Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Touring Turkey - Faux Hiking in the Ilhara Valley

I'm going to start with our second day in Cappadocia. During our second day, we took a group day tour with Heritage Tours, a local tour company. We decided to see the region this way in an effort to not have to figure out maps, and so that Husband J wouldn't have to drive ('cause if you didn't know, I don't). I'll write more about the tour and our pretty cool guide, Adem, in another post.

I say that we "faux hiked" because the hike wasn't really all that hard. The path was a pretty easy walk with no real climbing. Fine for me! I have yet to be the super cool and outdoorsy type and do a hardcore hike somewhere. It will happen some day.

The Ilhara Valley is a 10 mi (16 km) gorge sandwiched between volcanic rock. We walked about 3km of the Valley, and it was actually quite relaxing, scenic and pleasantly cold even for me. Apparently it can get super hot down there, so maybe it wasn't such a bad thing to be there in the cold. All of these pics are overcast because it was super cold and grey the entire time we were in the Cappadocia region. You'll see sun at some point in my pics, just not here.

Have I even shown any pics of Husband J and I together? Here's one. There were stairs leading into the valley. Not hard.

I feel a little bit like a bad travel blogger, but honestly there's nothing much to say but that the Ilhara Valley place is beautiful. Enjoy the pics!

The Melendiz Stream

As with many parts of the Cappadocia region, there are churches built into rock. Many early Christians built churches into rock formations to be able to worship freely. They were often subjected to persecution and the area was often invaded for some reason or another. These cave churches and monasteries were built for protection. I'll be showing you some pretty crazy places where many Christians hid in another post. In the Ilhara Valley, the most notable church is the Agacalti Church (it's also the one closest to the stairs I showed you above). We were pretty impressed by the fact that the ceiling's frescoes were still in pretty good condition.

Agacalti Church ceiling fresco. Jesus surrounded by angels

Agacalti Church

We came across this little seating area during the hike. When it's warm, people stop for a drink or a snack by the stream.

Do you see all of these little nooks in the pic below? They are used to collect pigeon poop. Apparently it is quite the fertilizer.

There is so much hiking to do in Cappadocia. In addition to the Ilhara Valley, check out the Sognali Valley.


Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said...

Amazing photos! (As always.)

You and your husband are so cute together! It's great that you guys get to have so much fun traveling the world together!

BigAppleNosh said...

Wow, those churches built into the rock are so interesting!!

melinda said...

Sorry it was chilly - but it looks like it was worth it!

Skychi said...

Fantastic photos! Feels like I was there with you guys.

Oneika said...

Good looking couple!! It's so great having a built in travel partner, no?!? You are making me want to go back to Turkey again... Those rock formations are incredible!

Chizzy D said...

how am i just finding your blog...love it :)

Try Anything Once Terri said...

Thanks everyone!

@ChizzyD- Welcome and stay awhile! I'm glad you like the blog!

istanbul tours said...

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