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Activities in Cappadocia

Balloon Tours I Bicycle Tours I Trekking Tours I Jeep Safari Tours I Horse Riding Tours I Turkish Bath I Whirling Dervishes I Canoeing I Rafting I

 

 Balloon Tours:


     Balloon Tours, the symbol of Cappadocia, are the most convenient way to see the unmatched beauties of the region. Mustafa Hotel will organise your balloon tour with a flight time duration of around one and a half hours and you'll get to see the farthest points of Cappadocian civilization inaccessible by road.
     Balloon tours operate between April and November in the mornings (weather conditions permitting). There are few balloon companies, with a capacity of 8, 10, 12 and 20 persons.
     Total tour time in a balloon: The total time includes the transfers between hotel and flight area, balloon safety briefing and preparation actual flight time and after-flight celebration with Champagne, and is approximately 4 hours. The actual flight time is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes and if you want you can have a short flight in 45 minutes.
     We recommend that you wear comfortable shoes and clothing for the balloon flight. On the day after the balloon tour, participants are awarded a flight certificate. Balloon pilots are professional, certified and experienced.

 

 

 

Bicycle Tours:

 

     Uçhisar, at a distance of 5 km to Mustafa Hotel, is accessible by cycling paths. The tour includes exploration of the valleys around and organised for groups of 4 to 6 persons.


     Valleys and cycling paths around Goreme, at distance of 2 km to Mustafa Hotel, is organised with guide or without guide to guests who wish to attend this activity.

 

 

 

Trekking Tours:


     FIRST WALKING TOUR:
     Normal time can be pre arranged to suit your day plan. Visit to Sword Valley, Meskendir Valley, Red Valley, Rose Valley, Cavusin Valley, then Bush Valley and Fairy Chimney Valley Pasabag. It takes 6 to 7 hours to complete. Mostly easy walking. A minimum of 4 churches visited.


     SECOND WALKING TOUR:
     Normal departure times at 9 – 9.30 am Commence time can be pre arranged to suite your day plan. Visit to Zemi Valley, Babaccik Valley, King Valley, Pigeon Valley, Karsibicak Valley, Whith Valley and Honey Valley. It takes 5 to 7 hours to complete. A minimum of 3 churches can be seen.


     THIRD WALKING TOUR:
     Normal departure times at 9 – 9.30 am. Includes one two days and one night. Walk one and two combined, visiting the most interesting places, also camping and BBQ in Rose Valley. Minimum of 4 persons and own sleeping bags required.


     FOURTH WALKING TOUR:
     Normal departure times at 9 – 9.30 am Includes 3 days and 2 nights tour. Third Walk continues by transfer and visit of Birds Paradise for one day. At day break sighting of Flamingos and other birds, also visit Kapuzbasi Waterfall, a picnic there, transfer to Bayram Hacilar (Hot Springs), return to Goreme. Minimum of 6 persons and own sleeping bags required.


     FREE WALKING TOURS:
     A picnic may be great fun but often people get forgetful and leave the remains of their meal behind them.

 

 

 

 

Jeep Safari Tours:


     This Activity is only for information right now.


     Leaving early in the morning in jeeps towards Ürgüp, Mustafapaşa, Yeşilhisar, and Yahyalı. From Yahyalı to Aladağlar via mountain roads, and then camping beside Zamantı River near Çamlıca Village.


     Lunch is served when camped at Büyükçakır and Karpuzbaşı waterfalls. Next morning, visit mountain villagers living at a height of 2500 m in the mountains and on the high plateaus. Return to the hotel via Niğde and Nevşehir.


     This tour can be organised as a 1-day or 4-day tour based on your preference, and with a minimum 8 people and 3 jeep's participation. Another route including northern high plateaus of Toros Mountains can also be organised. For jeep tours, booking is necessary at least five days in advance.

 

 

 

Horse Riding Tours in Cappadocia:


     Our horse riding tours start and finish at the horse farm in Goreme. Transfer of our guests from/to the horse farm in Goreme is provided by service vehicles. Training is available for the inexperienced by the farm if required. The duration of riding and our riding tours varies and is tailored for each group.
     Half Day Tour:
     Includes visits to around Goreme Valleys (Zemi Valley, Rose Valley and Cavusin). Different routes can be organised if requested.

