Update 9 - Cappadocia, central
20th October 2001.
is simply one of the most amazing places in the world.
Unique scenery that is totally different to anything
else We've experienced. We've all seen many beautiful
places over the years, but here is a region with a beautiful
strangeness about it. If you knew nothing about this
region before you arrived here you would stare in amazement
and ask the most basic questions: What are they? How
are they formed? How can this be natural? And you would
not be able to dream of the answers...
around Cappadocia are 'chimneys' - tall stacks of rock
that seem to stand by themselves in the middle of an
open space. These natural rock formations of soft volcanic
stone began to be formed 30 million years ago with the
eruption of three major volcanos in this region. A thick
layer of ash was deposited. Over the years this soft
tufa stone has been eroded away by the rain and wind.
But the volcanoes also threw out boulders of hard rock.
These hard boulders have protected the soft stone underneath
and the 'chimneys' are simply where the rain has not
been able to erode a thin stack of rock away. This is
why each 'chimney' has a separate boulder on top of
it, even now. Whole communities over thousands of years
have cut into the soft stone and made homes and places
there's so much more. Around 40 underground cities have
been discovered in this area. These were dug by local
people, starting possibly 4000 years ago. In times of
peace the people lived above ground, but when invaders
threatened they would retreat and hide underground for
months on end. Some of the cities are 10 levels deep
and go 70m underground. A labyrinth of tunnels and rooms
awaits and we have spent many hours crawling through
tiny spaces to explore more. Not for the claustrophobic
- see photo. Also watch matt getting dusty in cavematt.asf,
and Blair Witch style cave1.asf
had a great few days here. Most of the time we have
been whizzing around on scooters (see video clip scooter.asf),
meeting other cycle tourers and just sitting absorbing
the surroundings. This is a hard place to leave. Combine
the surrealness, the history and the mystery and you
really have something to write home about. It's even
worth a Charityride update all to itself.