PRIVATE
Hot-air Balloon Tour
Hot-air Balloon Tour

Hot-air Balloon Tour

 

Hot_air Balloon Tour

Even the most stunning Instagrams fail to capture the true beauty of Cappadocia. It is a landscape like no other in the world. Because of its surreal, otherworldly features, it is one of the most popular destinations in the world for hot air ballooning.  For those with an eye for natural beauty, a balloon tour is an essential part of any visit. From the moment of takeoff, around sunrise, the spectacular landscape of Cappadocia enchants the passenger. You will feel as if you are in a dream, drifting gently past fairy chimneys, through valleys scattered with pigeon houses and over orchards and vineyards. The diverse colors and vistas of the flight will make for beautiful photographs and unforgettable memories.We love living in Cappadocia and serving you with the true Cappadocian Hot-air Balloon tour. As long as the weather conditions permit, our tours take place seven days a week and 365 days of the year.

 

IncludesArrival / Departure Transfer
All Parking Fees
% 100 Satisfaction
Balloon Tour Fees
Breakfast
ExcludesTip
Personal Expenses
PaxMin. 1 pax
Duration1 hour
(p.p.) € 85

 

* All our drivers are licensed specially for private tour vehicle driving. With their professionally on driving tour vehicles and knowledge about the environment, even when you are passing from an historical area with the vehicle, you will have the chance to see the details of the area. In our vehicles we are offering cold water, cold soft drinks, beverage, cold towel service as well as free internet (wi-fi) connection.

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INFORMATION
Zelve Open Air Museum
Zelve Open Air Museum

Zelve Open Air Museum

The Zelve Open-Air Museum, which once housed one of the largest communities in the region is an amazing cave town, honeycombed with dwellings, religious and secular chambers. Zelve is situated about 10 km out from Goreme on the Avanos road. Here, the Christians and Muslims lived together in perfect harmony, until 1924. Then Christians had to leave the Valley because of the exchange of minorities between Greece and Turkey, and the Muslims were forced to evacuate the Valley in the 50’s when life became dangerous due to risk of erosion. They left the site to set up a modern village, a little further on, to which they gave the name Yeni Zelve (New Zelve).
Now old Zelve is a ghost town and the erosion still continues. The three valleys in the Zelve open air museum offer a heaven for the rock climbers. It takes at least two hours for a good trekker to walk through these valleys, which also house the oldest examples of Cappadocian architecture and religious paintings.

Start your excursion by visiting the first valley on the right taking the stamps in the second valley, then turning right. While walking along the path, you will see on the right some paintings on the surface of the rock. These frescoes are what remain from the now totally collapsed Geyikli Kilise (the Church with the Deer) and afford examples of the oldest paintings displaying the principal religious symbols of Christianity, like the Cross, the deer and the fish. On entering the first valley you will see a rock-cut mosque on the left, with a lovely minaret. You will then notice a monastery complex on the right resembling an upside down bowl cut of the rock. Immediately opposite, there is a rock-cut complex accessible by a metal ladder and connected to the second valley by a long, cave tunnel.
On leaving the first valley you can enter the second valley by following the path in front of the Mosque. Before leaving this open-air museum, be sure to pay special attention to the rocks at the entrance of the third valley. Here you will find a rock-cut mill with a grindstone which remained in use until the 50’s. Recently, its entrance has collapsed.

Then follow the path to the Uzumlu Kilise (The Church with Grapes) named after the bunches of grapes, a symbol representing Christ himself, in a country famous for its Dionysiac rituals. Just next to Uzumlu Kilise, is the Balikli Kilise (The Church with Fishes). On the apse above you will be able to discern paintings of fish in a very faded red.

 

INFORMATION
Uçhisar and Uçhisar Castle
Uçhisar and Uçhisar Castle

Uçhisar and Uçhisar Castle

Uchisar is situated at the highest point in Cappadocia, on the Nevsehir-Goreme road, just 5 km from Goreme. The top of the Uchisar Castle, provides a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area with Mount Erciyes in the distance.

