Kapadokya Balayı tatili için seçilebilecek en özel yerlerin başında gelmekte. Sizin için çok özel olan kişiyle yeni hayatınıza böylesi özel bir yerde başlamak son derece yerine bir karar. Taşkonaklar Otel olarak da, doğanın ve tarihin insanlığa armağanı olan bu harikulade yerin özelliklerini anlatacağımız yazımıza zaman kaybetmeden başlayalım.
Öncelikle, Kapadokya’da zirveye ulaşmak ve buradan manzaranın en özelini yaşamak sadece Uçhisar’a gelmekle mümkün. Zira Uçhisar Kapadokya’nın en yüksek noktası ve Uçhisar Kalesi’de balona binmeden çıkabileceğiniz en yüksek yeri. Bu kasabada, binlerce yıllık medeniyetlerin yaşanmışlığına dokunarak, zamanın ışık oyunlarıyla size sunduğu manzarayı nefesinizi tutup izleyecek ve vadilerde adeta hayallere yolculuk edeceksiniz.
Taşkonaklar Otel, yem yeşil iki bahçesi ve teraslarıyla Kapadokya’nın en özel vadilerinden biri olan Güvercinlik Vadisi’ne hakim bir konumda yer alır. Karakteristik mimarisi ve yörenin doğallığına adapte olmuş yapısıyla ustalığın ve işçiliğin yansıması olan Taşkonaklar, inşasında tarih ve doğanın bozulmasına izin verilmemiş bir konaklama tesisi olarak misafirlerine hizmet vermektedir. Her taş, kemer ve baca korunarak bu muhteşem manzaranın vazgeçilmez bir parçası haline gelmiştir. Bu sebeple, sahip olduğu odaların da hepsi birbirinden farklı ve kendine özgüdür. Her odanın kendine has konfor ve her detayına âşık olacağınız ince seçimleriyle dekore edilmesine hayran kalacağınıza emin olabilirsiniz. İster her oda da sizin keyfiniz için yaratılmış köşelerin, şömine de çıtırdayan odunun isterseniz de Teraslı Süite’lerden birisini seçtiyrseniz kendinize ait terasınızın tadını çıkarın. Kapadokya balayı tatili yapmak için harika bir seçim olan Taşkonaklar Otel sayesinde keyifli anlar geçirecek ve harika anılar biriktirebileceksiniz. Tabi ki bütün bunları saymışken Taşkonaklar’a özgü olan, Royal Suite’lerin manzaraya hakim ve size ait terasınızda yıl boyu kullanabileceğiniz ısıtmalı jakuzinizi de unutmamalı!
Kapadokya’nın dinamik enerjisini hissedin!
Bu özel tatilinizde her detayın da size özel olarak yaratılmasını istiyorsanız kendinizi Taşkonaklar ekibine emanet edebilirsiniz. Sabahın ilk ışıklarıyla renklenen manzaranın harika bir fonu olan sıcak hava balonları ile odanızın terasından seyretmekle yetinmek istemeyecek ve katılmak için sabırsızlanacağınız bir aktivite sizleri bekliyor olacak. Güvercinlik vadisine 5 dakikalık yürüme mesafesinde olan Taşkonaklar, trekking – doğa yürüyüşü aktivitesi sayesinde tarihin içinden geçecek, vadiye adını veren kayalara oyulmuş güvercin yuvalarını görebileceksiniz. Başınızı gökyüzüne çevirdiğinizde gördüğünüz rengarenk balonlarla yapacağınız gezinin planları bir an önce gerçekleştirmek isteyeceğinizi şimdiden garanti edebiliriz. Ayrıca komşu köylerde ata binme veya uzman rehberlerle yapacağınız birçok gezi ile tarihin ve doğanın muhteşem sinerjisine katılmak size haz verecek. Eşsiz Kapadokya balayı tatili sayesinde keyifli ve sevgi dolu bir vakit geçirebilecek, bölgenin bitmek tükenmek bilmeyen enerjisini daha ilk günden benliğinizde hissedeceksiniz!
Taşkonaklar ile harika bir rüyaya uyanmak!
