The Goreme Open-Air Museum resembles a vast monastic complex composed of scores of refectory monasteries placed side-by-side, each with its own fantastic church. It is obviously the first sight to be visited by any traveler in Cappadocia, standing as it does in the very center of the region with easy access from all directions. It is only 15 minutes walk (1.5km, 1 mile) from Goreme village center. It contains the finest of the rock-cut churches, with beautiful frescoes (wall paintings) whose colors still retain all their original freshness. It also presents unique examples of rock hewn architecture and fresco technique.
The main appeal of this attraction is the views that it offers out across all of Cappadocia. It is only when up at the castle that one gains an appreciation, not only for the Turkish craftsmanship of past and present, but of the natural geography upon which the settlers of old decided to build.
Underground cave-cities expanded over the centuries as various marauding armies traversed Central Anatolia in search of captives and plunder. There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia and the widest one is Kaymakli underground city.
It is another natural curiosity and landmark. The most popular site to see ‘fairy chimneys’, rock formations, indigenous flora and fauna to the area and bask in Turkey’s wonderful weather. Pasabag is a great destination for a short visit.
Fairy chimneys are incredible natural rock formations will take your breath. The rocks have eroded in this visually intriguing way due to volcanic erosion and then being shaped by the wind and rain. There are many folk tales surrounding the origin and the meaning of these rocks.
Ihlara Valley near Mount Hasan and Mount Melendiz (two of the three volcanoes of Cappadocia) is a canyon with a depth of approximately 100m and was formed by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago. It is believed that the valley housed more than four thousand dwellings and a hundred cave churches decorated with frescoes. It is very pleasant to walk through the Ihlara valley by the vineyards, poplars and pistachio trees to the soothing sound of the rushing water (Melendiz River), and surrounded by a rich wildlife of lizards, frogs, butterflies, birds and sometimes eagles and other mammals like lambs and sheep.
The Zelve Open-Air Museum, which once housed one of the largest communities in the region is an amazing cave town, honeycombed with dwellings, religious and secular chambers. Zelve is situated about 10 km out from Goreme on the Avanos road. Now old Zelve is a ghost town and the erosion still continues. The three valleys in the Zelve open air museum offer a heaven for the rock climbers. It takes at least two hours for a good trekker to walk through these valleys, which also house the oldest examples of Cappadocian architecture and religious paintings.