ALASKA - BRIEF TRAVEL GUIDE Written by TravelMake.com
Explore true North, land of spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and friendly hospitality. WHAT TO SEE, TO DO AND WHERE: Mount McKinley is highest mountain in North America (6,194 m or 20,306 feet), 150 miles from Fairbanks. Mountain climbing season is very short because of cold weather, strong winds and avalanche hazards. Nearly 1,000 people each season attempt mountain, best climbing conditions are in June.The peak is located in Denali National Park that offers superb mountain scenery and incomparable wildlife viewing, from 400-kg (900 lbs) grizzlies to Alaska state birds, willow ptarmigans, from Dall sheep to porcupines. Many visitors come to Alaska in winter to see Aurora Borealis when Northern Lights glow in all its glory. Birdwatching is also very popular among Alaska visitors, over 250 bird species inhabit area, especially southwest region. You can find all Grizzly fishingAlaska nature watch viewing sites including detail maps here. Whale watching boat trips allow visitors an opportunity to observe and photograph Beluga, Orca, Humpback and Gray whales, along with many other marine mammals, in their natural environment. Available Alaska whale watching tours are listed by geographic region here. There many miles of trails for backpackers- from pristine glaciers and fjords of remote Wrangell-St Elias National Park to famous Chilkoot Trail where you follow footsteps of Klondike gold prospectors on this demanding 33-mile route near Skagway. It is a difficult hike and usually takes three to five days. The Alaska Trail system has over 40 both land and water-based trails with recognized recreational, scenic, and historic value. If you travel by RV or motorcoach, you need to know where to camp. Alaska RV parks index comes in handy. Do not also forget to visit Talkeetna - every Alaska visitor's favorite small town is base for superb flightseeing trips around Mount McKinley. Alaska's capital Juneau is worth seeing. Founded as a roughneck mining town in 1880, Juneau is very much urbane these days. The city is also close to breathtaking glacier lookouts. If you enjoyAnchorage city driving, challenge lonely Dalton Highway , a 500-mile road leading from Fairbanks to Arctic Ocean. On way you can try recreational gold panning on any Federal stream segments along Dalton highway south of Atigun Pass. For those looking for downhill skiing opportunities, Alyeska Ski Resort, located 40 miles south of Anchorage, offers 3 double chairs, 2 fixed quads, 1 high-speed detachable quad and a 60-passenger tram to move you 840 m (2,800 feet) above scenic landscapes. For cross-country skiing fans Alaska's many trails are available to trek through mountain valleys or to ski beside ocean. Annual sled dog races (dog mushing) is Alaska's official sport that attract participants and spectators from all over world. The most famous race, Iditarod, runs for 1680 km (1,049 miles) from Anchorage to Nom and lasts 9 days starting on first Saturday in March. Throughout year many Alaska's communities host festivals and carnivals, there are interesting events for everyone. One of them is World Ice Art Championships held at Fairbanks in February-March where competitors carve magnificent sculptures from blocks of ice. Among other outdoor activities we would like to mention are boating on Alaska waterways, snowmachining and ATV-ing. We also devoted three separate web pages to Alaska sport fishing , hunting and sightseeing cruises.
Cappadocia, Turkey - Land Of WondersWritten by Stan Trof
Combined forces of mankind and nature have created three wonders of Cappadocia- its "fairy chimneys" (coneshaped pillars of tuff capped with basalt) in unique valleys that look like another planet, ancient underground cities and 1500-year old rock cut Christian churches. All of it is concentrated in area of approximately 100x100 km in central part of Turkey. Humans first set foot in region about 10,000 years ago. Then, from 3,500 to 1,200 BC Cappadocia was a part of a powerful Hittite state. Phrygians took over administration in 8th century BC. Five hundred years later they were replaced by Persians. Alexander Great occupied territory in 333 BC. Cappadocia's past history includes being a Roman state, a part of Byzantine Empire, a place where many early Christian saints including St.Paul found a shelter, where they lived and taught. Finally, Cappadocia has become a noticable region of modern Turkey with predominant importance of agriculture and tourism.
WHAT TO SEE AND WHERE: Fairy Chimneys were created as a result of wind and water erosion when small harder pieces of rock remained on top of larger and softer rock columns. This out-of-this-world landscape impressed George Lucas so much that his original plan was to shoot some Star Wars' episodes in this area. Located in a spectacular valley between towns of Nevseshir and Urgup there are very different, interesting fairy chimneys. UNESCO declared area a World Heritage Site. Some of fairy chimneys have been inhabited for many years, with rooms, windows and staircases being laboriously curved inside creating up to 5-storey structures inside. Today some of these are also providing services to tourism as pensions.
The largest of 36 underground cities in area is at Derinkuyu. It is at a distance of 29 km from Nevsehir, provincial center of 7,000 people. Derinkuyu underground city is located under a hill, was found by chance and opened to public in 1965. It covers a 4 square km area and was calculated as able to shelter 2,000 households on 7 floors beneath surface, reaching a depth of 70 to 85 meters. Archeologists tend to believe that Hittites were starters of underground communities which in 6th and 7th were expanded by early Christians into a very extensive complexes with air shafts, kitchens, living quarters, churches, water wells, horse stables and wine cellars. These elaborate subterranean systems were used by people who had accepted Christianity against their enemies both as a shelter and as a safe place to carry out their worship. Next largest underground city is at Kaymakly, 20 km from Nevsehir. Despite of fact that only four underground levels have been excavated, there are speculations that there can be as many as 11 in total. There is also a tunnel that connects underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu (9 km long!) that has a width of of over 2 meters, but unfortunatley it is not opened to public as parts of tunnel have collapsed.
Among other significant underground communities in region we should mention underground monastery of Ozkonak and Tatlarin underground city with existing Christian frescoes. Rock cut Christian churches. It is estimated that over 400 Christian churches, chapels and monasteries were built in Cappadocia during Byzantine period until 13th century. Most of them were hollowed out in fairy chimneys, hills and in underground caves. The Tokali church is largest one in region, it was built in beginning of 10th century.