Tuff the stuff that makes up Fairy Chimneys doesn’t just tower over you, it is also beneath your feet as it is just as easy to dig down as up.
There was a sign by an inauspicious hole in the rock saying not to enter if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure or suffer from panic attacks. As I only realised I had two of the three after returning from holiday, I followed our guide as he led us like Alice following the White Rabbit into a subterranean world. The ancient underground city of Ozkonak is not a place to visit if you suffer from claustrophobia and becomes so cramped that you feel suffocated by the lack of space. The city was discovered in 1972 and there are ten floors but only four are open to the public.
Aykut explained that the caves were where the inhabitants of Cappadocia have hidden from aggressors since the Assyrians then the Hittites, Persians, Alexander the Great, etc in fact, right up to the WWI when modern Turkey emerged. When the threat of attack came, every man, woman, child and animal vanished and were quietly cloistered in tunnels for days, weeks and months on end.
Crouching we made our way single-file along the main passage from where the whole city spreads out on different levels. We saw rooms for people with kitchen areas and holes that appeared to be wells, we entered rooms for animals, with mangers carved into the walls. There was a ventilation system, which ran between levels, a winery and common among the underground cities huge millstone doors. At Ozkonak, they have a special feature – in the ceiling above the doors are small holes, these were used to pour hot oil on the enemy or to spear them from the tunnel above.
We retraced our steps through the labyrinth and spilled back into daylight. I have to say, I was very glad to get that first intake of fresh air. If underground cities are your thing, there are 36 of them to see in Cappadocia.
That evening we ended up in another underground cave. Against our better judgement, we decided to try the ‘Turkish Evening’. We have done lots of these type of excursions in the past so nothing new but unfortunate this show was quite mediocre. The folk dancers did not look happy, were not very coordinated and looked as if they were counting the steps. The girls danced, the guys danced and there was a wedding dance but we weren’t really impressed with any of it.
The belly dancer was interesting but as Kate said when she did the splits … I can do that. She brought up members of the audience and had them dance and of course, there was the drunk who thought he was the dog’s wotsits. Once up there was no getting him down even when the folk dancers came out again he joined them. Thank god he wasn´t a Brit! And so another day ended, and this was our only let down of the holiday, we really thought we were going to a dinner show with entertainment. What we got was a not very good meal and a bit of a spectacle.