The local weekly market was on Wednesday so we went to have a look and buy what we needed for lunch. It was very cold that day and I pitied the women (for most of the stallholders were women) who sat huddled against the cold.
<a title=”IMG_7668-Guzelyurt-market by abelpc_5355, on Flickr” href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/cabelcat/11277251956/”>
We found our way down into the Manastır vadısı (monastery valley). The actual monastery was an old Greek church which had been converted into a mosque.
These were the last two churches, built into the rock face, in the valley but we didn’t go into them.
There was a small underground city (yer altı) built into the cliff behind the church that we explored too although we didn’t venture into the lower levels as the path was really steep and the passageway very low. Underground city is something of a misnomer for in this case the city was built into the cliff rather than actually being underground although it did have a couple of underground levels. This was only a small such city but there are many others in this area of Turkey. Some of the more famous, like Derinkuyu and Kaymakli, are several (maybe 8) levels deep and have sophisticated ventilation systems as well as areas for keeping horses and other livestock. They were constructed hundreds of years ago and served as hiding places for many of the Christians in times of persecution.
We visited the yuksek kilisi (lit. the high up church), built right on the top of a rocky outcrop with views over the surrounding countryside.
We tried to find Narlı golu (pomegranate lake) but Sally Sat Nav, as we’d nicknamed our satellite navigation system, led us completely astray and took us to Nar köyu (Nar village) instead.
This turned out to be a village that modern life had passed by – full of tumbledown houses and some that were built right into the rock. Eventually we found the lake which turned out to be a volcanic crater lake and had lunch there with only a a couple of boys looking after a herd of goats for company.
Much to our surprise a new wellness hotel has been established close by, doubtless to take advantage of the volcanic properties (and possibly thermal springs) from this crater.
From there we drove to Ihlara, famous for its landscape and deep valley with rock churches.
We didn’t go for a walk in the gorge, contenting ourselves with the views from the top. DH and I had done the walk 30 years ago when we were younger and fitter!
Then on to Yaprakhisar – apparently part of Star Wars was filmed here and then through the village of Selime and back to Güzelyurt.