The magic of Cappadocia and cave living Turkey.
Cappadocia is a fairylike landscape strewn with bizarre rock formations, cave dwellings and rock churches. Millions of years ago volcanic eruptions formed a large plateau of volcanic ash, lava and basalt in the heart of Turkey. Ten thousands years of changes in temperature, heavy rains, wind and melting snow created what are known as ‘fairy chimneys’, up to 40m tall. The caves formed as part of this erosion and have been the dwellings for Assyrian, Hittite, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman civilizations.
As a student of cultural anthropology at the university of Amsterdam I picked Cappadocia for doing the research for my thesis. The 3 months I stayed there were so special that after leaving, the place actually never left my mind. Once I set up my own travel agency I decided to organize walking tours in Cappadocia because I wanted to show people this amazing place and at the same time I wanted to give something back to all the wonderful people I met while staying there.
After a couple of years, just doing trips in Cappadocia wasn’t enough for me anymore, I wanted to live there, to own my own cave house, living the real live between the fairy chimneys and among the people I liked so much!
After a big search I found my cave house in Ortahisar. A big village with a rock castle and a whole labyrinth of underground store rooms where they kept lemons and potatoes. The owners of the house were happy to sell because they wanted to move to one of the new “modern” houses in the village. At that time living in a cave house was considered as something backwards, if you had the chance you moved to a modern house. A move many people regretted later on. With soaring temperatures of 40C in the summer and freezing -25C in winter, a so called “modern” concrete houses are not the place to be. While a cave house with it’s natural insulation will keep you very comfortable all year round.
In all these years of living in Cappadocia I walked for miles with my dogs, friends, guests and discovered the most beautiful places! The contact with the local people was wonderful, they were all very welcoming but also curious about this woman with her dogs living by herself in a cave house. They couldn’t really understand why I was always walking even in winter time….they warned me of the cold and the wolves etc….
The same people invited us for tea, cooked traditional meals for my guests, took them out on horse cart rides or on a full moon tour in the valleys. Life was great, life was adventurous!
With time Cappadocia has been changing, it’s got more well-known and cave houses are quite popular these days. Many old houses are nicely restored and they are attracting people from all over the world. It’s a much more easy life now and the village even has a ATM these days….
Cappadocia held me captivated for a long long time. All the 9 years I have been living there I didn’t think about moving on and for me that is a very long time! But last year I couldn’t ignore the “semi-nomadic” part in me anymore and although I found it hard, I decided that the time was there to say goodbye. My beautiful cave house is now looking for someone who like to keep the house alive! To take a look at my charming cave house for sale and to give you more of an insight into cave living Turkey click HERE.
Evelien Bogaart 2014