 

 

 

 

  • Horse riding for beginners and advanced riders

  • In the captivating valleys in Cappadocia

  • English speaking guide

  • Daily - 4 hours - 2 hours - 1 hour several days weekly

 

 

 

 

 

Turkish Bath:


     The tradition of the Turkish bath extends far back, to a time before Turks had reached Anatolia . When the Turks arrived in Anatolia, they brought with them one bathing tradition, and were confronted with another, that of Romans and Byzantines, with certain local variants. The traditions merged, and with the addition of the Moslem concern for cleanliness and its concomitant respect for the uses of water, there arose an entirely new concept, that of the Turkish Bath. In time it became an institution, with its system of ineradicable customs.
     For the Turkish bath was much more than just a place to cleanse the skin. It was intimately bound up with everyday life, a place where people of every rank and station, young and old, rich an poor, townsman or villager, could come freely. Women as well as men made use of the "hamam", as the bath is known in Turkish , although of course at separate hours.
     From the individual's point of view, the hamam was a familiar place from the earliest weeks of life right up to its very end. Important occasions during a lifespan were, and in some township still are, celebrated with rejoicing at the bath. The newborn's fortieth day, the brides bathing complete with food and live music, and the Avowal are instances. The latter requires some explanation, for it involved the custom common in Anatolia of making a promise or vow, contingent on the fulfillment of some important wish. The celebration of this in the hamam was arranged and paid for by the person fulfilling his vow, and was open to one and all.
     The hamam ceremony of mourning, on the other hand, was far different, but also widespread. The Hospitality bathing was simply the taking of one's house-guest to the hamam for a wash. Then there were the Circumcision, Groom's, and Off-to-the-Army bathings, and others besides. As we see, the whole culture of a people had the Turkish bath as one of its important nexuses.
     Naturally, there was a range of equipment associated with a hamam visit, and until recently one might count from 15 to 20 articles in the bundle which a woman brought along with her. Let's see this bundles:
     The " pestemal " (pesh-te-mahl), a large towel fringed at both ends and wrapped around the torso, from below the armpits to about mid-thigh, as the woman made her way to the "kurna" or marble basin.  The pestemal would be striped or checked, a colored mixture of silk and cotton, or pure cotton, or even pure silk.
     A pair of wooden clogs or pattens, in Turkish " nalin ", of which there were many varied types. Carved exquisitely, these pattens kept the wearer's feet clear of the wet floor. They would be embellished in a number of ways, most often with mother-of-pearl, or even sheathed in tooled silver. They might have jingles, or a woven straw sheath, or be applied with felt or brass.
     The " tas ", or bowl for pouring water over the body, was always of metal. Weather silver, gilt or tinned copper, or of brass, the tas always had grooved and inlaid ornamentation.
     One finds a soap case of metal, usually copper, with a handle on top like a handbag, and perforated at the bottom to allow water to run out. Not only soap goes into such a case, but also a coarse mitt for scouring down the skin, a webbing of date-palm or other fibers for lathering on the soap, and combs both fine and broad-toothed made of horn or ivory.
     The " kese " (keh-seh), that rough cloth mitt carried in the soap case, not only scoured the dirt out of the pores, but served to deliver a bracing massage. The soaping web, on the other hand, was specially woven out of hair or plant fibers.
     A small jewelry box is often included, and depending on the region will be of silver, copper or wood, sometimes covered with wicker, felt, velvet or silver. As she undresses in the hamam, the woman will remove her jewelry and place it in this box.
     There are three towels for drying, one to go around the hair like a turban, one around the shoulders, and one around the waist.
     The hamam carpet would be laid on the floor, then another cloth spread over it. Indeed, the name of the latter, "yaygi", contains the Turkish root for Quotspread". The woman would sit on the mat so formed to undress, and it was here that the bundle itself would be placed. After each trip to the hamam the spread would be washed and dried, then folded away in the bundle until the next time.
     An inner bundle cloth was made of cambric, which can be repeatedly washed.
     The outer bundle on the other hand, heavily embroidered, might be velvet, woolen or silken weave. In any case, it is always showy, suitable for the uses to which it is put on feast days and other special occasions.
     The mirror was an indispensable item in the bundle, its frame and handle often of wood, but sometimes of silver or brass.
     There might be a bowl for henna, which the woman would fill on arriving at the hamam. Aside from the color it lends, henna is considered to strengthen the hair. Henna is an old tradition for young girls before their marriage day; called as Henna night.
     A very small container, made of tinned copper, was used to mash up an eyebrow darkener known as "rastik", especially popular with those of fair and auburn hair.
     There is another box, this one for "surme", for the lids.
     Attar of rose in a bottle, the bottle in turn kept in a wooden case, and inevitably found in the hamam bundle: No other perfume was considered proper for the newly washed body.
 


