There is a village named Uchisar, 4 km from Goreme, with the same name as its castle. You can get here in several ways:
- Rental car
- Walking along the road
- Walking along the hiking trail through the valleys
The most convenient way is to go along the red route, then you will reach the castle comfortably and listen to the historical information from the guide.
Uchisar means three castles in Turkish, and the building resembles a head of Swiss cheese. This castle was for defensive purposes during the Ottoman period, as in Urgup and Ortahisar. This city had a system to warn the neighborhood of the approach of enemies visually. Currently, you pay a small fee to enter the castle, and museum cards aren’t valid here. We strongly recommend going to Uchisar, especially if you don’t plan to fly with hot air balloons.
There is a good viewing terrace for the whole of Cappadocia from 60 meters. Consider this castle a budget-friendly hot air balloon substitute.
The ancient castle of Uchisar was not built by human hands but by nature. It locates inside a tuff mountain. This tuff is a very soft material. When you touch the wall of any room, you can see how the tuff breaks down. Tunnels and caves created by humans surround the castle. Previously, up to 3,000 people lived here.
Uchisar Castle: Big and Several-Storey Castle
Uchisar castle is currently not fully operational for visitors. Due to periodic earthquakes, many rooms haven’t yet been excavated; for safety reasons, not all found rooms can be used by tourists. However, you can enjoy magnificent views from the top of the castle. See, for example, volcanoes, valleys, and stone mushrooms.
60-70 million years ago, four volcanoes erupted simultaneously on the territory of modern Cappadocia: Erciyes, Gulludag, Hasandag, and Melendiz. For reference, if the volcano is vigorous, it can spew lava from a distance of a thousand kilometers.
For example, Erciyes volcano is 90-100 km away from Uchisar. It’s the smallest by eruptions and can be seen from the fort’s observation deck. The remaining volcanoes are no more than 250 km from Uchisar. Therefore, during the movement of the volcanoes, all the lava flowed into the valleys of Cappadocia.
Please note that all valleys around Uchisar are in different colors. These are generally pink and white. The color of the valleys depends on the fossils. For example, if lava is 1600 degrees, copper and iron are combined.
This is how you obtained the pink layers of Cappadocia. If the temperature of the lava was below 600 degrees, it mixed with sulfates, giving the valleys a white color. Dark gray inclusions in the valleys are basalt compounds.
The famous stone mushrooms of Cappadocia, fairy chimneys, which means fairy fireplaces in Turkish, were newly created by nature and volcanoes. The mushroom caps are hard basalt tempered lava, and the legs are soft tuff.
It took about 1000 years to create the fairy chimneys. Now the legs under the base of the cap are gradually thinning; the caps are falling off. This is how the cones, also found in the valleys, are formed.
Fairy chimneys emerged at a time when people used stone mushrooms as houses and shelters. People would hollow out several tall rooms if the mushroom cones were dense and high enough.
They lit a fire inside the building, and the light came partly through the small, cut-out windows. Strangers who didn’t know about human settlements in mushrooms thought about magic. There was a theory that fairies cast spells in their fireplaces because the mushrooms looked like the chimneys of fairy huts.
Pigeon Valley (Guvercinlik Valley)
Pigeon Valley is seen from the observation terrace of Uchisar castle. The total length is 4 km. The valley starts from Goreme village and reaches Uchisar. There’re hiking trails that you can walk on your own.
While walking along the Pigeon Valley, you will encounter many rock pigeons. Previously, pigeons raise as a source of meat and eggs and used as postmen. But the main reason for creating pigeon farms was the garbage. It was used as fertilizer for vegetable gardens and fields and was especially valuable for vineyards.
After all, Cappadocia is famous for its wine aged on tuff rocks. Now pigeons are also bred, but not on such a scale. If you don’t have time for a 4 km hike, then take a tour of the green. One of the parts of the tour is an overview of Pigeon Valley from the observation deck.
Esentepe Hill (Bird’s Eye View)
Esentepe awaits you with its perfect view on the Goreme and Avanos road. This area overlooks Goreme National Park.
You will witness a unique beauty thanks to the viewing points. In one of the cafes and restaurants, you can view the view with a coffee and then enjoy a delicious meal.
Hot Air Balloon
Cappadocia hot air balloon is one of the most visited tours by tourists from all over the world.
You can watch the valleys from a bird’s eye view and enjoy them instantly with the most reliable balloon tour we recommend on your Uchisar trip.