Pictures, photos & images of Cappadocia ( Capadocia, Kapadokya, ) hot air balloons, Anatolia, Turkey. Cruising slowly over Cappadocia amongst its spectacular rock formations is one of the top ten things to do in Turkey. The whole of Capadocia has been covered with hundreds of meters of volcanic ash that has compressed into Tufa rock. Water has eroded into the landscape leaving valleys with steep cliffs and towers of rock known as fairy chimneys. Tufa is soft and since prehistoric times people have made cave dwellings which are linked from small doorways via internal stairs that run up inside the fairy chimneys or cliff faces. This created easy to defend rock castles that could house towns of several thousand people like that at Uchisar, where the rock houses run the full height of a towering rock face.
As the sun comes up over Goreme every morning the sky fills with huge hot air balloons. They glide gracefully into the sky above the fairy chimneys and then slowly descend into the valleys and float amongst them. The skill of the hot air balloon pilots is breathtaking as they manoeuvre between the fairy chimneys giving their passengers close up views of the strange rock formations and the rock houses they contain.
Cappadocia is on a high plateau in the centre of Anatolia and its remote position and hidden rock towns made it a perfect location for early Christians who had to hide from the persecuting Romans. Many rock churches are spread across Capadocia with religious frescos painted on their walls. Some valleys like Zelve have the remains of huge rock monasteries. At Goreme is a UNESCO World Heritage site with rock churches with spectacular frescoes.
Capadocia is a truly unique part of the world. Its rock formations and rock houses create an incredible place to explore which is why it is high on travellers to Turkey’s list.