Cappadocia Report Preservation and Access to Cultural and Historical Heritage

In the middle of IP LibCMASS 2013 all participants went on a two days study trip to Cappadocia, as a part of the project’s topic of Preservation and Access to Cultural and Historical Heritage. Moderatiors of the educational program were Professor. Dr. Serap Kurbanoğlu, Associated. Professor. PhD Radovan Vrana; PhD. Ivana Hebrang Grgić and Associated. Professor. PhD Tania Todorova.

Cappadocia is the historical region situated in Central Anatolia or Asia Minor, in the centre of nowdays Turkey. The region is famous because of fantastical natural wonders called fairy chimneys which are both unique historical and cultural heritage. This region also has a great historical importance in Christian heritage.

On this trip there was a lot of places that we saw and experienced, such as Salt Lake, Hostel on a Silk Road, Greek House, Open museums and churches in the valley of fairy chimneys, Ihlara Valley stroll and underground city.

On our way to Cappadoccia we stopped at Tuz Golu, salt lake, which is the second largest lake in Turkey. For most of us, it was the first time to visit such a unique place. We really enjoyed time spent there, we walked on salt bare foot and jumped in the air to experience the “wind in our hair”. We took a lot of photos to capture these unique moments and also took a little bit of salt to remind us of that beauty when we return home.

Then, the bus stopped in front of an old monument : the Agzikara Han, that is to say the caravanserail. This word means that the hostel welcomes vendors.
The group discovered the history thanks to the guide. The monument was built during the Seldjoukides Empire during the 13rd century. This kind of hostel could be found nearly all along the road, at each 30 km because it was the distance that a caravan could travel in one day.
The hostel is located in the very important utilized way : the « silk road ». But it was unfortunatly covered by the tarmac. So we could not really see it.
The « silk road » was a link between Asia and Europe. This itinerary was used by mercantiles. This pathway was long and difficult so they used to sleep in this hostel. They sold their products (silk,tissue paper, cloth,…) during the trip and the hostel’s cour was a bazar.
The monument has severals rooms, a tower for pray, the cour and a barn. It is possible to pray in the central tower. The barn is very big because every vendor has an animal, like horse, donkey or mule.
Every Erasmus student was interested by the monument’s history and enjoyed to be here.

Fairy chimneys were the important parts of the Cappadocia Cultural tour. According to our tour guide’s explanations, the formations of fairy chimneys were occurred after the volcanic eruption of the mountains Hasan and Erciyes with the help of erosion of the masses of the tuffs. These chimneys were used as home, church and living areas in the past by some civilizations. They are really suitable to live by the reason of existence of humidity. Ürgüp, Göreme and Zelve valleys include many types of fairy chimneys and the examples of fairy chimney caves.

At the end of the saturday, we went to a wineshop. The wine production is local. So we discovered a turkish specialty by making a wine tasting. After, Erasmus students and professors went with the car at the summit of Cappadoce. The aim was to have a large view for enjoying the sunset.We seated on the rock and in front of us there was the sun. We drunk wine, we ate dried fruit, peanut, cashew nut and almond. We watched carefully the sunset. It is situated in “Rose Valley”, which is a beautiful sunset point because of its red color rocks.
It was beautiful. It changed of color several times. The sun got down quickly and it disappeared behind the Cappadoce rocks. We were amazed.

In the end of a very long and interesting first day of the Cappadocia Tour we arrived to our accommodation, the Dinler Hotel ( Everybody was a little bit tired, so all of us really needed to rest – except for the people who went to the Turkish Night later. The Hotel was far too excellent. The rooms, the bathrooms, the beds, the hall, the restaurant, and every part of the hotel were beautiful and comfortable.7

If there is an event that can summon the amazingly beautiful richness of the Turkish culture, that is Turkish night – expression of the fairytale emotion to be in Cappadocia. It represents an utmost lively picture of a large number of traditional dances as well as the plentiful subtle nuances in the Turkish culture. Not only could the public see the spectacular variety of musical and dance compositions in different regions of Turkey, but the spectators could also take part in the amazing show in an unforgettable way – a huge hand-in-hand dance around a fire, so high as if reaching the dark night sky, is followed by a delightful reproduction of a wedding ceremony. People get the chance to mix together with the passionate dancers and enjoy the colorful palette of their traditional garbs. The excitement of the night explodes in an incandescent belly-dance the glow of which is the final spark of the tremendous Turkish night – a lifelong memory that everyone should have.

