Past the Tuz Gölü, Turkey's second-largest lake, with a salt content of ~ 39% one of the world's most salty waters, we went eastwards into the unique landscape of Cappadocia. A huge salt desert reflected the sun and burned properly in the eyes. It made me feel a little sad that I did not, like some who were driving by car, had the time to stroll around the salt. I continued to the heart of Cappadocia, the small town of Göreme, to be exact. Here I will find my home for the next two weeks. Through the online platform workaway.info I have registered for an internship in a horse farm and school for people with disabilities. On the outskirts of the small town I will once again share my work, creativity, time and personality for free food and accommodation. Cappadocia is one of the tourism pearls of Turkey and a gigantic geological phenomenon. I have heard a lot about it and I should be able to spend a longer time in this Region.
The unique UNESCO World Cultural & Natural Heritage was founded several
thousand years ago. Due to the eruptions of three volcanoes surrounding this
region of about 10,000 m², billions of tons of volcanic ash and basalt were poured here. In the course of time, the volcanic ash became thicker, and creating relatively soft tuff rocks. After the volcanoes collapsed the natural erosion (wind, water, flora, fauna) began to gnaw at the rocks. Since the tuff is partly paired with solid basalt rock, some areas are more densely packed and thus more stable than others. In the course of the millennium, for instance, totally fascinating, single towers were created, which eroded the erosion almost from the rock. And when I say towers, I mean a lot ... hundreds ... yes, maybe thousands. Particularly fascinating are the basalt heads of the towers, which take the funniest forms. In fact, these towers are called "fairy chimneys". But not only these fairy chimneys are exciting, but also the plaques where the eroded tufts from the erosion take a beautifully undulating shape and you can perhaps discover some of the future fairy chimneys.
Since the beginning of civilization, various cultures have loved this area. Sure, it was easier to dig a cave in the relatively soft tuff than build a freestanding building. And besides, it was also climatic wise more than smart. Cappadocia is, by the way, derived from Persian, and means "land of beautiful horses". In ancient times Cappadocia was famous for its horse breeding. But not only the Persians settled here. All relevant cultures have left their mark on this region. Not least the persecuted Christians of the Roman Empire have built a few hundred cave churches here. And now the tourists take place. Countless cave hotels are to be found and on foot, by horse, Jeep or ATV the
fascinating landscape can be discovered. And that is the problem. The erosion is, of course, accelerated by cave construction and tourism, and it is only a matter of time, a short time, until the impressive landscape falls victim to human. The construction of new caves was strictly forbidden, but the inhabitants were hardly disturbed, and the private caves were being built secretly at night.
And not only I love this region. My good friend George does this too. In 1976 he knocked at the Turkish government to shoot a film in this wonderful setting. Unfortunately, he did not get permission, so he shot only a few photos, which he used as a background for his pictures or as models for his artificial scenery in Tunisia. And so the first parts of George Lucas Star Wars Saga were not shot in Cappadocia. But the atmosphere is eerily similar. What must the Turkish government have kick themselves.
Little Prince Academy
I found my place in the Little Prince Academy. This privately-run establishment is a mixture of farm and school. With a large facility for the animals and a gigantic cave complex for creative workshops and other activities. In addition, a few small gardens belong to the area as well as the residential truck in which I lived with the other volunteers in a dormitory. On the hill are a few habitable fairy fireplaces and a few pavilions as well as an artificial hobbit house. Every volunteer was a maid-of-all-work. So my tasks were also manifold. Care and feeding the 5 horses, 3 donkeys, 2 cows, 10 sheep, 10 chickens, 3 dogs and 3 cats. Some gardening, cleaning, craftsmanship and of course the entertainment of the visitors (balloon modeling, karaoke party, guitarlele). There was a lot to do, but I had a lot of fun. And with Ilay (TR), Ilham (AZE), Emalee (USA), Fateh (DZA), Gülbahar (NL), I have learned to love many great people. I was especially delighted that Deniz (Olympos & Geyikbayiri) helped for 10 days in the Academy. She travels through Turkey herself, and I have organized her the place in Goreme. For more information on the Little Prince Academy, my time there, my activities and pictures / videos look at People & Projects.
Natürlich habe ich die meiste Zeit innerhalb der Academy verbracht. Jedoch habe ich es auch sehr genossen durch die umliegenden Täler zu wandern, Platteaus zu besteigen und die Herbstsonne zu genießen. Auf den Nordhängen, im Schatten, liegt sogar bereits etwas Schnee. Doch die Sonne macht tagsüber angenehm warm und teilweise konnte ich im T-Shirt arbeiten. Eines Abends machten wir es uns auf einem Hügel, einem schönen Aussichtspunktes, am Lagerfeuer bequem und genossen bis spät in die Nacht die Flammen und die Sterne in dieser außergewöhnlichen Umgebung. An einem anderen Abend streunerten wir durch die Bars der Kleinstadt, genossen ein Bierchen bei Live-Musik und ein Flässchen Wein im Café eines Holzschnitzers. Deniz brachte mir Tavla (Backgammon) bei. An jeder Ecke sieht man die Türken jeden Alters dieses Spiel spielen.
Of course, I spent most of my time at the Academy. However, I also enjoyed walking through the surrounding valleys, climbing plateau and enjoying the autumn sun. There is even some snow on the northern slopes, in the shade. But the sun is warm during the day and partly I could work in the T-shirt. One evening we were on a hill, a beautiful vantage point, at the camp fire comfortable and enjoyed the flames and the stars until late at night in this extraordinary environment. On another evening we strayed through the bars of the small town, enjoyed a beer with live music and a bottle of wine in the café of a wood carving. Deniz teached me Tavla (backgammon). At every corner you can see the Turks of all ages play this game.
