Today I got to know Cappadocia a little better by going on a Green Tour. There are two typical day tours running out of Goreme, a Red one and a Green one. It’s best to do both to get a bigger picture of the area; however, I have thus far opted for one. I thought the attractions along the Green tour sounded a bit nicer, especially because it included a walk in a natural area. The three main attractions on the tour are the Derinkuyu Underground City, Ilhara Valley and Selime Monastery.

The Underground City consists of eight storeys of rooms carved into the ground as a series of tunnels and caves. Four of these storeys are accessible today. The City was used by successive ruling groups as place to hide from invading armies and more easily protect their people. Food and water storage, and ventilation shafts, meant that people could survive underground for months at a time. The narrow tunnels force single-file, crouched movement, so any people invading them would be vulnerable to attack. Large rocks carved into wheels were rolled across tunnel entrances to strategically block access. Over time a range of peoples have used the underground refuge for various purposes. In more recent times the cities have been used for storing food.

Ilhara Valley was particularly impressive because of the suddenness in which it drops away from the surrounding undulating farmland. There is no hint it is coming and then wham, you abruptly face a deep chasm with vertical sides. A set of stairs takes you to the bottom, along which you can walk for about four kilometres. The Valley was first used by Christians fleeing Roman soldiers, who moved into the valley to take advantage of its water supply and hiding places.

Selime Monastery was amazing. The best part about this place is that you are free to explore it on your own. With no railings or people telling you where you can’t go, it feels like a massive playground. It would be the perfect place for a paintball fight, with seemingly secret tunnels and windows scattered across the face and into the depths of the hill. Originally the place was like a massive building, with multiple levels and rooms and corridors. Erosion has caused a lot of the outer parts of the carvings to break away, but it’s still possible to get an idea of what once was.

All up it was a great day out. A nice lunch was included and we had a good group. I particularly liked spending time with an Argentinian guy, an English couple and a Russian couple. I’m now super tired and looking forward to getting under my blanket. I didn’t sleep very well last night. I always seem to find it hard to sleep indoors again after multiple nights camping out. It’s not for lack of comfort though. The dorm room here at Relic Hotel is very cosy and the single wooden beds are fitted with some of the softest sheets I’ve ever felt.

Tour mates

Accommodation $ Hotel dorm
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 25,668