On our second day in Cappadocia, we saw even more fantastic sights. We first went to what is called in English the “Valley of Imagination.” It gets its name from the shapes carved by nature to look like people and animals. With the exception of the one that looked like a camel, I often needed help from the guide to “see” many of the other shapes. Patricia was better at it than I was.
It was a little warm, and we felt it throughout the day because we did a good bit of walking. We started by walking into the Valley of Imagination and continued on into the open air museum at Zelve. For hundreds of years people carved out churches and place to live here. Some of the rocks on the outside f these places have now fallen and you can look directly inside. This is a large preserved area and we explored only a small part. One thing we did see was a little mill built into a cave. Here you could see the track that the donkeys wore into the rock where they turned the millstone.
We went on to Monk’s Valley where more churches were carved into rocks and some monks lived as hermits. There was a church carved into the rock that I would have liked to have seen, but there were so many tourists I could not get close.
From there we went to a ceramics factory. With “no obligation” and as “guests” we had a tour of this family business that told us about how they had a spot where they had the best clay and a secret process for preparing it; how they made the shapes and fired them the first time; how the local artists decorated the shapes and how the finished art was protected with a glaze. It was all pretty interesting, but the best part was when they let Patricia operate an ancient foot-driven wheel and showed her how to make a simple shape on the wheel. They said she was so good that she might have to stay and work there. [I am sure they have never said that to anyone else!] Then of course the other shoe dropped: just in case we were interested we could look at the showroom…
After lunch we went to an old Greek village which was taken over by the Turks in the 1920s and occupied until the 1950s when the government moved the people to a safer location. It was odd to think of people living in these dwellings only 50 or 60 years ago.
Our last stop of the day was at another open air museum. Here more than 700 churches and chapels were created from the 3rd century to the 12th century. Remarkably, many of the interiors still have visible traces of the frescos that covered the walls and ceilings. Those frescos are so delicate, that one cannot take pictures.
All in all, a very interesting day.