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Cappadocia: A Land of Fantasy

Posted on 11 July 2010 by Nellie Huang

Deep in Central Turkey, magical fairy chimneys and bizarre rock outcrops abound. Cappadocia’s vast lands are sprinkled with extraordinary works of nature, creating a setting fit for fantasy. During a recent trip to Turkey, I ventured deep into the land of elves and fairies, searching for something beyond the ordinary.

Arriving at Kayseri International Airport, I wandered if I’d landed in another planet. Amidst the outlandish landscape, there was silence except for the occasional sounds of eagles circling the skies. It was daybreak as we drove into Göreme, Cappadocia – the sky shrouded in red, and clouds ominously draped over the mountainscape.

Red skies in the morning: Daybreak at Göreme, the main town in Cappadocia

Red skies in the morning: Daybreak at Göreme, the main town in Cappadocia

Winding my way through the town of Göreme, I found myself staring in the skies as thousands of multi-coloured hot-air balloons float languidly into the air. I had the rare opportunity of hopping onto a hot-air balloon with Cappadocia Voyager Balloons: an inspirational experience that could only be described with superlatives.

Hot-air balloons fill the morning skies as tourists take off into the air to soak in a bird's eye view of Cappadoci

Hot-air balloons fill the morning skies as tourists take off into the air to soak in a bird's eye view of Cappadocia

Some say the best way to see Cappadocia in its full glory is from above

Some say the best way to see Cappadocia in its full glory is from above

I continued my tour around Cappadocia, snaking through entrenched valleys studded with obscure but awestriking works of nature. At Dervent Valley, we chanced upon several hikers and cyclists, hungry for some adventure.

As the sun awakes, the patchwork of meandering valleys and sharp conical outcropsthat make up Cappadocia are bathed in a gentle golden glow.

As the sun awoke, the patchwork of meandering valleys and sharp conical outcrops that make up Cappadocia were bathed in a gentle golden glow.

As I clambered up to Göreme's viewpoint, an impressive panorama unfurled upon me. Millions of peculiar fairy chimneys jut out into the skyline of Cappadocia.

I clambered up to Göreme's viewpoint, where an impressive panorama unfurled upon me. Millions of peculiar fairy chimneys jut out into the skyline of Cappadocia.

Another highly recommended stop is the Göreme Open-air Museum, where towering fairy-chimneys are on display. I wandered around the clusters of rock outcrops, even climbing within the chimneys to get a feel of living within a cave as a hermit.

Imposing fairy chimneys are on display at Göreme's Open-air Museum. I wandered into the bizarre rock formation and could even climb within the outcrop and witness how hermits lived centuries ago.

Imposing fairy chimneys are on display at Göreme's Open-air Museum. I wandered into the bizarre rock formation and could even climb within the outcrop and witness how hermits lived centuries ago.

By evening, I set off for my abode for the night: Yunak Evleri Boutique Hotel. An exclusive hotel carved right out of the cliff face, Yunak Evleri is a gorgeous property tastefully designed in traditional Ottoman style.

My abode for the night, Yunak Evleri Boutique Hotel, is an exclusive property tastefully decorated to give guests an au naturale setting with a lavish touch

My abode for the night, Yunak Evleri Boutique Hotel, is an exclusive property tastefully decorated to give guests an au naturale setting with a lavish touch.

My sprawling deluxe suite was separated into two main areas: the living room and sleeping area. I relaxed in style on my Ottoman kilim sofa, while swaying to soothing music in the background. The day came to an end as I dozed off in my rocking chair, fantasizing about my next day of adventures in Cappadocia.

The interior of Yunak Evleri is designed with a touch of traditional feel and a hint of authenticity.

The interior of Yunak Evleri is designed with a touch of traditional feel and a hint of authenticity.

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Amy Ma

Food & Drink + Hong Kong

Amy is a regular contributor to the South China Morning Post and Wall Street Journal amongst other publications. [...]

Pua Mench

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Pua is a writing and traveling enthusiast based in Hong Kong, with a weakness for all things related to the culinary arts and healing modalities, and a passion for sustainable living. [...]

Kim Inglis

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Kim has been an editor and journalist for over 20 years, more than half of which has been spent in Asia. [...]

Nellie Huang

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Nellie has been published in Food & Travel magazine and Lifestyle, and is a contributing author of V!VA's Guatemala Guidebook. She writes to travel, and travels to write. [...]

Sarah Jane Evans

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Mark Lean

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From writing about music, Mark expanded his focus to design, fashion, food and travel. In recent years, he has explored the highs and lows of Asia. [...]

Joel Quenby

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Joel is a British writer and journalist who's lived, worked and traveled in Southeast Asia since 2002. He's filed yarns for numerous publications...[...]

Alex Gunn

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After several diverse careers as a circus performer, school teacher, psychotherapist, stunt pilot and university lecturer he can now be found poking about far flung markets, museums, restaurants and odd places in and around Chiang Mai.. [...]