Over the weekend, we took a quick trip to Cappadocia with five other teachers. Cappadocia is about 180 miles southeast of Ankara. We took a bus after school on Friday, and after grading many papers and a couple of stops along the way, we arrived in Göreme around 11:30 that night.
Göreme is a tourist town right outside of Cappadocia. Cappadocia has rich historical and cultural heritage and has been inhabited by the Persians, Hittites, Assyrians, and Greeks. It has a distinct alien-looking landscape created from harsh weather and volcanic activity. The rock formations are referred to as “fairy chimneys.” There are also some underground cities in the region, but we didn’t visit those this trip. Cappadocia is mentioned in Acts 2:6–11 and 1 Peter 1:1–2.
We slept in and relaxed at the hostel Saturday morning. After stopping at a coffee shop, a few of us walked around the Open Air Museum. Hundreds of years ago people carved out the rock formations to create living quarters, chapels, and churches. Several of the chapels still had remnants of the frescos that once adorned the walls. One in particular was called the Dark Church. It cost a little extra to go inside, but was so worth it! This cave had the best preserved frescos because it is protected from the light. Many of the faces were defiled, like the rest of the caves. Cameras weren’t allowed in the Dark Church, but you can see pictures online. I need to brush up on my history of the area, but it’s incredible to think how these were some of the very first churches.
Later Saturday, we took a short bus ride to one of the next towns over called Avanos to check out some pottery shops. The craftsmanship was remarkable. The piece pictured below with the hole in the middle is a Hittite wine vase. The server would stick his arm through the middle of the vase, hoist it over his shoulder, and tip it to serve the guests. On the shelf below are hand painted Turkish bowls. Gorgeous!
A funny story – we entered one of the many pottery shops and got a full tour from one of the employees. On the second floor, I noticed a sign that said “Hair Museum.” I asked the man what a hair museum was, and he motioned us further back into the store. This section was not lit, and he walked up a set of stairs to another room. “Fear?” he asked as we hesitated to follow him. “Yes,” we told him. He flipped on a switch, and the room came into view. From floor to ceiling were pieces of paper with locks of human hair stapled to them. David stepped up closer, though not into the room. The room extended very far and was filled with pieces of hair and pictures of women. He got pretty creeped out and told us we needed to go. We booked it out of that shop as quickly as we could! I looked it up online after the trip – apparently women donated their hair and the shop made it in the Guinness World Records. It was CREEPY! (Check out an article and photo of the place at Atlas Obscura.)
The next morning, we woke up at 5:30 to catch the launch of the hot air balloons. What a sight to see! As the sun rose, over 80 balloons came into view and flew over and around us and the strange rock formations.
It was a fun, relaxing trip with wonderful new friends. We hope to go back again sometime soon!
[box] PRAYER REQUESTS
- Continued wisdom: in how we teach and interact with our students, especially those who are learning English.
- Our Health: Leah had a slight fever earlier today. She rested, took some vitamins and meds, and it went away.
- Time Management: We are still learning how to balance our time at the school and our personal time. There will be many long hours at work this first year, but we also don’t want to wear ourselves out!