Ataturk Mausoleum, Ankara
Touring Turkey – Ankara
High speed rail between Istanbul and Ankara started in 2014 which is why rail is popular for this section of your tour of Turkey. Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the second largest Turkish city after Istanbul. Ankara has Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. The city is also known as Angora. Angora cats come from Ankara. Almost every tour group will stop at the Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk. Ataturk is the founder of Turkey. You might also visit the Anatolian Civilizations Museum and archeological sites such as the Ankara Citadel. After a couple nights in Ankara, it’s time to head to the Cappadocia region by bus.
Goreme Open Air Museum
Touring Turkey – Cappadocia
The bus ride to Cappadocia will take about 4 – 5 hours. Cappadocia is in the interior of Turkey. It’s nothing like Ankara or Istanbul. Cappadocia is an area encompassing several cities. It’s known for its underground cities and rooms carved out into its unusual rock formations. Sometimes harder rock sticks on top of hills like a top hat. These are called fairy chimneys. The Göreme Open-Air Museum near the city of Goreme is the center piece of the area, because you can see so many tunnels and chambers in the mountain sides. Hot air balloon riding has become extremely popular in Cappadocia and you will find organized events launching large numbers of hot air balloons at the same time. You are likely to enjoy a Whirling Dervish Performance in Cappadocia too.
Underground City, Cappadocia
There are more than a 40 underground settlements in Cappadicia. Six of them are open to the public – Tatlarin Underground City, Derinkuyu Underground City, Ozkonak Underground City, Mazi Village Underground City, Kaymakli Underground City and Gaziemir Underground City. People started the cave dwellings in the Byzantine period of the Bronze Age. Likely these people were seeking protection in carved out tunnels and underground chambers. Today the tunnels have electric lights, but guides will tell you that when they were children, they played hide-and-seek in the dark in these cities.