Cappadocian moonscape

Travel Destinations — By on September 17, 2007 at 1:58 pm

The landscape of Cappadocia in central Turkey has often been described as lunar-like. Travelers have long marveled at the whimsical rock formations that have been carved by nature, and the homes and churches that have been carved by people into the soft stone terrain. Gisela Williams recently experienced this scene for herself, which she wrote about for the International Herald Tribune.

Spread across the middle of Turkey like a lunar landscape, Cappadocia is home to a bizarre field of anthill-like cones, rock-hewn churches and underground cities where Christians once hid to avoid persecution. It is a spectacular sight and one that has captivated travelers for centuries…

On that first morning I went to Pigeon Valley near the village of Uchisar, so named for the thousands of pigeon houses carved into the rock. It was a surreal vision: an outrageously phallic landscape straight out of a Salvador Dali­ painting.

The conical formations are the result of volcanic eruptions that took place millions of years ago. Eons of wind, rain and other forces of nature have eaten away at the volcanic rock creating tufa, a soft and malleable stone. Many of these cones, known as fairy chimneys, contain caves and labyrinths.

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