The Sahara and Us Morocco 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Derenkuyu and Cappadocia

Fairy Chimneys at Night - Cappadocia

Derenkuyu is an underground city located about 30kms south of Neveshir which is 50 kms east of Akasary where we stayed the night before. Goreme, the centre of Cappadocia is 15 kms to the east of Neveshir. The area forms a triangle of interesting stuff for the visitor to see.

Cave dwellings above town
We went to Derenkuyu first. As we headed out of Neveshir there is a eery feel when you look up at the cliffs and see cave doors carved out of the rock facings. This was evident both going out of and back into Neveshir from every direction. Later we’d drive by these same kind of cliff dwellings in Zelve and they were inhabited until 1952.

Derenkuyu was an underground city built by the early Christians to seek protection from persecution by the pagan Romans of the day. It was 8 storeys in depth, and apparently the population was thought to be around 20,000 at it’s height (pun) depth. There was a 90M deep well shaft dug,  ventilation shafts, stone round doors that could seal off areas for protection. It had a church and even an underground cemetery. We took our LED flashlights with us and they came in handy as the lighting in places left a lot to be desired. This is a site you do not want to miss.
Stairs Down

Oops where did Sandra go

I:m here stupid
Stable on First Floor Down

Transition between floors
Stone Door to Section off Areas

Air Shaft Up
Burial Plot Down

Cappadocia and specifically Goreme is the other absolute must. 


Entrance to Monastery

A view from the Rose Valley

 This is the home of the fairy chimneys, and cave dwellings dating well back before Christ. The area was first created by the eruption of a now extinct volcano. The “luft’, soft rock spewed by the volcano was able to be carved out and rooms and even a monastery created. As part of staying at the Travellers Cave Hotel there (another great story) you could pay to go on a hike that took you through Rose valley, where the best examples exist. If you don’t take this hike, you could walk around, or go to the Goreme open air museum. We chose the Travellers cave option with the bus ride and refreshments and explanations. It was excellent value. 

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