Amazing Planet

Cappadocia, Turkey Is All Honeycombed Hills And Hot Air Balloons

Excited for the August 21 eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews on the big day.

Cappadocia, Turkey is truly what wanderlust dreams are made of—picture a sky filled with hot air balloons and fairy chimneys atop honeycombed hills. The landscape of the Göreme valley was built in fourth century A.D. both by volcanic eruptions and human hands. Many of the city's well-preserved caves are filled with Christian history and Byzantine frescoed paintings, while others are private homes and even modern hotels.

Related: Fiordland, New Zealand: The Eighth Wonder Of The World

Mother Nature's Perfect Hiding Spots

According to National Geographic, the thick ash from ancient volcanic eruptions in the region solidified into soft rock called tuft: "wind and water went to work on this plateau, leaving only its harder elements behind to form a fairy tale landscape of cones, pillars, pinnacles, mushrooms, and chimneys, which stretch as far as 130 feet (40 meters) into the sky." Then, humans worked with Mother Nature's creations to build caves. The tunnels were so complex that they actually formed entire underground towns.

Related: The Underground Opal Town Of Coober Pedy

Much of this area in Cappadocia is now considered Göreme National Park. It once sat between the Greek and Persian empires, then later the Byzantine Greeks and other political rivals. As you might imagine, the underground rock settlements were ideal hiding spots. Christians also took refuge in Cappadocia after fleeing persecution in Rome. They built monastic communities, including cave chapels with Byzantine frescoed paintings. You can view these rock-cut churches at the Göreme Open-Air Museum, an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Related: The Marble Caves Of Patagonia

The View From Up Top

What's the best way to experience this wonderland? From above. A trip to Cappadocia isn't complete without riding in a hot air balloon—several colorful balloons fill the sky almost daily. As for lodging? Try the cave dwellings. Many caves have been transformed into hotels for 21st century cave living.

Is there something you're curious about? Send us a note or email us at editors (at) curiosity.com. And follow Curiosity on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Watch And Learn: Some Of Our Favorite Travel Content

Cappadocia, An Underground City

Hot-Air Balloon Rides Above Fairy Chimneys

The Underground Opal Town Of Coober Pedy

In the indigenous tongue of the resident's of Australia's Coober Pedy, the town name means "white man's hole."

Share the knowledge!

Key Facts In This Video

  1. In the indigenous tongue of the resident’s of Australia’s Coober Pedy, the town name means “white man’s hole.” 00:32

  2. Coober Pedy is an underground Australian mining town that sits more than 300 miles (482.8 km) from civilization. 01:24

  3. Some Coober Pedy residents believe that if you stay in the town for more than 10 days, you'll never leave. 03:00

If you liked this you'll love our podcast! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, search 'curiosity' on your favorite podcast app or add the RSS Feed URL.

Advertisement