After everybody took a long shower and exchanged clothes we went to one of the most fantastic dinner what we have ever seen and ate. We could choose from a hundred kind of delicious foods: meals, pastas, vegetables and fruits and very tasty desserts. Some of them were especially Turkish traditional foods. We spent the dinner in very good mood and friendly environment. The service was impeccable.
In our rooms we slept very well and quietly.
Sunday morning we met in the restaurant about thirty past seven for a great breakfast what we spent in the same mood like the last night the dinner.About ten o’clock we left our accommodation.

The National Parc of Gorğeme is situated ın the province of Nevşehir, in Cappadoce, Turkia. Here, we visited the Göreme Milli Parklar,in english the free-range museum, which gathers several chruchs from the bizantin time, especially from the Ve century to the XIIe century.
We had the opportunity to see severals churches built in a rock formed by the lava of Erciyes dağ, Hasan dağ et Göllü dağ volcanos. The Azize Barbara Kilisesi, the Saintly Barbe Chruch, takes its name from the story of the Egyptian martyr Barbe, who was jailed by her father in order to not practice the Christıan religion. The church was built during the XIst century and holds a little dome where Jesus is represented on a throne. The paintings are made with geomertic shapes and with an ochre color. Some ochre lines have been drawn in order to give the illusion of cut stones on the walls.
The Elmalı Kilise, the Apple Church, was built in 1050 and incured a restoration in 1991. The restoration revealed old paintings under some frescos of the XIId century. The plan of the church represents a greec cross with four columns and gathers a main cupola and eight smaller cupolas. It is the most luminous church in the National Parc of Gorğeme, thanks to the brights colors of its frescos, such as ochre and yellow.
The Yilanlı Kilise, the Snake Church, was built in the 1070’s. It holds only one rectangular nave. We can see on the frescos the scene of Saintly George and Saintly Theodore fiting with the snake and also the representation of an old half man and half woman: Saintly Onuphrius.
The footprints in the Çarıklı Kilise, the Sandals Church, gave to the church its name. The tradition assigns these footprints to the Christ who is represented on the main cupola. We get into this XIst century church by iron stairs and we can admire severals frescos about the life of the Christ.
This visit enlarged our culture. Indeed, it let us know more about the bizantin art in churchs and thanks to their old age and their differences, we noticed the changes that frescos but also architecture are exposed to.

We visited the Derinkuyu underground city, which is an ancient multi-level underground city of the Median Empire in the Derinkuyu district in Nevşehir province, Turkey. The city is extending to a depth of approximately 60 meters. We learnt that the city could accommodate up to 20,000 people and had all the usual amenities found in other underground complexes across Cappadocia. It is also the deepest underground city of Turkey. With the help of the large 55 m ventilation shaft we could get some fresh air in the strong fustiness. The shaft also provided water to both the villagers above and, if the outside world was not accessible, to those in hiding.
First built in the soft volcanic rock of the Cappadocia region, possibly by the Phrygians in the 8th–7th centuries B-C according to the Turkish Department of Culture, the underground city at Derinkuyu may have been enlarged in the Byzantine era. It is speculated that the number of underground settlements, generally used for taking refuge and for religious purposes, increased during this era.
We were all fully amazed by the special atmosphere of the tunnels, fortunately, our guide talked about the underground city with very detailed informations.

At the end of our Capadoccia trip we went to the fantastic Ihlara Valley. It is a 16 km long gorg cut in the volcanic rock and we took a 3.5 km long walk along the river. On the half of the way, we made a break to drink tea on the special and traditional place on the river. So, while drinking tea, river was flowing under us and we felt like the real sultans. Green colours, fresh air is something that made us relaxed and beautiful views of nature will stay in our memory forever.

In information management it is important to access the real culture and material or un-material history aspects and we did exactly that. On our way from Ankara and threw Cappadocia we saw many beautiful places, enoyed many traditional Turkish meals, drink Cappadocian wine, saw breathtaking sunset, talked to the local people, heared the local music, saw traditional coreographies and also danced together with the dancers.
The experience is what makes one a complete expert, and this experience will surly help us in becoming one.

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