Many rooms hollowed out into the rock are connected to each other with stairs, tunnels and passages. At the entrances of the rooms, there are millstone doors, just like the ones in the underground settlements, used to control access to these places. Due to the erosion in places of this multi-leveled castle, it is unfortunately not possible to reach all the rooms. Most of the rooms, located on the north side of the castle are in use as pigeon houses (dovecuts) today. Farmers used these cave pigeon houses to collect the droppings of pigeons which is an excellent natural fertilizer for the orchards and vineyards.

There are also many other pigeon houses in Pigeon Valley (Guvercinlik Vadisi in Turkish) which connects Uchisar to Goreme. Most of these cave dwellings have been painted white to attract the birds and their valuable droppings.

The fairy chimneys to the west, east and north of Uchisar were hollowed out and used as graves during the Roman period. Inside these rock cut tombs, the entrances which generally face west, are klines or stone slabs on which the bodies were laid.
Many rock cut churches have been discovered not only on the outskirts of the castle but also inside it. The reason for this may be that Goreme, having numerous churches and monasteries, is very close to Uchisar.

The simple Byzantine graves on top of the castle are not very interesting as they have been eroded and ransacked. It is said that in towns with citadels, e.g. Uchisar, Ortahisar and Urgup (Bashisar), long defense tunnels reached far into the surrounding areas. However, since the tunnels have collapsed in places, this theory cannot be confirmed, but is a popular myth as to the great distances they cover.

There are minibuses between Goreme and Uchisar which depart at every half an hour on weekdays and every hour on weekend. You can also walk through the Pigeon Valley which offers a fascinating landscape. A hike from Goreme to Uchisar through Pigeon Valley takes about two hours.

 

INFORMATION
Paşabağ
Paşabağ

Paşabağ

Pasabag in Cappadocia is located on the road to Zelve, coming from Goreme or Avanos. Highly remarkable earth pillars can be seen here, in the middle of a vineyard, hence the name of the place which means: the Pacha’s vineyard. Pacha means “General”, the military rank, in Turkish and it is a very common nick name. This site is also called Monks Valley. The name was derived from some cones carved in tuff stones which stand apart. Currently, there is a vineyard and a number of tuff cones standing right next to the road.

Some of these cones split into smaller cones in their upper sections, in which stylites and hermits once hid. The hermitage of Simeon monks was also here. A chapel dedicated to St. Simeon (Simon), and a hermit’s shelter is built into one of the fairy chimneys with three heads. The entrance of the cell is decorated with antithetical crosses. Saint Simeon was living in seclusion near Aleppo in the 5th century, when rumors that he made miracles started to spread. Disturbed by all the attention, he began to live at the top of a 2m high column, and later moved to one 15m in height. From there he only descended occasionally to get food and drink brought by his disciples. The hermits of Cappadocia distanced themselves from the world by cutting into fairy chimneys rather than living on top of columns . They hollowed out the chimneys from bottom to top creating rooms at 10-15m high.

Pasabag valley contains some of the most striking fairy chimneys in Cappadocia with twin and even triple rock caps. This style is unique even for Cappadocia and these fairy chimneys are named mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys

 

INFORMATION
Ortahisar and Ortahisar Castle
Ortahisar and Ortahisar Castle

Ortahisar and Ortahisar Castle

Ortahisar means “middle castle,” and as its name implies, it is central among the Cappadocian towns of Goreme, Urgup, Uchisar and Nevsehir, and only a few kilometers from the Goreme Open Air Museum. When entering the town, you will notice doors in the rock surfaces on both sides. These doors are the best example of the cool-air storages in Cappadocia. In these natural air-conditioned rooms, lemons and oranges from the Mediterranean region, apples from Nigde, local potatoes, quinces and onions are stored. Green lemons slowly turn yellow in these store-rooms.