Gün doğumuyla birlikte harikulade manzaranıza eşlik edecek, tüm gün mutlu olmanıza sebep olacak lezzet ve hizmet kalitesi sunan Taşkonaklar, Kapadokya balayı tatili için tercih edilebilecek en iyi Oteller arasında başı çekmesinin bir sebebi de dillere destan serpme kahvaltısı. Kapadokya’da kahvaltı; hayal ettiğiniz tatilin ilk ve en özel başlangıcıdır. Taşkonaklar Otel, misafirlerine unutulmayacak bir tatilin kapılarını aralarken aynı zamanda eşsiz bir hizmet yelpazesi sunmaktadır. Hem dilerseniz aynı lezzeti canınız isterse odanızda da sunabiliriz.
Kapadokya balayı tatili için harika seçim
Her mevsim değişen güzelliği ile özellikle balayı çiftlerinin tercihi olan otelimiz, her mevsimde farklı güzellikte doğası, kesintisiz Kapadokya manzarası ve harikulade mimarisi ile misafirlerimize tatmadıkları farklı deneyimleri yaşatmak üzere sizleri beklemektedir.
Kapadokya balayı tatili için özellikle harika bir bölgedir. Doğası, tarihi, aktiviteleri ve doğal mağara odalarında keyifle konaklayabildiğiniz Taşkonaklar Otel ile ayrıcalığı ve güzelliği bir arada yaşayacaksınız.
Teraslı, balkonlu, jakuzili, şömineli odalarını her gelişinizde farklı seçimlerle renklendireceğiniz farklı oda seçenekleri sayesinde Kapadokya butik otel arayışınızı Taşkonaklar Otel’de sonlandıracağınıza eminiz. Odalarımız, Otelimiz, hizmetlerimiz ve Kapadokya güzellikleri ile ilgili bilgileri almak için web sitemizde bir tur atmayı sakın unutmayın!
Kadim uygarlıklara ev sahipliği yapmış Kapadokya’nın en özel bölgesinde hizmet veren Taşkonaklar Otel, maharetli ustaların ortaya çıkardığı bir konaklama harikası olarak unutulmaz anlar yaşatmak için misafirlerini ağırlıyor.
Dünyada eşi benzeri olmayan bir bölge olan Kapadokya’nın muhteşem manzarasına hakim, kadim uygarlıkların yaşayışlarından ilham alan tasarımlarla bezenmiş Taşkonaklar, bu keyfin ayrıcalığına varmanız için sizleri çağırıyor. Her misafire özel butik hizmet anlayışıyla Uçhisar’da hizmet veren Taşkonaklar, kartpostallara layık panoramik Kapadokya çehresi, dillere destan Türk kahvaltısı ve lezzetli restoranı ile hem misafir memnuniyetini hem de hizmet kalitesini en üst seviyede sağlıyor.
5 farklı oda seçeneği bulunan otelin bütün odaları özenle dekore edilmiş mağara ve taş mimarideki odalardan oluşmaktadır.
Delüks Mağara Oda
20 – 30 m2’lik gerçek mağara odalarda geçmişi ve geleceği bir anda yaşamanızı sağlayan bir ambiyans!
Farklı dekorasyonuyla birbirinden güzel, Kapadokya’ya özgü taş kemerli ve şömineli odalar!
Delüks Teraslı Oda
Sabah ilk uyandığınızda Kapadokya’nın eşsiz manzarasıyla güne aydınlık başlarsınız.
Harika tasarıma sahip sade ama Kapadokya’ya özgü dekore edilmiş süitler
Sevdiklerinizle harika bir tasarıma ve ferahlığa sahip 2 yatak odalı ve 2 banyolu mağara suite
Tek Odalı Süit
Şömineli, balkonlu ve özenli dekorasyonu ile misafirlerini bekleyen süitler
Terasından uçsuz bucaksız Kapadokya manzarasının seyre dalındığı ya da şöminesinde keyifli vakitlerin geçirildiği harikulade süitler
Jakuzili Deluxe Teras Oda
Terası, manzarası ve terasında bulunan jakuzisi ile kelimelere sığdıramadığımız odalardan
Jakuzili Royal Süitler
Kapadokya manzarası, kendine ait ısıtması ve jakuzisi ile kralları kıskandıracak cinsten!
