
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We haven't figured out how to post vertical pictures, so turn your head to the left and you will see the arched ceiling of a cave church that was painted in the 3rd century with Jesus and friends.
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Down the stairs into the underground city

Posted by colincampbell 12:56 Archived in Turkey

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