Ortahisar is famous for its friendly inhabitants, picturesque stone houses, narrow streets and lovely churches as well as the castle-like rock formation after which the town is named. This 90m high natural fortress, a prominent landmark in the region – honeycombed with caves and tunnels, camouflaged by nature without the slightest indication of human presence inside – has partly crumbled away revealing some of its interior. Today it has been restored and the peak is accessible by a staircase. The Ortahisar Castle offers a magnificent panorama over the fairy chimneys of Hallacdere and the snowy peak of Mt. Erciyes.
If you follow the street close to the main fortress, you can visit Ali Reis Church with Christ on the main dome. If you keep on the main street down south you can see the Balkan Deresi up to the Balkan Churches. Some churches in the vicinity of Ortahisar have been opened recently. Keep right for 2 km when leaving Urgup towards Mustafapasa (Sinasos), after 1 km you will see the yellow signs for the Sarica Church and the Kepez Church. Another kilometer will take you to Pancarlik Church in Pancarlik Valley, which has very fine frescoes on its ceiling.

The Hallacdere monastic complex (also known as Hospital Monastery) 1 km northeast of Ortahisar is one of the best examples of the courtyard monasteries. It has vestibule, a kitchen, a large tomb chamber, five rooms of different sizes and a church with an inscribed-cross plan with four columns. The animal-head decoration on column capitals and the sculpture of a human figure on the wall are unique in Cappadocia. The ground level inside the complex is more than one meter below that of the courtyard level because of the silting.

 

INFORMATION
Kaymaklı Underground City
Kaymaklı Underground City

Kaymaklı Underground City

These troglodyte cave-cities were excavated as early as Hittite times, and expanded over the centuries as various marauding armies traversed Central Anatolia in search of captives and plunder. There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia and the widest one is Kaymakli underground city, while the deepest is the Derinkuyu Underground City.

Kaymakli underground city is built under the hill known as the Citadel of Kaymakli and was opened to visitors in 1964. The people of Kaymakli (Enegup in Greek) village have constructed their houses around nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city. The inhabitants of the region still use the most convenient places in the tunnels as cellars, storage areas and stables, which they access through their courtyards. The Kaymakli Underground City has low, narrow and sloping passages. While the underground city consists of 8 floors below ground, only 4 of them are open to the public today, in which the spaces are organized around ventilation shafts.
The first floor of the underground city is the stable. The small size of this area suggests that there could be other stables in sections that have not yet been opened. The passage to the left of the stable contains a millstone door and leads into the church. To the right of the corridor are rooms hollowed out as living areas.

The church on the 2nd floor has a single nave and two apses. In front of the apses is an altar, and on the sides are seating platforms. There are also some living areas on this floor.

The most important areas of the underground city are on the 3rd floor. Besides numerous storage places, wineries and kitchen, the block of andesite with relief-texture found on this floor is very interesting. Recent research has proved that this stone was used as a melting pot for copper. The stone was not brought here from outside but was part of the andesite layer unearthened while hollowing. To be able to use it as a melting pot, 57 holes were carved on the surface of the stone. The copper ore, about 10 cm in length, would be put into one of those holes and would be hammered using a hard piece of rock. This technique has been known since the Prehistoric Periods.
The copper brought to the Kaymakli Underground City was probably dug from a quarry between Aksaray and Nevsehir. (The same quarry was also used by the people of Asilikhoyuk, the oldest known settlement in Cappadocia Region.)

The fact that there are a lot of storage rooms and places to put earthenware jars in the wineries on the 4th floor indicates that the people living in this underground city were economically stable. The ventilation shaft can also be seen from the 4th floor. It is a vertical well and passes all floors down like on the elevator in an apartment. The depth of the ventilation shaft is about 80 meters in total.

