CAPPADOCIA IS HIGHLY OVERRATED
Cappadocia is an ancient historical region in Central Anatolia (Anadolu). The region is spread across several Turkish provinces such as Nevşehir, Kayseri, Aksaray, Kırşehir, Sivas and Niğde. You can’t find “Cappadocia” on any of the modern maps. Anyway, Cappadocia is a big deal. Right? You have seen thousands of beautiful and glamorous photos on Instagram from Cappadocia. Cappadocia is a must-see place in Turkey. It is not my thought, but what millions of tourists think while traveling to Turkey.
I have been to dozens of cities and have seen hundreds of historical sites in Turkey. I have explored Turkey even better than 99.9% of local Turks. Cappadocia was the last place that I visited during my latest journey.
In the end of June 2022, I visited Cappadocia. The region is beautiful, but I was expecting much more from the famous and overhyped region. Instead, I saw nothing really stunning. I spent 3 days in Cappadocia.
AKSARAY IS CAPPADOCIA’S MOST BEAUTIFUL PROVINCE
I started my journey in Cappadocia from Aksaray province. I visited Ihlara Valley that ended at the Selime Monastery. Ihlara Valley is a truly beautiful valley with a river, high trees, mountains similar to Petra’s, and pleasant shadows.
I hiked untill a village and then hiked Selime Monastery which is an unusual mountain with different caves inside. I really liked Selime Monastery. It is a really interesting place.
DERINKUYU UNDERGROUND CITY WAS NICE
Derinkuyu underground city is located in Nevşehir Province. It is one of the biggest among hundreds of other underground cities in Cappadocia. For me, Derinkuyu Underground city wasn’t something special and stunning. I have already been to many underground sites, and maybe this is the reason why the city didn’t impress me a lot.
Though marketed as an underground city with 8 levels, only 2 levels (floors) are available for tourists. I expected that I would be able to go down to the lowest 8th level of the underground city. Unfortunately, all entries were closed and inaccessible. I was told there was no way to go deeper into the city.
GOREME IS THE MOST OVERHYPED PLACE
My next stop was in Goreme. This is the famous province where the weirdly-shaped mountains are located. Goreme is also the site where you can ride a hot baloon. Basically, the Cappadocia you have seen on photos is Goreme. This is the place most highly associated with Cappadocia. Goreme is also a host to numerous valleys such as Pigeon Valley, Red Valley, Love Valley, Rose Valley, and many other valleys.
The only things I saw in Goreme were weirdly-shaped mountains in a desert. The balloons didn’t fly for three days due to the wind. I wasn’t eager to see the balloons. I bet they wouldn’t impress me much.
But how it can be possible that you didn’t like Goreme? Let me explain something to you. On Instagram and travel websites, Goreme looks stunning. Right? This is because the photos are mostly taken by either professional photographers or during the best times for photography (sunset and sunrise). For random travelers and tourists who wander the desert during afternoon, Goreme doesn’t look so special. Mountains look grey and simple. These aren’t those reddish mountains you see on Instagram.
GOREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM IS OVERPRICED
Goreme Open Air Museum in Goreme is a UNESCO heritage site, and how dare you say it is overpriced? Yeah, I also thought since it is a UNESCO heritage site, it must be very impressive. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. I have seen loads of UNESCO heritage sites which were not worth visiting.
Goreme Open Air Museum is a number one place on a list of places to visit in Goreme. If you Google “places to visit in Goreme”, Goreme Open Ait Museum will popup at the first spot. How can you come to Goreme and leave without visiting Goreme Open Air Museum? These were the words I was telling myself. If you made such a long road to Cappadocia, you have to visit this famous UNESCO world heritage site.
I don’t refret visiting the museum because I would regret if I didn’t see it. I saw it, and I didn’t like it. It is much better than regretting about not visiting a place.
The proble is that Goreme Open Air Museum is the most expensive place to visit in whole Cappadicia. I paid 120 TL for the ticket. By far the most expensive price I have paid for a museum ticket in Turkey. In March 2022, I paid 110 TL for a ticket to Pamukkale, but it was worth it.
All I saw in Goreme Open Air Museum were a few caves with ancient churches inside. In 20 minutes, you can finish exploring the whole site. Maybe for a devoted Christian or a deep history nerd, these cave churches might have a big meaning. The cause isn’t in religion. I admire and appreciate architecture of beautiful churches.
The name itself “Open Air Museum” is completely offtopic. It isn’t a museum. It is a collection of a few churches in three or four caves. How can you call it “Open Air Museum”?! What connection does the museum have with air?! Turks are good in marketing and branding. This is why they make billions of dollars in annual income from tourism. And since Goreme Open Air Museum is a UNESCO heritage site, they inflated the ticket price.
Lastly, I visited the highest place (a high mountain where all tourists go to enjoy a wonderful view) in Goreme to see a beautiful landscape and take some photos. After that I took a bus and left the city.
Cappadocia is surely a very beautiful and significant place. You can’t skip it if you visit Turkey. However, I would like to tell you that Cappadocia is not as beautiful as you see it in Instagram. Mostly, you will see grey mountains with weird caves and cones which aren’t much impressive.
This is my personal opinion. Some people might visit Cappadocia and swear that it was the most amazing place they have visited in their life. Not in my case. Cappadocia is beautiful, but it is surely very overhyped and overrated due to Instagram photos that use tons of filters and effects.
For those of you who are planning to visit Cappadocia, I will prepare a great ultimate travel guide that will supply you with all the necessary information and knowledge on how to explore the region.
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