Friday, October 17, 2014

Day's End at Uçhisar Castle.

Talk about a spectacular view.  Best vantage point in all of Cappadocia!

On our way back to Göreme, we would have to pass through the town of Uçhisar. Since we had time left before day's end, we decided to stop and visit Uçhisar Castle. The castle is on the Red Tour itinerary and we should have covered it yesterday but we ran out of time so seeing it today worked out perfectly.


You can't miss Uçhisar Castle - we easily spotted it on the drive in to town. Tt is the tallest fairy chimney and can be seen from any spot in the region. Like so many of the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, it is riddled with man-made dwellings and dovecotes.


Technically speaking, Uçhisar Castle is a castle but it most certainly like any castle I've ever seen.  When I think of castle, I think of the grand and majestic structures I've seen on my trips to Europe.  This looks like a very large, ugly, craggy lump of carved rock.  Sorry to anyone who actually sees beauty in this thing.  To be honest, looking at it, it's hard to figure out the castle part. I'm guessing there's no moat.  Ugly or not, castle or not, in two previous trips to Cappadocia, I had never come to see this place despite its proximity to Göreme.  I was determined there would not be a third trip without a visit.

Ms. Google led us to a parking near the castle or at least we looked like we were near the castle.  Bro pulled in and before he cut off the ignition, a man was standing outside his door.  He was there to collect our 1TL parking fare.  Bro paid and we headed off in search of the castle.  It took some asking around before we figured out which way to go.


As you would expect, popular tourist attraction means lots of souvenir shops.  In fact, there was no shortage of them.  The most interesting of the lot was one carved into a small cluster of fairy chimneys.  I don't know how the owner scored this primo spot but just the fact that the shop is inside a fairy chimney would attract potential shoppers.


It was so late in the day, I was afraid the castle would be closed but lucky for us, we had some time to spare.  Bro paid the entry fee and we headed on inside.   There looked to be a small museum of sorts but it was closed so we proceeded up the only way that looked to be open.  We were at the start of the steps that lead to the top of the castle.  Dread.  Hate steps.


Throughout its history, the castle has always served as the main point of defence for the Cappadocia region.  When danger was present, guards could easily send out warning messages, from the castle top, by using lights and mirrors.  During Seljuk times, it also served as a control point for trade caravans making their way along the Silk Road.  These days, its a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist destination.


Supposedly, the castle contains numerous hollowed-out rooms, rock tombs, secret passageways and even a large water cistern.  I don't remember seeing all that many of these rooms on my way up but perhaps they were there but I just ignored them as there's nothing to see except bare stone.


It was 120 plus steps before we made it to the top and WOW!  What an amazing panoramic view!

Panorama Uçhisar Castle
Panoramic view from top of Uçhisar Castle. Use the scroll bars to pan to see the entire photo.

The first thing I noticed was Pigeon Valley which was just below us and to the right of it, Love Valley.


To our far left were the streets and buildings of Göreme. I could easily spot the bus station and of course, we tried to find our hotel :-)


In far background was Rose Valley, providing the perfect backdrop for the magnificent vista.  The setting sun cast a rosy hue on the rocks, christening its name.


From another side, we could look down at the modern day town of Uçhisar.


We could see the road that would take us back to Göreme.  Now if we can only figure out how get to the road once we're back on *ground* level.


The sun was setting fast and with nothing to break the wind, it was getting chilly.  Even so, the view was so spectacular, we stuck it out as long as we could bear the cold.

When I felt my teeth starting to chatter and the goosebumps on my arms were refusing to back down, I decided it was time for me to leave.  Bro followed suit.  We backtracked to our car, ignoring the cries of the occasional vendor to step inside his shop and take a look at his goods.  Sorry, not in the mood to buy anything.

I can now cross Uçhisar Castle off my Cappadocia "must see" list!  Glad I came.  The view alone was worth missing out on seeing the real castle part of this place.