going underground in goreme
If your challenge is to find the world’s most amazing troglodyte villages, look no further than Goreme, Turkey! This region holds the record for having the most impressive evidence of Byzantine art in the post-Iconoclastic period and Rami Hazou, adventure expert extraordinaire at Intrepid My Adventure Store Hawthorn, explains why it also has our planet’s most remarkable homes…
“Goreme in Cappadocia has long been known for its mysterious rock formations. The whole region was covered by volcanic ash matter when the Hassan Volcano erupted thousands of years ago and over time, as the weather has eroded the ash deposits, the Goreme Valley has developed a very strangely sculptured landscape.
For centuries local Cappadocians have used the volcanic limestone ash deposit to carve their homes into the cliffs. The limestone is soft and easy to dig away and yet strong enough to hold its carved shape for years. One such home is owned by a lovely Turkish family who Intrepid groups are fortunate to visit in Goreme.
As you walk down the carved steps into the 3-room home in the side of a cliff, you are warmly greeted by the family with big smiles and lovely hot apple tea. As you descend the steps further into the home you appreciate the cooler temperature and think they must have great air-conditioning. It’s not until you are seated in the living room that you realise the home is very basic and there is no cooling system. After a good explanation by our guide you learn that the cool conditions are actually created by the rock and being underground. The family also explain that in summer their underground home stays cool and during winter little heating is required due to the natural warmth and insulation.
Entering the underground world of Goreme is an intriguing combination of old and new, historic and modern, capped off with a very friendly family cultural exchange. The experience of meeting these lovely people in their unusual home was one of my many journey highlights and if you are ever invited to go underground in Turkey for apple tea, my advice is don’t miss the special opportunity!”
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* photo by Gill Brodie – Intrepid Photography Competition