Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Touring Turkey - Pasabag & The Fair Chimneys

On our last full day in Cappadocia (I'm still skipping around time wise), we spent the day with a private guide, Ibrahim, who works with Matiana Travel. I've only had a private guide once before, but I think Ibrahim was different. He was around our age, so it was like being with your cool friend who knows all of the spots to go to, lots of random bits of history and makes you laugh. You'll see him soon.

What the Cappadocia region is known for are the rock formations called fairy chimneys. I wish I could explain all of this in a really clear way, but I wasn't so good at 8th grade earth science. Here's a description of what they are and how they are made:

The peaks of three volcanoes - Erciyes, Hasan and Melendiz Daglari- dominate Cappadocia. It was their eruptions some thirty million years ago...that provided region's raw material: tuff. This soft stone, formed by compressed volcanic ash, has been worked ever since, by processes of erosion, to form valleys and curious fairy chimney rock...

The tuff surrounding basalt [another rock] is worn away, until it stands at the top of a large cone. Eventually the underpart is eaten away to such an extent that it can no longer hold its capital: the whole thing collapses and the process starts again.
-The Rough Guide to Turkey, p. 462

Yep. That's it. This erosion process produces a place that looks like this:

Fair Chimneys near Goreme

It's even more freaky (for lack of a better word) when you get to walk through them. You feel like you are on another planet. Please let me know if you have ever seen ANYTHING that resembles these formations. Hollywood has even taken note of Cappadocia's oddly beautiful setting: parts of it served as one of the sets for Nicolas Cage's next installment of Ghost Rider (I'm sure you all will be rushing to see that one. Ahem!)

Anyhoo, I was determined to make a quick jaunt through it all to get up close and personal with these rocks (and to see if I could find some fairies).

Staring off into the valley

I'm sure you're wondering why they are called "Fair Chimneys" in the first place, right? Well like most funky rocks in Cappadocia, people used to live in/near them. When invaders would come to this region (the Ottomans, Romans, whoever!), they saw the flickering lights from candles used by the area's residents. Supposedly, the lights looked little dancing fairies. Cute, huh?

These particular fair chimneys below happen to be my favorite. This is also one of my favorite pictures of me and Husband J from this trip.
Husband J and I at the Three Beauties Fair Chimney area

Here's a short unedited video (it's much more fun that way, I promise) at Pasabag, one of the more well-known fair chimney areas. You'll see the tuff mentioned above and hear and see a little of our guide, Ibrahim.

At PacabagTAO from TAOTerri on Vimeo.

After this post, I'm sure you can see why I fell in love with Cappadocia's eclectic beauty. Wouldn't you?


BigAppleNosh said...

Such surreal formations - you guys look like you're visiting another planet!

The Less Than Domestic Goddess said...

Amazing! I love living vicariously through you and getting to travel to places I might never see in person. So fun, and thank you for sharing!

Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said...

Wow! I've never heard of these before. How interesting. I'm gonna show my husband this tonight. He gets super excited about these things. :) Thanks for posting!

Hezen Cave Hotel said...

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Look forward to meeting you!
Hakan Guzelgoz


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