Bride's Bath (Gelin Hamami)


     For the bride's visit to the hamam there was a distinctive costume for cold days, a vest and pair of loose trousers (the "shalvar") made of fine felt cloth. This gift from the family of the groom would be worn going to and coming back home from the bath on that special day of the marriage.
     Another item of wear, again worn on the day of the bride's visit to the hamam, was a silken robe, open at the front and much like the Japanese kimono. The collar, the sleeves, and the front borders were all embroidered. In this ornate robe, the bride would sit on a kind of throne in the tepidarium of the bath, and the candles would be picked up by maidens and young women . The bride leading the way, the procession would march behind a woman beating a tambourine, around the hamam pool. Soon the voices of the maidens and young women would be heard in song as, candles in hand still burning, they did the circuit of the pool again and again. At some point the bridal veil would be produced to cover the bride's head, and then came the wishing, as unmarried girls tossed coins into the pool in hopes of getting the husband they desired. Even today these deeply rooted customs can be observed in the rituals of the Turkish bath.
     A head covering of sheer white muslin, its edges bordered with "oya" crochet work, also emerges from the bundle. A woman will have several of these to her name. They are tied over the hair before leaving the hamam, to take up any remaining moisture.
     In the towns, as opposed to the cities, there was a specially shaped carrier called a "kirdanlik" which word might perhaps be rendered "the grime-time bucket". Into it went soap, washcloths, clogs, and the pouring bowl, while the hamam bundle went on top. On reaching the bath this carrier would be used as a pail to work up sudsy water of bathing. This kirdanlik was also used in the men's bath.
     The Turkish bath was also, in its own way, a beautician's school where one learned and practiced care of the body and hair, the donning of make-up. And it was here that women, kept almost exclusively indoors, could best relax and enjoy the freedom of a day to themselves.
     The fame of The Turkish bath, then, resides in its bringing together many dimensions of the society's culture to create a new phenomenon. The hamam has long been an institution in Turkey, with a deep-going social character that is capable of shedding light on many aspects of Turkish life.

 

 

 

 

Whirling Dervishes Ceremony:


     Semâ is is the inspiration of Mevlânâ Celâleddin-i Rumî (1207 - 1273) as well as part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture… It symbolizes in seven parts the different meanings of a mystic cycle to perfection (Ascension - Mirac). Contemporary science definitely confirms that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no object, no being which does not revolve and the shared similarity among beings is the revolution of the electrons and protons in the atoms, which constitute the structure of the smallest particle to the stars far in the sky. As a consequence of this similarity, every thing revolves and man carries on his life, his very existence by means of the revolution in the atoms, structural elements in his body, bye the circulation of his blood, bye his coming from the Earth and return to it, by his revolving with the Earth itself.
     However, all of these are natural, unconscious revolutions. But man is the processor of a mind and intelligence which distinguished him from and makes him superior to other beings…
     Thus the whirling dervish or Semâzen causes the mind to participate in the shared similarity and revolution of all other beings…
     - The Semâ ceremony represents all a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “Perfect”. Then he returns from this spiritual journeys as a man who reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole creation, to all creatures without discriminating in regard to belief, class, or race… The dervish with his head-dress(his ego's tombstone), his white skirt (his ego's shroud) is spiritually born to the truth, by removing his black cloak, he journeys and advances to spiritual maturity through the stages of the Semâ. At the onset and each stage of the Semâ holding his arms crosswise he represents number one, and testifies to God's unity. While whirling his arms are open, his right hand directed to the sky ready to receive God's beneficence, gazing his left hand turned toward the earth, he turns from right to left, pivoting around the heart. This is his way of conveying God's spiritual gift to the people upon whom God “looks with a Divine” watchfulness. Revolving around the heart, from right to left, he embraces all of humankind, all the creation with affection and love…

