underground cities and friendly hosts

one of the main things that we wanted to see while here in goreme was an underground city. there are several fo them around here, and one of the most impressive ones is called Desrinkyu. this city was built centuries ago, and at one time about 10,000 people all lived there underground for periods up to 6 or 7 months!! back in the day, many armies would come through this region, so to protect themselves, people built underground cities so they could hide out for several months underground while the invading army passed through. the city of desrinkiyu is extremely elaborate and goes down *8* levels below ground!!

exploring the city was really cool. all the passageways leading down were really tiny (to prevent soldiers from coming into them) and we had to scamper down these tunnels while keeping our heads down. these underground cities were really elaborate… they had churches, places to get married, an underground school, etc. it was crazy how inventive these people were. they built huge airshafts that go all the way down to the bottom to allow air in, but a lot of these airshafts, instead of going directly up, fan out horizontally near the top so invading soldiers wouldnt find the vent openings.

after the underground city, we wnet back to town to hang out for a bit and then went to red red wine again. the guy who works there, Kadir, is sooo damn nice (as i mentioned before). when we told him the other day that we would probably be leaving town and didnt really have enough funds to stay there longer, he invited us to stay at his house. we were stunned! we hardly even knew him and yet he was inviting us to crash at his place. so cool! so, we hung out at the wine house for a bunch fo time during we wich we got a bunch of free wine and free nargileh.

there is this whole crew of friends (including kadir and yavus from the flintsones internet) that hang out there almost nightly. yavus owns several businesses in town, but i guess he owns the wine house mostly for fun and he and his friends chill there all the time, play turkish music, and sing. it was super cool to be able to chill there and watch it all happen. it’s funny, there is this thing here called “turkish nights” where you can go and pay a bunch of money to see people play turkish music etc. it was way expensive, and seemed a bit cheezy as it is set up for tourists. heh, instead of that, we got to see just regular turkish people chilling and playing authentic music for themselves. it was so much more *real* than any touristy hokey thing. the only problem, was that despite anything kadir said, we did feel a little bit like we wee intruding. it was also one of the friend’s birthday, and he got a cake and candles and presents etc.. and we kinda felt like we were imposing a bit. oh well, i guess.

late that night, we went and crashed at kadir’s house, and then the following morning went out to breakfast/lunch w/ him and then yavus joined us too. it’s so random that we’re just chilling w/ the locals around here. i havent really gotten to do that anywhere else on my travels yet, and getting to know the people that live there really adds a new dimension to the place. we exchanged our thoughts on random stuff like tongue piercings, travel, their upcoming tripes (they’re going to kenya and to indonesia) etc.

later on in the day, caryn ad i went for a hike in Rose valley. this place was possibly even more beautiful than the valleys that we were in the other day! so many interesting rock formations! also we found a bunch of random empty pigeon houses that we could crawl up into and through. the people here used to dig out caves w/ pigeon holes so that the birds would stay there and they could use the pigeon droppings. now these caves wewre pretty much empty, but it was quite an adventure to scramble up the rocks and try to use what little rock climbing skills we had to explore.

we had a great time here in goreme, and it was really sad to leave. although we had already had our bus tickets out, it definitely would have been nice to stay longer. i think our time here will definitely stand out among the different memories of the trip. at night, we boarded the bus to head out to the next country…. Syria. we’ve heard and read sooo much good stuff about syria, and we’re really excited to finally check it out!!


3 thoughts on “underground cities and friendly hosts”

  1. love it! looks so beautiful!!!! Turkey sounds like my kind of place 🙂

  2. Whoa, that last picture is seriously eire. Once again, photoJohn would be proud.

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