Turkey Trip Day 5 : Cappadocia, Kaymakli Underground City, Goreme Open Air Museum and Turkish Night Celebrations!

It was the 1st of January 2015 as we began our 5th day of travels in Turkey. Initially, we thought we would be able to fly on the hot air balloon to welcome the new year. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t permit and we had to proceed with the rest of our programme in Cappadocia (pronounced as cap pa dok kia).

On day 5 of our Turkey travels in Cappadocia, we visited the Kaymakli Underground City, Goreme Open Air Museum and even had the opportunity to be entertained at “Turkish Nights” to welcome in the new year!

In general, Cappadocia refers to the amazing monolith formations of Turkey. However, more specifically, Cappadocia actually refers to a region that is enclosed by 3 towns, namely Uchisar, Urgup and Avanos.

Turkey Travel to Cappadocia : Kaymakli Underground City, Goreme Open Air Museum and Belly Dancing!

Kaymakli Underground City

Our first stop of the day was Kaymakli Underground City. The underground city is actually made up of close to a hundred tunnels but no one really knows who built it. In fact, the underground city was more like a hiding area and was not used for permanent stays. Many different groups of people came to seek refuge in this area, used it, expanded it and left with all their barang barang (stuffs) after use. When the emergency was over, they would have no need to hide and they would pack things up (nice and slow) and leave. Which is why there aren’t many items left within the tunnel network.

Today, some of the tunnels are used as storage areas while only certain areas are open to tourists. During your visit, you would be able to see a huge stone that was used to cover the entrance to the underground city and also another that was used for grinding purposes in the kitchen. Yes, cooking was done within the network with ventilation. Nonetheless, cooking was only done at night – to not give away your position of course!

Kaymakli Underground City Cappadocia
Kaymakli Underground City Cappadocia
Entrance Tickets to Kaymakli Underground City
Entrance Tickets to Kaymakli Underground City
Stone door to block tunnel
Stone door to block tunnel
Stone door reused as a grinder
Stone door reused as a grinder
Shops outside Kaymakli underground city
Shops outside Kaymakli underground city
Entrance of Goreme open air museum
Entrance of Goreme open air museum
Entrance tickets to Goreme open air museum
Entrance tickets to Goreme open air museum
Monastery at Goreme open air museum
Monastery at Goreme open air museum
Dark church (extra $ for access) and kitchen on right side
Dark church (extra $ for access) and kitchen on right side


Inside Kaymakli Underground City

Goreme Open Air Museum Cappadocia

The Goreme Open Air Museum is one of the main attractions (besides the hot air balloons!) of Cappadocia. The monoliths at the open air museum itself are a sight to behold. One of the best spots to take a shot would be right outside the kitchen area. Here, you’ll be able to see a great overview of the area and also visit an amazingly crafted dining table – completely crafted out of one stone!

There are also 3 churches (the size of a small chapel rather) that you should visit. These include the Apple Church (named after an apple tree right in front of it), the Serpent Church (a serpent is drawn within that represents sin) and the Sandals Church (partly because of the clear representation of sandals left behind in this church). Another interesting thing about the Church of Sandals is that the pictorial representations within depict nativity. The apostles are mostly without emotions but the animals are smiling because of the happy occasion.

If you’re really into the arts and history, you’d want to know that red colour is used during the pre-iconoclastic age (5th to 8th century) while the colours are only added from the 11th century onwards, during the post-iconoclastic age. As with most older civilisations, paintings are generally used due to the lack of education then.

Eventhough our guide, Enis had more stories to tell, as typical Singaporeans (and Malaysians), the group happily started to snap away at the beauty shown at Goreme Open Air Museum…

Before we left, we also got to try Turkish ice cream for 5TL. Remember to go for the lemon flavour! The vanilla (or original) flavour, sadly, had some gamey lamb smell (and taste). Well, at least that indicates some form of authenticity right?

Long table in dining area carved out in its entirety
Long table in dining area carved out in its entirety
Exterior of Dark church
Exterior of Dark church
Valley in the background
Valley in the background
Stairs up to Sandals church
Stairs up to Sandals church
Entrance of Buckle church
Entrance of Buckle church
2bearbears and Cappadocia valley
2bearbears and Cappadocia valley
2bearbears and church @ Goreme Open Air Museum Cappadocia
2bearbears and church @ Goreme Open Air Museum Cappadocia
Turkish ice cream 5 lira. Lemon flavour BEST.
Turkish ice cream 5 lira. Lemon flavour BEST.
Lunch at Uranos Sarikaya
Lunch at Uranos Sarikaya


Sights and sounds of Goreme Open Air Museum

Dining at Uranos Sarikaya

Uranos Sarikaya was one of the best restaurants (in terms of decoration) that we visited during this trip. Internally, it seemed as if the restaurant was dug out of a cave and there’s even a live performance in the center of the restaurant that adds to the authentic Turkish atmosphere.

While the fish was not the best (beware of the bones!), we had a large serving of the spaghetti! You can ask for extra spaghetti (mixed with cheese) and tomato-based sauce. As we left the restaurant, we also witnessed a beautiful sight overlooking the river right outside Uranos Sarikaya.

Before the day ended, we stopped by an interesting stretch of formations (called Dream Valley) whereby, if you use a little bit of your imagination, you’ll be able to see a dancing couple, a camel, a bear and santa claus!

