Day 8 – Cappadocia

photo1Today six of us got up at 4:00 am to ride a hot air balloon over Cappadocia’s incredible countryside. Our balloon was one of hundreds floating peacefully over the rock spires, canyons, and barren hillsides as the sun rose golden in the east.

photo3Cappadocia is a very unusual and interesting geological area of volcanic rock formations, underground tunnels, tall, thin spires of rock fairy chimneys and unique heritage. It’s mentioned in the biblical account given in the book of Acts 2:9. The Cappadocians were named as one group hearing the Gospel account from Galileans in their own language on the day of Pentecost shortly after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Acts 2:5 seems to suggest that the Cappadocians in this account were “God-fearing Jews.” Christians have lived in the tunnels and caves of Cappadocia for centuries.

At 8:30 we all boarded our bus for the chapels of Gerome. This is a monastic complex of many chapels built in the 11th century, along with dormitories, a refractory with a stone dining table for the monks etc. Each one was small with unusual frescoes painted on the ceilinngs.

photo22 photo21 photo20After this our guide took us to Goreme Village to visit an ‘old lady’ that she had met in the markets who has a traditional rock-cut home. She allowed us to look into the rooms of her home and it was comfortable, unique and truly beautiful.  She and her husband had oriental Turkish carpets and couches that covered every room, a tiny kitchen, an outdoor latrine bathroom and a million dollar view. She was so kind to share her home with us. We all bought a lot of her handmade dolls, crochet doilies, hand knit socks, etc.

For lunch we stopped and ordered  “gozleme” a traditional fast food Turkish pancake with spinach, potatoes and cheese wrapped in a crepe. It was delicious!!

Then we entered the Zelve Open Air Museum.  It was really a nature walk up into the rock cliffs where a village from prehistoric times had existed until 1954. The Zelve Monastery was carved in a rock in Byzantine times. There are numerous rooms and passages, churches and monasteries and other complex caves and tunnels.

photo4Our next stop was the  Ortahisar Village Carpet  and Weaving Center subsidized by the government to encourage women to keep the art of weaving carpets alive. We saw wonderful demonstrations of weaving wool, cotton, and silk rugs along with a silkworm demonstration on how silkworms are grown and silk produced. Then a salesman pulled out fifty or more examples of carpets of all sizes and shapes and kinds.  Many people bought one and they are being sent home for free.

photo11Finally, we made our last stop at the Avanos pottery factory which through the centuries have made pottery on a Kick wheel since fifth millium BC. We saw a demonstration with a master on the kick wheel and then roamed the enormous show rooms of his student’s works.

Tomorrow we have a long day in the bus driving to the coast where we will resume our study of Paul.


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