Hot-air ballooning in Cappadocia
We run the rule over a region of Turkey known for its strange volcanic rock formations and underground cities. The landscape near Göreme, in the Cappadocia region, was formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. The ash settled as soft rock which was eroded by the elements into pillars, some as tall as 40m. Göreme National Park was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985; Göreme Open-Air Museum features rock-cut churches and frescoes. Neolithic man carved cave dwellings into the soft rock. There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia.
The region was invaded by Hittites, Persians and Romans, among others, so locals used the caves to hide. Christians fleeng persecution established monasteries here. The phallic shape of Göreme’s “fairy chimneys” have seen the area dubbed “Love Valley”. Balloons can carry up to 20 passengers and trips usually last one hour, but do allow half a day for travelling to and from launch and landing sites. Every day at sunrise, scores of hot air balloons rise up over Göreme.