Royal Queen Süit
Terasında Kapadokya’yı ağırlayan manzarası, yemyeşil sadece bu odaya özel bahçesi ve jakuzisi ile daha fazlasını aramayanlara layık bir oda
Royal King Süit
Otelin en ayrıcalıklı, en yükseğinde bulunan, 3 teras ile en geniş dış mekana sahip kral süiti! Kelimeler özelliklerini anlatmaya yetmez! Sitemizden detaylı görsellerine ulaşabilirsiniz.
Kapadokya Balayı Otelleri
Heyecan Verici Aktiviteler
Taşkonaklar yalnızca bir konaklama tesisi değil aynı zamanda eğlence ve keyifli zaman geçirebileceğiniz aktivite imkanları sunan sosyal bir tesistir. Kapadokya’nın tarihi, doğası ve iklimi ile eşsiz aktivite seçenekleri bulabileceğiniz bir portföy tam da burada sizleri bekliyor!
Kapadokya’nın eşsiz doğasını metrelerce yukarıdan izlemek kim istemez ki? Manzarasına ve otantizmine kendinizi kaptıracağınız harika bir balon turu sizleri bekliyor!
Peribacaları arasından geçerken eşsiz coğrafyayı at üzerinde keşfedebildiğiniz muhteşem doğa turları
Muhteşem doğa sizi çağırıyor! Ruhunuzu dinginleştireceğiniz yürüyüş turları
Kültür ve Arkeoloji Turları
Tarih, müzeler, doğa, peribacaları ve Kapadokya, Kapadokya Kapadokya!
Jeep Safari Organizasyonları
Adrenalin sever misiniz? İşte bu turlar tam size göre!
Gündoğumu pikniği ve balon safarisi
Balona binmek istemiyor veya yer mi bulamadınız. O zaman gündoğumunda balonların eşlik ettiği muhteşem manzaranın tadını Kapadokya vadisi içerisinde sizin İçin özel kurulmuş bir sofrada harika bir kahvaltı ile çıkartın.
Kapadokya’da günbatımı hakkında söylenenleri duymuşsunuzdur. İşte harika bir günbatımı pikniği sizi çağırıyor!
Taşkonaklar, Kapadokya’nın eşsiz doğasında, kadim bir yolculuğun başlamadan önceki ilk durağı olarak sizleri bekliyor. Odalarımız, hizmetlerimiz ve Kapadokya hakkında bilgi almak için web sitemizi ziyaret edebilir, detaylı bilgi için bizimle iletişime geçebilirsiniz.
Have you thought about buying Cappadocian pottery as a gift or keepsake when you visit this beautiful region?
Cappadocia may have more master potters per capita than anywhere else in the world. This means that a unique ceramic pot made from the clay of the Red River in Avanos may be the perfect handicraft to remind you of the wonderful time you spent here.
For as long as people have lived along the river, they have used the rich red clay to make pots for practical use. Over time masters (Turkish: Ustas) perfected their craft, taught their children, and generations later, when tourists started visiting in droves, a healthy industry was ready to receive and amaze them.
These pottery masters make almost everything imaginable in their workshops and allow visitors an opportunity to try their hand. Can you “throw” a pot or does the process make you want to literally throw something?! Regardless, this is your chance to show off your (lack of) skills. Sitting at the potter’s wheel is fun (especially for kids) and free.
Once you are done you will want to do some shopping. The most popular pieces are the ancient Hittite imitation pieces including the donut-shaped wine bottle with its unique shape and colorful designs.
Avanos and Cavusin are the places to go if you are interested in experiencing Cappadocian pottery. If you do go, we would like to give one word of advice for those of you not attached to a big tour group. You have a choice as to which shop to give your business so make the most of it. Do not be in a hurry. Go to a few shops and check out the variety. As you get an idea of what you want, you will see that prices can vary significantly. The salesman will expect you to bargain so do not disappoint him.
