Intrepid Tour

We booked a 2 day Intrepid Cappadocia Shortbreak trip to get to a few places regular tours don’t go. We were the only ones on the tour and we had a great guide, Fatih and local driver Mehmet who really knew the area and took us to a few hidden gems.

Goreme Open Air Museum

The Goreme Open Air Museum, a vast complex of monasteries, churches and houses carved into soft volcanic rock mostly from the 10th – 12th centuries, some earlier. It is World Heritage and wildly popular with bus loads of visitors so we got there as it opened. No photography is permitted inside the churches so the photos I have are ones I took of the official information boards.

The 7 storey nunnery

The refectory, table and chairs cut into the stone

Part of this church broke away centuries ago

Chapel of Saint Barbara, painted in abstract style of the iconoclastic period

Frescoes in some of the churches

Saint George slays the dragon which locals believed to be a snake – Serpent Church

Appearing in a few churches – a goat and a donkey breathing on a new-born Jesus to keep him warm

Around Goreme

Pumpkins de-seeded on the street, baked in the oven and ready to eat

This Turkey Sheep Dog pup will grow into a very big animal

Mass production for a large pide (Turkish pizza) take away order

Differences in wind and rain over centuries produce different formations in different valleys


Imagination Valley – looks like a camel

The local police station

5th generation potter at work, woman serves wine from a special jug

The residents of Cavusin Village all lived in the hillside caves
They were relocated after a rock collapse in the 1960s

Saruhan 13th century Silk Road caravanserai where …

… we saw the Whirling Dervish

Kaymakli Underground City

We left early on day 2 for the Kaymakli Underground City to beat the crowds and had the place to ourselves. There are more than 150 underground cities in Cappadocia some accommodating 30,000 people. The first 2 levels Kaymakli were probably carved out in pre-historic times and subsequently expanded in the early Christian era. It was used up until the 1920s as a hiding and defensive place. Only the first 4 levels (about 5%) going down to 30 meters are open to tourists.

The underground rooms …

… were joined by narrow, single person passages ….

… which could be sealed by a large stone weighing several tonnes as Fatih explains

The constant temperature and humidity created perfect conditions for wine making in this winery

Caravanserai were built every 20-40 km along the Silk Road to protect and shelter merchants


In 1923 a forced exchange of 2 million people took place between Turkey and Greece. The entire population of villages were uprooted and transferred to another village in another country. Baskoy village was one. Due to the risk of rock falls, the people were relocated in the 1960s so now only 15 families remain.

A Greek house in the village of Baskoy – Greeks used to live here until 1923

The church became a mosque after the Turkey/Greece population exchange

Soganli Valley

Soganli, about 60 km  south of Goreme, is little visited and avoided by tour buses. We had the hiking trails, churches and weird dovecotes to ourselves. Although the old village was relocated because of the danger of rock slides, there is still a traditional Turkish village at Soganli with people living (mostly) as they have for centuries. Local women hand-make “Soganli dolls” for the tourist trade.

In the Soganli Valley pigeon lofts are painted white so the birds can find them

Karabas Church built in the 6th century, redecorated in the 11th …

… is unusual for the unique black halos on some of the saints

The Domed Church with 2 layers took its final form in the 14th century

The communal wood fired oven of the old, now abandoned Soganli village

The women of Soganli hand make beautiful dolls

A feast at Soganli under the trees with our guide Fatih and driver Mehmet

The floor of the meeting room of the ancient Roman city of Sobesos is in excellent condition
Discovered by a farmer in 2002, excavation work has been slow

Frescoes in the Keslik Cave Monastery tell the Bible stories with very simple illustrations
No photography allowed inside – photos of postcards by Tolga Uyar

In another part of the Monastery complex, 9th century Aziz Stefanos church ceiling is covered with Byzantine iconoclastic images

14th Century Seljuk Medressa at Taskinpasa is still in use

Door to a house in Mustafapasa village, 15 km from Goreme

Mustafapasa was a Greek village: entrance to Konstantin – Eleni Church

The Three Sisters near Urgup

Turasan label shows the Three Sisters
The family has been making wine in Urgup since 1943. We tasted a few and …

… selected one for a great end to our Intrepid tour watching the sunset over the Red Valley