Even though the whole city has not been completely opened, and since only 4 floors have been uncovered, it is certain that Kaymakli is one of the largest underground settlements in the region. It is accepted as the widest underground city of Cappadocia, among the explored ones. The number of the storage rooms in such a small area supports the idea that a great number of people resided here. Archeologists think that this could have been up to 3500 people.

 

INFORMATION
Ihlara Valley
Ihlara Valley

Ihlara Valley

Ihlara Valley (often misspelled as Ilhara Valley), near Mount Hasan and Mount Melendiz (two of the three volcanoes of Cappadocia) is a canyon with a depth of approximately 100m and was formed by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago. It begins at Ihlara village and ends with Selime Monastery at Selime village after making 26 bends along 14 kilometers.

It is believed that the valley housed more than four thousand dwellings and a hundred cave churches decorated with frescoes. Around eighty thousand people once lived in Ihlara Valley.

There are 4 entrances to Ihlara valley. The first one is at the start of the valley in Ihlara Village. The second one opens to the 4th kilometer of the valley and it is the most popular entrance, and has more than 300 steps down to the valley. The third entrance is Belisirma village which allows you to enter the valley by driving. It is located in the middle (7th km) of the valley. If you will visit the valley by your car, this is the best spot to park your car. Belisirma has also some restaurants by Melendiz River to have lunch. Most of the guided tours end their walking here after lunch. The last entrance is the end of the valley at the Selime Monastery. Some of the trekking tours which walk the whole valley start from this end. The best part of the valley is the first 7km part from Ihlara Village until Belisirma Village where you can see most of the churches and natural beauty.
It is very pleasant to walk through the Ihlara valley by the vineyards, poplars and pistachio trees to the soothing sound of the rushing water (Melendiz River), and surrounded by a rich wildlife of lizards, frogs, butterflies, birds and sometimes eagles and other mammals like lambs and sheep.

There many cave churches in Ihlara Valley. Most of them display scenes dissimilar to the scenes depicted in other Cappadocian churches. In fact, they are reminiscent of the early churches of Syria and the Coptic churches of Egypt. The texts in Ihlara churches are unusually long.

Some of the most important churches in the Ihlara Valley

Kokar Kilise (The Smelly Church)
The Kokar Kilise (The Smelly Church) is located in the first quarter of the valley between Ihlara Village and main entrance. It can be entered through a ruined apse. The original entrance has been blocked by a landslide. There are many frescoes covering the walls of Kokar Kilise. On the left side, you can see the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Proof of the Virgin, the Nativity and the Adoration of the Magi scenes. On the right, you will see the Last Supper, the Betrayal, Jesus being Led Away, Jesus before Annas and Caiaphos, the Crucifixion and the Entombment. On the door facing the entrance there is a Deesis above, with scenes of the Flight to Egypt and The Last Supper below was badly damaged when openings were made at a much later date for windows and a door leading into the burial chamber. On the ceiling you can see the Ascension and the Pentecost together with a large Greek cross with the hand of God giving benediction in the center. On each side of the lower parts of the vaulting there are frescoes depicting the apostles standing and seated.

Purenli Seki Kilisesi (Church with the Terrace)
Purenli Seki Kilisesi is also located in the first quarter of the valley, around 100m from Kokar Kilise. You have to climb about 25m above the level of the river. It is composed of an entrance, a burial chamber and a double naos, separated by pillared arcades, each having an apse. The church is covered by frescoes classified as “archaic” but characterized by exquisite details, a strong sense of design and amazing freedom of expression.

Purenli Seki Kilisesi is also located in the first quarter of the valley, around 100m from Kokar Kilise. You have to climb about 25m above the level of the river. It is composed of an entrance, a burial chamber and a double naos, separated by pillared arcades, each having an apse. The church is covered by frescoes classified as “archaic” but characterized by exquisite details, a strong sense of design and amazing freedom of expression.

