In the few minutes I actually enjoyed the hot air balloon ride, I looked down and saw what was in store for us for the next three days. As I said before, we arrived at night to the very interesting "KAYA" hotel in the small town of Uchisar. Uchisar is in the famed Cappadocia region of Central Turkey where thousands of years ago volcanic activity started the process of the an unusual lunar landscape. After the erosion of the softer organic materials, what was left (and is still eroding) were "fairy chimneys" and caves.
Our hotel was partially carved out of one of these rocks, and the hallways and rooms resembled the "modern" insides of the ancient caves. Thanks to an ingenious ventilation system, people were able to breath fresh air when hiding out in these structures. The early Christians found refuge in these caves when hiding from the Romans. They have proved a safe haven for Turks in times of war. A maze of tunnels reaching 4 stories deep held as many as 3000 people and included churches, dwellings, and public spaces, and were being used as recently as 50 years ago. It is now becoming fashionable in this region to purchase a cave and make it into a B & B or some other dwelling. We tromped all over this region, exploring this fascinating area where early Christians carved out over 3,000 churches in the porous rock. Some of these caves still show splendidly preserved scenes from the old testament.
On the last day Steve and I and our guide, Kaan, decided to "climb' the old rock citadel in Uchisar. It gave us an outstanding view of the whole region, and I didn't have to worry about where a balloon would land! Everywhere one looks there are "fairy chimneys" with windows, doors,and decks. Some of the old softer rock material has eroded showing some fine examples of the inner chambers. We could see where the former dwellers could roll a thick stone into the entrances and keep intruders out. It was a fun place to explore, and I thought how much fun our grandsons would have running around underground.