Tuesday 9 January 2024

Central Turkey and Cappadocia

Today we drove to the centre of Turkey and stopped at Tuz Lake. 

It wasn't looking at its most dramatic today, but apparently it is usually surrounded by two to three metres of snow at this time of the year, and some areas of it have flocks of flamingos. Today we had neither. 

As lakes go though, it is very interesting. Underneath it are huge layers of salt about 1,000 metres deep and during the winter rain water leeches salt up in to the lake - although I don't understand why.

It covers a huge area and is the second largest lake in Turkey, but the average water depth is only 30 centimetres (one foot). In the summer the lake dries to a thick salty crust that can be walked upon, and the salt is harvested for cosmetics.

After that we carried on driving to Cappadocia to see it's amazing rock formations. 

At the risk of trying to explain another geological fact that I don't really understand, the unusual rock shapes formed because a few million years ago the area was in the centre of a triangle of three volcanos that all erupted together. The lava spread layers of tufa rock which is soft and basalt rock which is hard. 

Over millions of years it eroded to make amazing shapes, with the basalt often making little hats on top of the soft tufa. 

We travelled round visiting different viewpoints and the above area is called the love valley. A couple of miles away is the hunter valley. 

This valley has wider rocks, lots of which used to be lived in and are now used as hotels. 

Our third stop was called pigeon valley, but I can't imagine why. 

This one had different coloured rocks with some quite pale cream, and others pink due to iron deposits in the rock, and some darker brown. 

Quite an amazing town has grown up in and on the hillside next to the pigeon valley. 

Finally we stopped off at a fancy hotel built in ancient caves where nearly 2,000 years ago Christians hid from the Romans, but today it was being used as a wedding venue. 

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