Some of the other important churches of Ihlara Valley are:

  • Egritas Kilise (Church with Crooked Stone)
  • Sumbullu Kilise (Hyacinth Church)
  • Yilanli Kilise (Church with Snake)
  • Karagedik Kilise (Church with Black Collar)
  • Kirk Damalti Kilisesi (Church of St. George)
  • Bahattin Kilise (Bahattin’s Granary Church)
  • Direkli Kilise (Pillard Church)
  • Ala Kilise (Mottled Church)

 

INFORMATION
Hacı Bektaş
Hacı Bektaş

Hacı Bektaş

Hacibektas, is 40 minutes drive from Goreme, located in northern Cappadocia. It is the center of Bektasi sect of Islam founded by the great philosopher Haci Bektas-i Veli in 13th century. You can visit the dervis dergah (lodge) which is a museum today, cilehane (suffering house), bestaslar (five stones) and a cemevi (an alevi temple) in Hacibektas. If your visit is timed for August, you will be able to watch the international commemoration ceremonies, and get an idea of the living traditions of the order’s followers. Hacibektas is the sacred center of Alevi Islam, and every year on 16, 17 and 18 August, tens of thousands of people flock here, not just from Turkey, but from Bulgaria, Albania and other Balkan countries.

HACI BEKTAS-I VELI
” How glad for those who shed light into the darkness of thought. “

These words, written by Haci Bektas-i Veli, the famous Turkish-Islamic mystic, philosopher, and dervish from Khorasan, echo delicately in our ears as we enter the dervishes’ convent. The lines, fraught with meaning, impart peace and love to our souls and transport us to the worlds completely different from our own. The stamp of Haci Bektas-i Veli’s imprint upon Turkish, Islamic, and world history is deep and unmatched. Let us, therefore, attempt to become acquainted with and develop a sense for his world, filled as it is with love for humanity and for the universe, never forgetting that this is the path of love, the path of peace, the path of knowledge, the path of belief.

In Khorasan’s city of Nishabur, most likely in the years between 1243 and 1248, a son was born to Seyyid Ibrahim Sani and his wife Hatern Hatun, the daughter of Sheik Ahmet. His mother’s compassion and his father’s love for equality and humanity were the foundations upon which his upbringing was based and such sentiments informed and enriched his boyhood years. His studies under the tutelage of Hoca Ahmet Yesevi of Turkestan equipped him with a knowledge of positive scielices and in the school of his illustrious philosopher-mentor, he studied mathematics and physics along with literature and philosophy. Under Sheik Lokman Perende, one of Ahmet Yesevi’s successors, he studied mysticism. From the works of the poet Omar Khayyam, Feridettin Attar, and Sheik Numan he took his inspiration. Khorasan possessed a vast cultural heritage that had nourished many a scholar and philosopher. Haci Bektas-i Veli completed his studies in Khorasan, acquiring from them a broad and genial view of the world. His education encouraged this young Islamic mystic to become better acquainted with humanity, and Haci Bektas-i Veli began to seek the fire of infinite love within himself. Becoming a well-known Sufi, he set out from Khorasan to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Leaving Mecca, he traveled to Syria and then continued his journeys in Persia, Iraq, and Arabia. During these years, Anatolia was in a state of severe political and economic disarray. Haci Bektas-i Veli was affected by this situation and came to Anatolia with the idea of restoring fragmented Turkish unity, and took part in the effort to make the peninsula a Turkish and Muslim homeland.

The principles and elements of Haci Bektas-i Veli’s philosophy and life became the foundation on which the Bektashi dervish order developed. Bektashism was based on four tenets or “doors”:

the Door of the Shariah (Religious Law),
the Door of Mysticism,
the Door of Truth,
and the Door of Spiritual Knowledge.