Quelle: YouTube (GlastonburyVids) | Patrick Salmen
One of the things you do in Cappadocia is a ride with the hot air balloon. A few years ago, a resourceful businessman offered a balloon ride. Step by step, more balloons joined and now the attraction ballooning itself became a tourist attraction. For a long time, we discussed whether we should spend money for a ride. We decided against it. But we spent time early in the morning to climb the hill and viewpoint next to our Academy. From there we had a fantastic view over the starting balloons to the sunrise. From hidden valleys, balloons lit up and slowly rose over the plain. Countless balloons were to be discovered. In the main season it may be twice as many, but it was also such a magical moment. The roaring of the burners, the lighting up of the balloons, the confused surreal hovering of the balloons. After sufficient photo sessions, we also felt the enormous coldness and we made our way back. The others took another nap and I went to the horse stable. Nothing comes from nothing.
Derinkuyu - Underground
Not only the fairy chimneys and the Cappadocian hills were made accessible by
humans. Already about 4,000 years ago the culture of the Hittites created gigantic underground cities. 50 of these cities are suspected in the region, of which 36 have already been discovered. I visited with the ladies the largest, accessible subterranean city Derinkuyu. It is assumed that in the 6th century the evangelical Christians expanded these cities for their own purposes in order to protect them. And this underground city is awesome. Very clever systems for protection, air, water and food have been conceived. And it is gigantic. About 5,000 people could spend up to 2 months here on the 13 floors up to 60m below ground without a person having to enter the surface. Truly impressive. In addition, the subterranean cities of the region are linked by miles of tunnels. Our guide was great, we had a lot of fun in the catacombs and learned a lot. However, you should not have space, the passages are very narrow and angled. It is very difficult for you to orient yourself.
Selime Castle & Ihlara Valley
The cave system, carved in the soft tuff by the Seljuk Turks in antiquity, is the largest preserved and accessible monument in Cappadocia. And right next door George Lucas has also photographed some of his backdrops for "Star Wars". First, this building was used as a resting place for the East-West caravans. Later it was converted as a Christian monastery. A large chapel was carved in the stone and some frescoes are still to be seen today. It is simply fascinating, with which craftsmanship the people selected a mountain hundreds of years ago and then modeled it for their purposes. For a while we explored the premises, climbed through small caves or up the mountain to further floors and enjoyed the view over the Ihlara valley.
After the visit of the castle we descended the 400 steps down to the Ihlara Gorge. This approx. 15km long and approximately 150m deep ravine is lined with rocky caves and cave tombs of the Byzantine era. We have visited a church. And here is the funniest, frightening and ridiculous thing I've experienced in a long time. I had the first contact with radical religious fanatics. They were Chinese hardcore Christians. Already on the way down, we smiled at the four Chinese people, as they sounded with a loudspeaker around the neck the surroundings with Chinese music. But something incredible happened in the church:
The four pulled horns out of their pockets and blew loudly into the church. Well, the boom box with Chinese music continued. We tourists could not help laughing, bu tour guide got angry. He told the Chinese that they should refrain from blowing the 1,000-year-old frescoes down the wall. This was the sign for the hardcore Christians to kneel and mutter Chinese formulas. Our guide was attacked with aggressive questions about the Bible and they spoke in the name of God. Then, suddenly, face to earth and continue muttering. Peaceful ... so far ... but brutally
frightening. What an extreme Christian faith they belong to? Later we met their driver. A Turk, who was totally stunned. The Christians' group has set itself the task to play their horns of every church they pass. And not only that, but also in the bank, in the supermarket and on the bazaar they blow their horns. Always reckless against other people and things. Fuck ... Give such a gun and everything can happen.
We walked a few kilometers further through the picturesque landscape of the ravine and left the crazy Chinese Christians behind us. In a small cafe with seating directly above the river, we paused and then went all the way back. Our tour still led us to a stone manufactory, producing vessels, art and jewelry. For me anyhow nothing special.
So I sat regularly on the hill next to the Academy, and I looked out into the distance over the exceptionally shaped valleys and hills. On the horizon of Erciyes
Dağı, the highest of the three volcanoes. With 3,917 meters, he surpasses
everything and stands there alone. Of course, I've researched how it looks with a climb, but I had to get this out of my head quickly. Wrong season, no marked trails, wolves and other wild beasts make him unsteppable for me, on this trip. But I am satisfied. Very satisfied. The work here at the Academy gives me so much. The laughter of the children, the enthusiastic looks and the friendly atmosphere make me happy.
Now, together with Deniz, I am back on my way to Ankara. Well ... we should get
there. The bus had a flat tire at full speed on the highway. But the bus driver has solved everything sovereignly. Now he`s on the way tire shop.
How it will continue in Ankara you will see soon. Görüsürüz, Schilli
- The stone manufactury was average ... but the lady who made the tour was super funny. A little overdressed and ridiculous.
- I had a great connection with all animals. Except for Sürmeli, the big black horse. We always had to fight with each other who the boss is. I am firmly convinced that she wanted to kill me.
- The small end-of-season party on the neighboring quarry was outstanding. There I met Sarah, the German volunteer. With homemade wine we enjoyed the cozy evening in the cave.