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Picked up at approximately 9:30 at our hotel, we were delighted to see that Oguzhan was to be our tour guide again and that several members of yesterday’s group would be joining us for the tour of Cappadocia's southern region.

The day's touring started with three kilometer hike through the Red Gulludere Valley, inaccessible by automobile and providing absolutely breathtaking scenery. Walking among fantastic rock formations along the way, the air was cool despite the sun being out - the day was absolutely pristine. Discovering hidden and richly frescoed cave churches, we began to appreciate what the early-Christians went through to escape persecution. 

Anyone suffering from claustrophobia was cautioned that the next site, the remarkable underground city of Kaymakli, may not be for them. Fortunately, that didn’t apply to me. Kaymakli was occupied during the period of early Christianity, when the local population went underground for protection during the Arabs invasion of Asia Minor, during the 7th - 8th centuries. Thanks to the subterranean cities and their cave churches, the monks and early Christians of Cappadocia remained relatively undisturbed by the conflicts. Winding through the network of tunnels and chambers, we descended several levels underground. 

Rugs and carpets have been made in Turkey for centuries so a visit to Matis Carpet Weaving Village was an appropriate way to end our day. Having gazed longingly at the huge assortment of rugs from thousands of villages in all the bazaars since our arrival, it was fascinating to be shown the initial processes in its making: the silk spinning, dyeing and the weaving. Finally, our group was taken upstairs to Matis’ grand showroom, where we were offered refreshments and shown rug after glorious rug. Designs symbolism and patterns were explained and w e were educated on the feel of wool, silk and cotton rugs. Local rug merchants often represent mercerized cotton rugs as silk and overcharge accordingly, so it was useful to learn how to tell the difference. So how do you identify an honest rug dealer from the long list that display their wares at the bazaar? You can’t. This is why it’s best to go straight to the source, with establishments like Matis.

That night, Peter and I took the hotel shuttle to the town of Ürgüp for our dinner reservation at a local institution, Ziggy’s. A 15 minute walk from our hotel during the day, it wasn’t such an easy task at night on cobblestone streets and with no street lighting. We were grateful when the hotel car was offered to shuttle us to the restaurant and pick us up afterwards. Seeing a delightful terrace setting and mood music when we arrived at Ziggy's, we chose to sit indoors where it was warmer and cosier. While the menu selection is limited and the prices expensive by Turkish standards, the food was very good and well worth the visit. After dinner we waited downstairs at Ziggy's gift shop and spent some money on some lovely and tasteful gifts for family back home as we waited for our van to arrive.

Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 24th September, 2014 | Trackbacks
Categories: Turkey

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