In their Ceremony of Confession, Bektashis vowed to be responsible “for their hands” (the things they do), “for their loins” (their desires), and “for their tongues” (what they say). This vow was a powerful and meaningful expression of the belief that one’s should be channeled towards love and respect. Love of God and love of man lie at the foundation of Haci Bektas-i Veli’s philosophy. In this philosophy, the mystic examined the universe that the Creator had created. Rules that nature had determined millions of years ago were just as applicable as ever in an infinity in which courtesy and savagery embraced. Since it came into being, humanity has been the greatest observer of a perfect order. In this world, there is a securely anchored chain of rule and order. Haci Bektas-i Veli was deeply influenced by the perfection, harmony, and order that he observed in the universe.

Some of the most known aphorisms of Haci Bektas-i Veli are:

Seek and find. Do not hurt even if you are hurt yourself.
Educate your women. Control your deeds, tongue, and desires.
Whatever you seek, look for it in yourself. The adept are both pure and purifying.
The first step of a talent is modesty. A person’s perfection lies in the beauty of what he says.
Condemn no nation or person. Do not impose on someone that which is too burdensome for him to bear.
The end of the road that does not pass through knowledge is darkness. How glad for those who shed light into the darkness of thought.
Prophets and saints are God’s gift to humanity.

 

INFORMATION
Gülşehir
Gülşehir

Gülşehir

Gulsehir is situated on the southern bank of the Red River (Kizilirmak) and in ancient times it was called “Zoropassos”. Later, during the Roman Empire the town was named as Arapsun. Modern Turkey names the city as Gulsehir which means Rose City. The ottoman Grand Vezier Karavezir Mehmet Seyyid Pasha did the same thing in Gulsehir as Damat Ibrahim Pasha did in Nevsehir and built a kulliye in the town which had only 30 houses. This complex consisted of a mosque, a madrassa and a fountain.

Aciksaray (Open Palace):
15 km outside Nevsehir, on the Nevsehir-Gulsehir road (route 765), you will come across a deserted cave-village with rock-cut dwellings and chapels, to which the local inhabitants have quite recently given the name Aciksaray (Open Palace). The village is remarkable for its facades and the odd-looking formations, some resembling huge mushrooms, trees, even human faces.
This small settlement can be dated back to the 10th or 11th centuries. It covers an area of one square kilometer and contains eight complexes gathered around three-sided courtyards, each with a decorated main facade.

The first complex on the right when you enter Aciksaray from the Nevsehir-Gulsehir road has one of the best elaborate facade in Cappadocia. The complex has two irregular rooms and one rectangular, in which a large equal-armed cross is carved on the interior wall above the entrance. Their heads are lost, because a window-like opening has been cut on the wall. Only in Aciksaray, you will see the motif of the bull, regarded as sacred by the Neolithic communities in Anatolia as well as the Hittites.

St. Jean Church (Karsi Kilise):
The two floor church of St. Jean, found upon entering Gulsehir, houses a church, wine cellar, graves, water channels and living quarters on the lower floor, and a church decorated with Biblical scenes on the upper floor. According to the inscription on the apse, the church is dated to 1212.
The lower floor church is built to the shape of a cross, has one apse and arms of the cross are barrel-vaulted. The central dome is collapsed. Stylized animals, geometrical and crucifix designs are used to decorate the church in red ochre, which was applied directly onto the rock. The upper church has one apse, and is barrel-vaulted. Apart from those on the apse, the well-preserved frescoes were covered in a layer of black soot. The church’s present state is a result of the restoration and conservation done by Ridvan Isler in 1995.

Scenes from the life of Jesus and the Bible are in the form of friezes within the borders. Yellow and brown have been used on a black background. On the niche vault and on the sides, floral and geometrical patterns were used. On the west and south walls the Last Judgment can be found, a scene rarely depicted in Cappadocian churches.

Scenes of the St. Jean Church: Deesis on the apse, on its front the Annunciation, below that are bird designs, on the barrel vault portraits of saints in medallions, on the south wing of the vault the Last Supper, Betrayal by Judas, Baptism, below Koimesis (Falling Asleep of Mother Mary), on the north wings of the vault Descent from the Cross, Women at the Tomb, Anastasis, on the West and South walls the Last Judgment.