     The Semâ is consisted of several parts, with different meanings…
     A- It stars with a eulogy “Nat-ı Şerif” to the Prophet, who represents love, an all Prophets before him. To praise them is praising God, who created all of them.
     B- This eulogy is followed by a drum sound symbolising the Divine order of the Creator.... '' Kun=Be !''
     C- Then follows an instrumental music improvisation '' taksim '' with a read '' ney '', it represents the firts breath which gives life to everthing : The Divine Breath.
     D- The fourth part is the dervishes gretings to each other and their thirice repeated circular walk ''Devri Veledi'' accompanied by music called ''peshrev'', it symbolize the salulation of soul to soul concealed by shapes and bodies.
     E- The fifth part is the Semâ (whirling) it concists of four salutes or '' Selam ''s. At the end of each as in the onset, the dervish testifies by appearance to God's unity.
     1- The first salute is man's birth to truth by feelingand mind. It represent his complete conception of the existance of God as Creator and his own state of creature.
     2- The second salute expresses the rapture of man witnessin the splendor of creation, in front of God's greatness and omnipotence.
     3- The third salute is the dissolution rapture into love and there by the sacrifice of mind to love. It is a complete submission, it is the annihilation of self in the loved One, it is unity. This state of ecstasy is the highest grade defined as '' Fenafillah '' in İslâm. However, the highest rank in İslâm is the rank reached by the Prophet : He is called God's servant foremost and subsequently his messenger. The aim of Semâ is not unbroken ecstasy and loss of concious thought, but realization of.
     4- The fourt salute: Just as the Prophet ascends the '' Throne '' and then returns to his task on earth, the whirling dervish, folloving the termination of his spiritual journey and his ascent, returns to his task, to his state of subservience. (He is a servant of God, of His prophets and all the creation...) Sura Bakara 2, verse 285. At the end of this salute, he demonstrate this again by his apperance, arms placed crsswise representing the of God, conscjously and feelingly.
     F- The sixth part of the Semâ is a reading of the Quaran, especialy of the verse from Sura bakara 2, verse 115. (Onto God belong the East and the West, and wherever you turn, there is GOD's countenance. He is All-Embracing. All-Knowing).
     G- The Semâ ceremony ends with a prayer for the peace of the souls of all Prophets and all believers... After the completion of '' Semâ '' ritual all the dervishes return silently to their cells meditation (tefekkür).

 

 

 

 

Life-giving river of the Anatolian steppe:Kızılırmak

& Canoeing


The Kızılırmak is the artery which gives life to the Anatolian steppe: to flowers, insects, people and the soil. With countless tributaries and a length of 1355 kilometres the Kızılırmak is Turkey’s longest river. It rises on Mount Kızıldağ in the northeast of the central Anatolian region and is soon swelled by a series of streams close to itself in size in its home province of Sivas. By the time it crosses into the province of Kayseri it is already several times its original volume, and continues to swallow up tributaries along its westward route past towns and cities. 

At Avanos the river swerves to the northwest to pour into the Black Sea at Bafra. The Kızılırmak delta, with its numerous lakes, large and small, is one of Turkey’s most important areas for birdlife.The Turkish name  the Red River  derives from the colour of the water, whereas in antiquity the Kızılırmak was known as the Halys, a name meaning ‘salty river’. This river valley was home to diverse civilisations over Turkey’s long history, and many traces of them are still to be seen today, such as rock tombs, castles, bridges and settlements.

Five of us decided to follow the course of the Kızılırmak to see this ancient heritage at close quarters along its valley created over thousands of years. We were to travel by inflatable dinghy, and chose the month of June when the river water is at its clearest. The first stage of our journey was that part of the river in the province of Kayseri, where roads along its valley are virtually nonexistent and nature barely touched by man.

This stretch of the river, approximately eighty kilometres in length, flows past no large towns.Since differences in altitude are negligible in this part of Kayseri the river is generally sluggish, sometimes appearing as still as a lake. But this tranquility turned out to be deceptive, since on occasions we suddenly found ourselves racing along and being swept over rapids as the river suddenly surged downwards. Our chosen method of travel meant that we had to be prepared for accidental tumbles overboard and struggling to stay afloat in the rushing water.

 

The Kızılırmak valley frequently alters in appearance with the changing geological structure of the terrain. Before reaching Felahiye Bridge the river flows through high hills and occasionally rocky gorges, but beyond the bridge this scenery makes way for volcanic rock. The river is here within range of the eruptions of Mount Erciyes, the volcano which created this unique landscape. The colour of the basalt rock constantly varies, particularly in the afternoon light, to spectacular effect. The red hue of the river water is turned an even deeper crimson by the reflections of the rock on the water

This remote and rocky landscape is a haunt of large numbers of birds of many diverse species, one that we frequently spotted all along the river being the Egyptian vulture.The red waters of the river flow amidst white willows with olive green foliage, and sometimes reeds and willows together. We saw anglers in the welcome shade of the willows fishing for sheatfishes. Some were fishing with rods but others with nets, despite this being illegal. The great number of fishermen was an indicator of the teeming wildlife for which the river and its banks are a habitat. Colourful dragonflies were plentiful all along the river.  

