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Fairy chimneys, balloons in flight – the magic of Nevsehir, Turkey

Balloons over Nevsehir. (Bilge Nur Güven/YJI)

Nevsehir, TURKEY – The first thing I noticed when we landed at the airport is that it is tiny. Like, incredibly tiny for an airport. It might as well be a bus or train terminal.

The land stretches until the horizon and the only planes there are small private jets.

Everywhere you look here is filled with beautiful natural formations.

Cappadocia is a region in Turkey dense with volcanic rocks eroded by rain and wind over millions of years. The whole trip felt like a fun geography lesson. 

The region’s main source of income is tourism. There are countless hotels and souvenir shops.

The Pigeon Valley gets its name from its many resident pigeons and the nests carved into the rocks of the 4 km stretch of the valley.

You can see some of nature’s most unique and astonishing work in Cappadocia. If you are ever in Turkey, make sure to visit here.

Above, a panoramic view of Cappadocia.

There exists a human element in these formations as well. Human settlement dates back as early as the Paleolithic Era. It was once home to the Hittite Civilizations until the Romans took over.

Cappadocia was a safe haven for people. Christians fled to the region starting in the 3rd century after Romans increased pressure on them.

There is beautiful architecture left from centuries of inhabitation such as churches, caves, houses as well as countless traditions.

This is the mansion where the famous Turkish TV Show “Asmalı Konak” was filmed. The rocks have been intricately carved for human use. Today, it is a museum with a café inside for tourists.

This mansion museum also houses a handmade doll collection by Mülkiye Binnaz Taşer (1929-2002), a local Kapadokya artist. There are dolls dressed with traditional clothes from all over Turkey. 

The region is known for its pottery making. The soils of the land are rich in materials that are easily moldable. We went to an atelier and watched Ali, an expert of pottery making whose family has been in the craft for generations, mold mud into a vase. 

The above pictures are from the Temenni Büyükakten Underground House. It has seven floors, going underground. People lived here for many centuries until it was turned into a museum and today it is a tourist attraction. Pictured are the belongings dating to the 18 and 19th centuries.

We woke up at 5 AM to see the hot air balloons launched into the Nevsehir sky. It was an absolutely mesmerizing sight and certainly worth the sleep deprivation.

Bilge Nur Güven is a Senior Reporter and Senior Photographer with Youth Journalism International.

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