Once you return home Cappadocia will always remain close at heart when you gaze upon your pottery prominently displayed in your living room.
Most visitors to Cappadocia visit the Goreme Open Air Museum for good reason. Where else in the world can you find a grouping of 1000 year old cave churches with magnificent Byzantine era paintings of Biblical scenes?
However, a significantly smaller number of tourists make it the Zelve Open Air Museum just a few kilometers away.
Which museum will you visit on your trip to Cappadocia?
First let’s get the basics out of the way.
Goreme Open Air Museum:
Entrance Fee: 75 TL + 25 TL for the Dark Church
Audio Tour: 25TL
Location: The hills east of Goreme
What to see: The remains of an ancient religious cave dwelling community consisting of churches (with beautiful frescoes), a kitchen and dining room, storage rooms, and residences.
Zelve Open Air Museum:
Entrance Fee: 20 TL
Audio Tour: None
Location: Near Paşabağ around the corner from Cavusin village
What to see: 4 ancient churches and a cave community
Only one of Zelve’s churches has frescoes which is the main reason it is less popular. However, it is four times as large as Goreme Open Air Museum covering three small valleys that butt up against towering cliffs. It was an active village until 1952 when the government moved the residents to Aktepe village due to the danger from falling rocks. The open air museum has been renovated with over 1.5 kilometers of nice sidewalks to make movement easier. With fewer visitors each guest has the opportunity to linger and explore the large area. If you have children, they will love the opportunities and freedom of Zelve. Does this sound inviting to you?
Goreme Open Air Museum, on the other hand, is smaller and more crowded which means less time to take in the wonders you will see. But, as we stated above, Goreme’s museum is unique in the world and, in our opinion, worth a visit.
Before the printed word how did the early Christians teach the stories? They painted them. The frescoes were painted over a couple of centuries and the development is easy to see. Some churches contain simple red paint and stick figures while others dazzle with full color panoramic scenes of the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Christ.
Expect to spend about 2 hours at either museum, bring your camera, and wear sturdy shoes since the ground is uneven, and you will have to climb a metal staircase or two. Both parks have cafes and souvenir sellers. Going with a guide is an option (just ask your hotel to set it up), but the Goreme Open Air Museum has posted signs detailing each cave area as well as the audio tour available. The Zelve museum has signs as well, but they are not as detailed as Goreme’s.
In the end this decision comes down to time and personality. We recommend seeing the Goreme Open Air Museum if you only have time for one. However, if you have seen your fill of cave paintings and prefer the less crowded sites, then maybe Zelve is a better choice.
Which will you choose?
Be sure to share your opinion in the comments.
If so, you need to read this. Few things are as beautiful or will make such a Wow! impression as a Turkish rug in your home. But you want to be sure you have no regrets. This post will help towards that goal.
There are 9 characteristics to think about in the carpet buying process. The better you understand these, the happier you will be with your selection.
Lastly, recognize that you are buying more than a Turkish carpet. These are works of art and represent a piece of history and culture. Display yours with pride in your home and enjoy telling your guests its story.
Now that you have reserved your transportation and hotel, the time has come to decide what to do in Cappadocia.
Cappadocia’s activity list is almost infinite but most people only spend a few days here and, therefore, they have to decide between the top options.
Below you will find a list of the most popular things to do in Cappadocia. As you plan your days you can refer to this list to make sure all your favorites are included.
* Hot air balloon ride – This is probably the biggest draw. The opportunity to see this magical landscape from above while quietly floating in and out and around the valleys and fairy chimneys occurs once in a lifetime for most people. Be sure to schedule this early in your trip in case bad weather forces cancellations. Your hotel will be happy to help you book your trip. The prices of the flights can change from season to season.
* Göreme Open-Air Museum – On a hill side outside of Göreme sit a gaggle of 1100 year old cave churches with beautiful frescoes covering the walls. Expect to spend about 2 hours here. An audio guide is available at the gate.
* Underground city – Of the hundreds of underground cities lying beneath the surface of Cappadocia only a few are open to the public. The two biggest are Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı. They are massive going 100 meters underground with countless tunnels and rooms. Unlike the open air museum they have little available information so you may want to have a guide when you visit.
