The last walk I’m writing about this month is our trek through the gorgeous Ihlara Gorge in Cappadocia, Turkey.
Although it wasn’t a strenuous walk, it required a descent of 360 steps to make our way into the valley. This beautiful gorge was formed by the Melendez River carving its way through the volcanic rock in central Turkey.
We spent about four hours walking through the valley. Our time in Cappadocia was chilly, but that day was warm enough to walk without our coats. It was early spring, and the valley was just beginning to come to life.
So much of Cappadocia was barren, but the gorge was fertile and full of vegetation. The trees were just beginning to bud. Both sides of the path were bordered with grass and wild flowers.
The previous week had been mild, and the cherry blossoms had just begun to bloom.
The walk was culturally significant, too. The Ihlara Gorge was the hiding place for early Christians fleeing their persecutors because of the large number of caves that could be used for refuge. Some of these caves were among the earliest Christian churches in the area. The gorge was home to over 100 churches.
Just next to the entrance to the valley, Agacalti Kilise (Church Under the Tree) is thought to have been used for worship in the 10th or 11th century. Its stunning frescoes depict Daniel in the Lions’ Den and the visit of the Magi, among other Biblical scenes.
Tea and cookies with our guide.