We planned for a three night stay at Vista Cave Hotel sited in Goreme in Cappadocia. We had chosen to stay in the town of Goreme as it was in the middle of various Cappadocia sights we intended to visit. Some south of Goreme and others in the north.
Three Cappadocia Mornings
Three nights in Cappadocia, in a hotel which had a great view of the balloons would mean we had three mornings to view the balloon rising. We did not planned to take a balloon ride as the ride was too costly so our next best option was to make sure our hotel offered a great view of the balloons!
The first morning was a disappointment. The “balloon rising” was cancelled due to “bad weather”. From the viewing deck of our hotel we saw that the weather looked fine, so whatever the “no rising” criteria set by the authority we had no idea.
The second morning in Cappadocia was much better. At 5am when we looked out of our room windows we could already see balloons lighted up in the far distance. We were so excited as we knew the “balloon rising” would be happening soon. We quickly changed up and went up to the roof deck of the hotel.
Soon more and more balloons were rising up in the air. There were hundreds of them, in different colors and shades. It was so exciting and wonderful to see them floating above the hills, the mountains over the unique landscape of Cappadocia.
The balloons were in all directions. Some were going into the outer area of the town whereas some floated into town, coming down to as close as the roof decks of the hotels. Wow it was amazing to see the balloons so up close.
After seeing the magnificient balloons we just could not hold back, we decided to go for a balloon ride the next morning and got the host of our hotel to book our ride. The ride cost Euro250 per person! Our host previously worked in a Balloon Company so he was able to get tickets for us on the last minute notice!
The next morning we were picked up at our hotel doorstep at 4am. We together with 12 others were drove to the balloon launching site. There we saw a group of staff “blowing up” the ballons.
At about 5.10am we were finally “going up” and so were many other balloons nearby. It was amazing to see so many “gigantic” balloons so close. It was a totally different experience compared to seeing the balloons from the roof deck of our hotel. Both experiences were great but different.
From the basket of the balloon, viewing down, the landscape of Cappadocia was awesome. Up in the sky, we could see the hills and valleys interconnected looking like a long “dragon backbone”. The view was fantastic!
Zelve Open Air Museum
Zelve open air museum was about 8km north from Goreme town. The journey took only 15 minutes. The entrance fee was 150tl person.
Zelve was an open valley with a large cave settlement. The small area had fifteen Byzantine-era cave churches and remained a Turkish village until 1960. Today, Zelve was an open-air museum open to the public.
There were nice walking paths leading us to a Y-shaped valleys. The terrain was stunning, we explored both the ravines starting with the left arm of the “Y” before going to the right arm.
We explored the cave rooms and the many churches. After the Byzantine era, Zelve became a Turkish village in the Ottoman empire. The community inherited and expanded the carved spaces. In 1951-2, the families of Zelve resettled in Aktepe, a newly built village 1 kilometer to the northeast. The falling rock and collapsing rooms became too dangerous for human living.
Pasabag, Love valley & rose valley
One km from Zelve Open Air Museum was another museum, Pasabag Open Air Museum. The same ticket to Zelve Open Air Museum could also be used for Pasabag Open Air Museum. Pasabag was a small monastic area where monks’ cell and cave churches were sited. This place was also called the Valley of the Priest.
The mushroom like geographical wonders were named fairy chimneys and legend said that they were made by fairies who build their home under the rocks.
On the way back to Goreme from Pasabag open air museum we stopped at a location called Love Valley. There was no entrance fee! We saw the valley from up “top”. Unlike the mushroom structures in Pasabag these structures had no hole carved into them, which basically meant that they were not ancient living quarters. We guessed it was name Love Valley because the structures looked like some “male organs”.
Many visitors would hike up/to the Rose Valley, but we were contented to view it from our hotel which faced the Rose Valley directly. It was named Rose Valley because of its colors during sunrise and sunset. It was golden, it was reddish/rosy as the sun set in the evening.
Gerome Open air Museum
Gerome Open Air Museum was nearer to Gerome, it was more famous than Zelve Open Air Museum, more popular so the entrance tickets were more EXPENSIVE. It costed 300tl per person.
In 1985, the Göreme Open Air Museum was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site to conserve and properly display Cappadocia’s best cave churches.
Göreme Valley contained at least 60 churches, 45 refractories, hundreds of burials graves, and countless agricultural rooms. The high density of carved churches suggested Göreme Valley was a hive of religious activity.
Another Love Valley
Our host of the hotel pointed out that the earlier Love Valley we visited was not the original Love Valley, and the original one was more majestic. So we set our to explore the Original Love Valley. We found it, explore it and decided that both Love Valleys were similar.
Pigeon Valley & Uchisar
Uchisar was a town pretty near to Gerome. It consisted of an old village huddled around the base of a huge rock cone and a new one closer to the road that runs from Nevşehir town to Göreme. Uçhisar was dominated by a 60-metre-high ‘castle’ which was actually a rock formation visible over a wide distance.Uçhisar Castle was crisscrossed by numerous underground passageways and rooms, which were now mostly blocked or impassable. It was said that around 1,000 people once lived in the castle.
Pigeon Valley ran between Uchisar and neighbouring Goreme. Over the years many pigeon houses were carved into the sides of the valley. Pigeon dropping was widely used as fertiliser into the 1970s. These droppings were also used to enhance the colours of the frescoes in the cave churches!
Our stay at Cappadocia
Our stay in Cappadocia was Vista Cave Hotel, we had a double room with ensuite toilet with windows and private balcony. There were cheaper rooms with no window which we did not select as we disliked confined space. Many hotels had viewing decks but we still selected a room with a private balcony so as to be very sure we would be able to see the rising balloon from our balcony if we had to. In the end we watched the rising balloons from the hotel viewing deck which was more spacious. It was wet with soaking wet seats/carpet due to the overnight rain on morning 1. As for morning 2 the deck had more people so we had to take turn to stand at the best “angle” position for photography.
Our room was spacious and very comfortable, it was on the upper level and the balcony view was awesome. For three nights the cost was Eur246 which also included breakfast.