* Hiking Valleys – The Cappadocia landscape is littered with valleys most of which center around Göreme. Each of them has a hiking trail that leads by cliffs full of caves, fairy chimneys with remnants of former civilizations, and orchards and vineyards. The most popular are Pigeon, Love, Swords, Red/Rose, and Zemi Valley. About an hour and a half away the Ihlara Valley is actually a captivating river gorge. Pack a picnic with water, put on a sturdy pair of shoes, grab your camera and enjoy a day in nature.
* Turkish Night and/or Whirling Dervish – On one evening plan on experiencing a cultural feast. All you can eat and drink while watching a host of different cultural dances. If you can help it, try not to plan this for the night before your balloon ride as you will be up late and have to get up extra early, not a good combination for most people.
* Ürgüp Wine & Kuruyemis – If you like wine, then you need to take some time in Ürgüp tasting the different wines made from local grapes. The wine industry is quickly developing, and although it does not compete with France yet, most people enjoy the local offerings. Ürgüp has a number of places that are happy to let you sample their many varieties. Also, Ürgüp is known for the wonderful dried fruits and nuts grown and produced in Turkey. Along the main square sit a number of shops eager for you to sample their products. Be careful because once you taste their delicacies you will not leave until your arms are full and your wallet is empty!
* Avanos pottery – The red river produces a red clay that is perfect for ceramic pottery. The trade has developed around the area for centuries and there are today no lack of masters plying their trade for the many international visitors. They give free demonstrations and even allow you to try your hand at throwing a pot with no obligation to buy anything.
* Avanos Red River Jet Boat, Gondola, Cafes – Over the last few years Avanos has worked hard to develop the banks of the river that cuts right through the middle of town. You can easily spend a day playing in the park with your kids, sitting in a riverside cafe, riding in a gondola, or speeding up and down the river in a jet boat. Include this with a visit to a pottery shop, and you will not be disappointed.
* ATV and/or Horseback Riding – For a reasonable price you can rent an ATV and speed around Cappadocia’s dirt roads or become a cowboy and tour the valleys and hills of the area.
* Uchisar/Ortahisar – These two ancient rock towers provide a wonderful view of the surrounding area and are well worth the climb. The towns that have grown around them are happy to serve their visitors with a host of shops and restaurants.
* Zelve/Cavusin/Pasabag – Ancient churches, breathtaking fairy chimneys, beautiful views, and fun hikes are available in these neighboring sites.
* Sunset Point – A short hike up the hill towering over the south side of Göreme you will find a small platform from which you can watch Cappadocia’s captivating daily sunset. For couples this is a romantic opportunity not to be missed.
* Mustafapaşa – In 1923-24 all the Greek Christians in Turkey were sent to Greece (and the Muslim Turks in Greece were sent to Turkey). This mass migration left countless empty homes across Anatolia. Most of them are not recognizable anymore but in Mustafapaşa, a village 15 minutes outside of Ürgüp, you can catch a glimpse of their lives and culture.
* Various overlook points – These are points from which you can see Göreme or Pigeon Valley or various other beautiful parts of the region. These are usually included on the package tours to give visitors good photo opportunities.
* Belisirme Monastery – This amazing monastery is built into the side of a cliff that sits right outside of the Ihlara Valley. It is included on the Green Tour.
* Soğanlı Valley – Another region of the area with cave churches, hiking trails, and shopping opportunities. This area is highlighted on the Blue Tour.
* Besides the wine and pottery listed in the previous section, you can also shop for carpets and onyx jewelry. These shops are located in most every town in the region. The package “color” tours will usually include a visit to one type of shop.
Wow! That is a list. Now that you have added a few days to your trip (or started planning your return!), you need to make some decisions.
Put all of this together, list your priorities, and have a great time. Your boutique cave hotel manager will be happy to help you arrange transportation, tours, hot air balloons, or whatever you need. If you are not sure, plan on sitting down with them once you arrive and mapping out your stay. Or you can email ahead of time and work it out.