There are many historic bridges over the Kızılırmak, and during our journey we passed a halfruined bridge near Çukur, and the Çokgöz and Tekgöz bridges. The latter was built in 1202 during the reign of Rükneddin Süleyman Şah, son of the Seljuk ruler Sultan İzzeddin Kılıç Arslan II. Çokgöz is another Seljuk bridge which is still in use. It has no less than fifteen arches, hence the name Çokgöz (Many Arched). Past this bridge the river makes a sharp turn alongside cliffs, marking the start of a stretch of spectacular beauty. Near Çukur, on a high rock rising from the river is the awesome Zırha Castle, perched like an eaglsdm eyrie. Past Hırkaköy is a great timber bridge  nearly 150 metres in length and broad enough for cars to cross  which harmonises perfectly with the river, enhancing its beauty.

The Kızılırmak brings life to all the lands its passes through. Wherever the valley floor widens out even a little, farmers take advantage of the fertile soil. Where the valley widens into plains several kilometres broad there are villages. If not for the Kızılırmak this region would be arid steppe land unsuited to agriculture. As we approached each village the sound of motorised water pumps could be heard. The farmers raise water from the river to irrigate their fields, relying mainly on water pumps, but where these are inadequate constructing huge water wheels like the one which we saw at the village of Kuşcu. 

The Kızılırmak reshapes the dry and harsh conditions of the central Turkish steppe, creating an environment along its course on which many living things depend. This was brought home to the five of us during our boat journey downriver.

 

 

 

Rafting in Zamanti River

rafting on Zamanti river


As interest in nature oriented tourism activities rises, sports practiced without harming nature gain importance. Rafting is one of these sports which represents a most gentlemanly competition.

Mankind for centuries has been attracted by the beauty of rivers and turned them into sources of life. Today, he is in need of challenging their exuberance and pitting body and mind against this natural force.

The birth of rafting doubtlessly began when man first grasped a branch floating on a river. Today, rafting is a popular sport in the world. This sport which is practiced in rapid rivers with 4 to 12 people on inflated boats made of thick latex material requires a combination of man's physical energy, mind, geographical control and physical and psychological endurance. The only protection the sportsmen have in this struggle against nature is life vests and helmets.

Arriving at the goal is the ultimate fulfillment after struggling against the wild current of a river despite all difficulties. Exploring the unspoiled nature guided by the river is the greatest pleasure that one experiences with rafting.

Many rivers in Turkey are suitable for rafting and canoe sports. In Cappadocia Zamantı River is the best for the rafting.

RAFTING AND WATER FALLS IN CAPPADOCIA

The River Zamantı is very dense at Taurus Mountains and flows in places through very narrow and deep valleys. There are two natural bridges on the river 4 km to the west of Yeşilköy, having a distance of I km from each other. Yeşilköy Falls exists at the mouth of the first ground bridge. The second one is longer / larger than the first one. The river flows under this limestone bridge which is 100 meter.

Rafting is done on the part of the River Zamantı flowing through Aladağlar National Park. Derebağ Fall, 10 km from the town of Yahyalı, creates a natural beauty with its appearance.

The distance between Kayseri and Yahyalı is 70 km on Mt. Erciyes road and 106 km on Yeşilhisar road. The distance between Yahyalı and Kapuzbaşı Falls is 65 km and most part of the road is a pathway.

When, by way of this trail the place where the water falls exist is reached a wonder of nature hidden at this corner of Aladağlar, will meet the visitor.

There is a set of water falls flowing with a roar down the slopes of the valley to the east and south of the hill called Ensenin Tepe near Kapuzbaşı village, bewildering the viewers. The water, originating as springs from the slopes of the valley and forming water falls, discharges into Suarası Deresi and then joins the River Zamantı.

There are seven sets of lakes, five of which are big and two of which are small, and each has an average height of 40-60 m and has enough water to feed one stream.

Although the place of origin is the same groundwater, they come out from different places. Had they come out from one place, they, certainly, would have been among the biggest / largest falls of the world.

Forming a set of falls side by side in a narrow and deep valley, having its water in abundance throughout the year and having considerable heights, Kapuzbaşı waterfalls are among the major falls in the country.