Large dining area inside Uranos Sarikaya
Large dining area inside Uranos Sarikaya
Live music during lunch
Live music during lunch
Fried trout fish
Fried trout fish
Baklava Uranos Sarikaya
Baklava Uranos Sarikaya
Beautiful sunny day after lunch @ Uranos Sarikaya
Beautiful sunny day after lunch @ Uranos Sarikaya
Can you spot the Dancing Couple?
Can you spot the Dancing Couple?
We can see a bear! Can you?
We can see a bear! Can you?
This camel is easy to spot eh?
This camel is easy to spot eh?
Entrance of carpet weaving association
Entrance of carpet weaving association


Interesting monoliths of Cappadocia

Kayseri Carpet Factory and Showroom

Before night time descended, we managed to squeeze in some time to visit a carpet factory and showroom in the Kayseri area. Inside, we were shown how carpets are made by hand and how silk is extracted from the cocoons of silk worms. Of course, at the end of the tour, all the various types and size of carpets were hauled out in front of us in a showroom. Drinks, including red and white wines were served. Likely to incapacitate your ability to make sound decisions 😛

We were told that the ladies who work at the showroom have been monitored over a period of time and those who are deemed “talented” would be put to work on pure silk carpets. Turkish carpets have come to be known as carpets of great quality because of the Turkish double knots and various materials (including wool, cotton and silk) used.

Before the trip, we had already wanted to bring home a Turkish carpet and we eventually decided on a mercerised cotton carpet at 1.5m x 0.9m. The starting price was approximately $3,700 usd but with group discounts (presumably with the tour), it was eventually reduced to $1,700. Mr Zeke, the guide who showed us around then came in and reduced the price to $1,400. We requested for a further discount and came away with $1,300, inclusive of air delivery right to our home in Singapore. What do you think of this price? Let us know in the comments section below!

The carpet arrived 1 week later and we found out that it flew by SQ! Now we know where all our money went…

16000 hand woven carpets at the association!
16000 hand woven carpets at the association!
Live demonstration of the weaving process of a Turkish Carpet
Live demonstration of the weaving process of a Turkish Carpet
Hereke. The finest Turkish Carpet
Hereke. The finest Turkish Carpet
How to get silk from cocoons
How to get silk from cocoons
Variety of Turkish carpets made with double knots cotton, wool or silk
Variety of Turkish carpets made with double knots cotton, wool or silk
Uchisar Cappadocia
Uchisar Cappadocia
Free flow of wines beers teas and soft drinks
Free flow of wines beers teas and soft drinks
Dancers at Turkish Nights One girl was really unhappy
Dancers at Turkish Nights One girl was really unhappy
Traditional Turkish twirling dance at turkish night
Traditional Turkish twirling dance at turkish night

Turkish Nights and Belly Dancing

To end off our first night of 2015, we headed to a Turkish Night event. Turkish Night is usually held only on the 31st of December as a form of celebration. At Cappadocia however, it happens every night, for tourists like you and me! Yay!

At the Turkish Night event, there are free flow of drinks and many dance performances. These performances include the twirl dances, traditional dances and of course, belly dancing. Here’s a glimpse of the belly dancing performance during Turkish Night

Although there is free flow of drinks, do lower your expectations because the only highlight of the evening was the belly dancing. The drinks (including licorice liquor, beer and wines) were not that good and the traditional dances got repetitive after a while.

Nonetheless, it was an interesting experience and a great way to start off the new year!

Itinerary of Turkey Travel Day 5: Cappadocia Day Tour covering Kaymakli Underground City, Goreme Open Air Museum and Turkish Night

0815 : Depart from Dinler Hotel Nevsehir to Kaymakli Underground City
0845 : Arrival at Kaymakli Underground City
1000 : Departure from Kaymakli Underground City to Goreme Open Air Museum
1035 : Arrival at Goreme Open Air Museum
1215 : Lunch
1400 : Arrival at Dream Valley
1430 : Departure from Dream Valley to Carpet Showroom
1445 : Arrival at Carpet Showroom
1600 : Departure to Urchisa for a quick photo
1630 : Reach Urchisa and reach hotel at 1700
1830 : Dinner at hotel
1945 : Departure for Turkish Night
2230 : Arrival back at hotel

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Related posts

This post is part of our 10 Days 7 Nights Turkey travel with Chan Brothers. Below, you can find other relevant posts covered during this trip.

Turkey Trip Day 1 : Singapore to Istanbul and Ferry to Canakkale
Turkey Travel Day 2 : Visiting the Trojan Horse of Troy and Ancient City of Pergamon
Turkey Travel Day 3 : Visit to Ephesus / Turkish Bath and Hot Springs of Lycus River Hotel Pamukkale
Turkey Trip Day 4 : Pamukkale Cotton Castle and Journey to Cappadocia!
Turkey Trip Day 5 : Cappadocia, Kaymakli Underground City, Goreme Open Air Museum and Turkish Night Celebrations!
Hot Air Balloon Flight in Cappadocia with Royal Balloon : Turkey Travel Day 6!
Turkey Travels Day 7 : Istanbul’s Camlica Hill, Grand Bazaar, Taksim Square and Istiklal Shopping Street!
Mall of Istanbul (MOI) : Shopping Eating and Relaxing on Day 8 of Turkey Trip!
Find out more about day 6 of our Chan Brother’s Turkey travel where we’ll finally get to fly on a hot air balloon over Cappadocia!

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