Let us know how it goes.
Many of our guests ask about the interior design and furnishings of our rooms. We thought it would be helpful to talk about that in a blog post and here it is.
Maybe the first thing our guests notice about our rooms is the almost exclusive use of natural materials. Except for the flat screen TV, wireless modem, and refrigerator in each room you will be hard pressed to find any plastic. All the decoration is wood, stone, metal, and glass.
Our owners, Mr. Bulent and his son Tolga, have collected antiques from all over Turkey. These have each been carefully selected for each room including refashioning pieces into the beautiful glass covered tables. This includes the old handmade Turkish carpets and even the fireplaces. If the room’s original fireplace was not usable, then we searched other old homes to find authentic stone fireplaces. And you can enjoy the fire while lounging in the antique or custom made beds with top quality mattresses in each room.
Then we used over 50,000 hand cut Saritas stones from Nevsehir for the inside and outside walls of the hotel. Of course, this does not include the marble used in the spacious bathrooms each of which is fitted with a rain and regular spray shower. Each room was kept as closely as possible to its original shape. The hotel is made up of a number of old houses that have been renovated and luxurified while preserving the basic structure.
But we did not avoid anything to make our guests comfortable. The tap water is purified making it drinkable. But for those guests who are still unsure, we include 2 complimentary bottles of water in the minibar/fridge. We have also included complimentary coffee and teas and a complimentary 5 o’clock afternoon tea and cake time for all of our guests.
All of this has been done to make your time at Taskonaklar as comfortable as possible. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Today Cappadocia is a tourist hotspot in the heart of Central Turkey but this has not always been the case. The human history of Cappadocia stretches back thousands of years and spans many empires.
When you visit this geological wonderland please consider that you are walking on ground ruled by the Hittites, Eastern Mushki, Persians, Macedonians, Romans/Byzantines, Seljuks, Karamanids, Ottomans, and the Republic of Turkey.
The boundaries of the area of Cappadocia have changed through that time. At one point it extended north all the way to the Black Sea and south to the Taurus Mountains, but today it is not even an official region in Turkey. The historical name of the area has been kept for tourist reasons and what people visit today is only 150 miles by 250 miles touching five Turkish provinces (Kayseri, Nevsehir, Kirsehir, Aksaray, and Nigde).
The current name comes from an adapted form of Katpatuka which it was called by the Persians. With the fall of the Hittites around the 12th century B.C. the Eastern Mushki ruled the area. Then King Croesus is known for whom has a fabulous wealth and ill-fated oracles and comes on the scene but is quickly defeated by the Persians in the 6th century B.C.
The Persians ruled the region from a distance, i.e. the local leaders most likely had their way as long as they did not get out of hand, until Alexander the Great defeated them. At that point somehow in the chaos of Alexander’s death, Cappadocia became a kingdom. Ariarathes I was king from 331-320. His sons followed him, and Cappadocia was ruled as a kingdom until 17 A.D. when the Roman emperor decided to make it a province. The Cappadocians had had good relations with the Romans since 188 B.C. but the Emperor Tiberius changed the status in a fit of anger at the Cappadocian king.
From that point the history of Cappadocia is rather straightforward, at least from a big picture view. The Romans gave way to the Byzantines (who were actually Romans) who controlled the area until the Seljuks moved into the area after the battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Seljuks of Rum ruled for a time until they were defeated by the Mongols and the Karamanids (from Karaman southeast of Cappadocia) took over in their rivalry with the growing Ottoman dynasty. During your time in Cappadocia, you may visit a caravanserai as they are popular on many of the tours. You have the Seljuks to thank for this. Be sure to note the unique architecture they introduced to this land. With the fall of the Ottoman Empire after WWI, the Republic of Turkey was formed and that is how things currently stand.
But in all of this changing of empires, the most striking aspect of Cappadocia, its cave communities, has gone unmentioned. The first Christians arrived in Cappadocia shortly after the resurrection of Jesus and the birth of the Christian religion. They are mentioned in the Bible on at least 2 occasions, most clearly when the apostle Peter writes them in his first epistle.
