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Cappadocia (Kappadoce) is located more or less in the center of Turkey. At the very least, it is a long drive out from Ankara.

The region is famous for its rock formations created by the soft rock, arid climate and a slow rate of erosion. The rock has been exploited throughout the ages for shelter, defense and other industry.

The landscape has an other-worldly, almost barren moonscape feel.

A severely eroded cave-dwelling.

The Turkish government eventually decided that having citizens living in caves was a national embarrassment. The last of the cave dwellers were evicted only in the 1970s.

A view of some eroded dwellings, and a considerably older and more eroded rock formation behind.

There still is some lingering resentment over the eviction from the caves. Some locals still feel that their old caves offered a better standard of living than government housing in the villages.

Residents still use the caves as storage, barns and aviaries.

Pigeon Valley

In some areas, the caves have been sealed up except for a few small holes. This encourages pigeons to roost. The pigeon dung is collected to fertilize the harsh soil.

The nearly-trademarked 'Fairy Chimneys' of Cappadocia.
In this close-up you get an idea of how the Fairy Chimneys are created by erosion.

The slightly denser rock above protects the more porous and weaker rock below -- forming a bit of a weather cap. You can imagine how it works from there.

A cozy little cave-dwelling village.
In the village of Cavusin are examples of expanding outward from cave dwellings into half-building, half-cave structures.
Cavusin, Cappadocia.
Ruins in Cavusin.
A wall opening in Cavusin. This must have been quite a narrow slit before the lower sides fell away.

The symbol on the keystone caught my eye.

A brightly painted cart in Cavusin or Zelve. Probably Zelve.

Bah, my notes are a mess. I can see every bump in the road in my scrawl, but not the where I took this picture.

It's gotta be Zelve.

Scattered through Cappadocia are several old 'Cave Cities' -- entire communities that were carved deep within the soft rock.

This is a typical room in one of the 'Cities.' There are storage spaces dug into the walls, and passageways which lead in all directions.

A ladder shaft. You can see the footholes dug into the rock. We were probably 80 feet underground at this point.

These cities were built for defensive purposes.

During sieges, narrow doorways were closed off by rolling huge round rocks into place. These blockages allowed the inhabitants to create a confusing warren of traps and dead-ends to thwart invasion.
Some of the floors and walls were made too thin, leading to collapse. You can see down to the next level on the bottom of this image.

Check out the soot stains. The air must have been foul with smoke, cooking, and people odors during a siege.

There's a little area known as the Dead Valley or Derrent Valley in Cappadocia. The locals have given names to the various rock formations.

This is the 'Camel,' for example. Looks more like a snail to me, but this is caravanserai country along the old Silk Road. Not many snails, but plenty-o-camels.

A few more images of Cappadocia.


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