The Cappadocian Fathers, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, played a significant role in the development of Christian theology in the 4th century. They also established the monastic communities that would survive for hundreds of years.
Islam arrived with the Seljuks and was continued with the Ottomans. Both ruling groups built mosques and madrasas, many of which are still standing today.
For most of the Ottoman days there was a mix of peoples living together, but that ended with the forced people swap between Turkey and Greece in 1923-24. You may visit Mustafapasa while you are in Cappadocia and see the remnants of the Greeks who inhabited the area.
One other note worth pointing out was the creation of Nevsehir, the provincial capital. This town was first famous as Nyssa, the home of Gregory mentioned above. Then it fell off the map and was just a small village until Damat Ibrahim Pasha became Grand Vezir to the sultan in 1718. He poured money into the region transforming his small village into a “new city”, thus the name Nevsehir which translates as new city. The mosque and hamam complex he built are still in use today.
And with that we have flown through 3000+ years of Cappadocia history. Hopefully this will make your time here more meaningful. As you trek through caves and valleys think of all those who have come before you and enjoy the legacy they have left to us.
Luxury in a Turkish Cave
By Jonathan Look
My passion is traveling the world and searching out unusual experiences. On a recent trip to Turkey, after several wondrous days in Istanbul, I wanted to try something a little different. I had dreamed about visiting Cappadocia, an enchanted place on the fabled “Silk Road” in central Turkey where stones sprout from the ground like mushrooms, cities are carved from mountains, and the winemakers have been plying their trade since before the 4th century B.C. I also wanted to enjoy a uniquely authentic Cappadocian experience, so I arranged to stay in one of the regions’ best cave accommodations; the Taskonaklar Hotel.
The thought of staying in a cave—a cold, damp, musty chamber with no light—is not on the surface very appealing, but I deferred to my friends who had visited Cappadocia and said that staying in one should be at the top of my list of things to do.
As I drove my rental car from Kayseri, through the legendary landscape of the Anatolia, I found myself traveling in a surreal painting of crumpled, terra cotta colored hills pierced by cream-colored spires. This was not the place of my dreams; it exceeded them. In the distance, I could see Uçhisar, my destination. This citadel of barren rock, the highest point in Cappadocia, towered over the surrounding plains. Just below the summit, carved into the solid rock, I could see dozens of windows peering over the surroundings, with the city itself spilled further below surrounding the fortress. I navigated my car through absurdly narrow alleyways and finally found the small sign announcing the Taskonaklar Hotel.
As I arrived onto the property I was presented with a panoramic view of Pigeon Valley below. The vista was interrupted by scores of “fairy chimneys,” skinny pyramidshaped
spires that jutted from the valley, many of which themselves have been carved by
Byzantine settlers into desert homes. I was shown to my suite and quickly discovered that, although I was going to be living in a cave carved from solid rock, I wasn’t
going to be living as a troglodyte. My suite had a huge private terrace that overlooked
the stunning surroundings, hardwood floors, a stone fireplace, Turkish rugs, fine linens, and all the modern amenities you would expect from a world-class hotel. I asked for a tour of the property and was proudly shown an establishment that shows evidence of accommodating travelers for millennia. Each suite is unique; some had ancient tandoori ovens carved into the floor while others had wine presses, and vats
carved into the rock. Others had hot tubs with unimpeded views of the landscape.
On the surface, thoughts created when you think “cave hotel,” don’t inspire luxury or even comfort, but once again, travel has altered my expectations. Not only did I get a huge helping of unique, I also received a generous measure of luxury, which I couldn’t have imagined from a cave before.
Editor’s Note: Jonathan Look, Jr. writes about life, retirement, and travel at his website LifePart2.com.
Thank you Jon for your lovely article!!
Turkish Food in Cappadocia
One of the most enjoyable aspects of visiting Turkey is the food. Turks may not be the most famous in the kitchen, but that means delicious surprises await you upon your arrival.
Coming to Cappadocia will give you no lack of opportunities to sample tasty Turkish treats. Begin each morning with Taşkonaklar Hotel’s renowned Turkish breakfast full of locally grown products. Fill your plate with olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh baked breads and rolls (poaça), honey, homemade jellies/jams, and eggs (try menemen to be really Turkish, a mix of peppers, tomatoes and eggs), and Turkish tea or coffee. That should tide you over until lunch, but if you need a snack in between we recommend pistachios from Antep or locally grown and dried apricots.
Breakfast at Taşkonaklar
For lunch the choices are all mouth watering. Begin with a steaming hot bowl of lentil soup (mercimek). For the main course perhaps you will prefer the grilled meatballs (köfte) or chicken on the skewer (tavuk shish). If not, try the Adana kebap (spiced ground beef on a skewer) or the Kuzu shish (lamb on a skewer). If that sounds too heavy, then you may want the cheese or mince meat pide (pronounced pee-day) which is an elongated Turkish version of pizza without tomato sauce. Or you can try the baked beans (kuru fasulye) and rice, which are the favorite of many Turks. Each of these goes well with an Efes Beer. Once you finish take some time to sit and chat while enjoying a cup of Turkish tea and some baklava.
Pide (Turkish pizza)
If you need a snack before dinner while you are out and about on a tour, try some Turkish Delight and a cup of fresh squeezed pomegranate and orange juice which can be found at most tourist stops.
When you sit down to the dinner table be ready for a Turkish feast. Begin with some appetizers (mezes) which could include a tomato-pepper salsa, yogurt and dill (cacik), roasted mushrooms smothered in cheese, humus, an eggplant/aubergine (patlican) salad, and fresh bread (the Turkish meze menu can go on for pages).
For the main entree someone in your party needs to order the Testi Kebab, a Cappadocian specialty. Take cubed beef and put it in a seramic pot; add tomatoes, peppers, garlic, spices, and a special sauce; seal it and throw it in the tandir oven for 2 hours. The waiter will bring the sealed pot to your table and break it open in front of you. Once the steam clears enjoy.
For the others in your party (or for the other evenings of your trip) order Imam Bayildi (Imam Fainted) which is Eggplant/aubergine stuffed with sauteed tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic, or Karni Yarik which is similar to Imam Bayildi except that it also has ground beef. Both are wonderful if you enjoy eggplant.
Wash this down with a Cappadocian wine of which Kocabağ and Turasan are the most well-known. You may be surprised at the level of quality Cappadocia wineries have achieved.
And with that you have feasted and can be rolled back to your cave hotel room. But, honestly, this is just a sliver of Turkish cuisine. We could go on and on with recommendations, but we will not except for a few items we could not fit into our perfect day.
You may be staying in Turkey for longer than 2-3 days and want to try a larger variety of dishes. In that case we can recommend a few “common” items that almost every Turk, from the lowest street cleaner to the president himself, enjoys.
A FEW MORE OPTIONS
* Lahmacun is an Anatolian specialty, truly a “food of the people”. It is usually the least expensive item on the menu. It is pizza-shaped but is thinner and has no tomato sauce or cheese.
* Simit looks like a type of bagel with sesame seeds. It is chewy and delicious, especially when it is fresh. You will find two kinds of simit. The street vendors sell a harder, darker type whereas the bakeries will offer a golden brown, softer version. Try them both and let us know your favorite.
* Gözleme is similar to a Mexican quesadilla except that it is usually square and comes in more flavors. You can get it with cheese or spinach or potatoes or onions. The bread is called yufka and is thinner than a tortilla.
* Döner comes from the Turkish word which means “to turn” and describes the way the spiced meat (usually lamb or chicken) is cooked. This is Turkish fast food at its essence and can be found on almost every street corner in urban areas. This is also called Gyro or Schwarma in other parts of the world.
* DRINKS – Two drinks not mentioned are Ayran which is a salted yogurt drink that is the staple of every child in Turkey and Raki which is an anise liquor (think liquid black licorice) made famous for being Ataturk’s favorite drink.
And with that you have enough to keep your plate happy and your stomach full. If you leave Turkey without gaining a few pounds, you have more self-disicipline than most. Consider it a way to take Turkey back home with you.