CAPPADOCIA, Turkey - Land of Wonders

Written by

Combined forces of mankind and nature have created three wonders of Cappadocia- its "fairy chimneys" (coneshaped pillars of tuff capped with basalt) inrepparttar unique valleys that look like another planet, ancient underground cities and 1500-year old rock cut Christian churches. All of it is concentrated inrepparttar 139044 area of approximately 100x100 km inrepparttar 139045 central part of Turkey. Humans first set foot inrepparttar 139046 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 overrepparttar 139047 administration inrepparttar 139048 8th century BC. Five hundred years later they were replaced by Persians. Alexanderrepparttar 139049 Great occupiedrepparttar 139050 territory in 333 BC. Cappadocia's past history includes being a Roman state, a part ofrepparttar 139051 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 declaredrepparttar 139052 area a World Heritage Site. Some ofrepparttar 139053 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 inrepparttar 139054 area is at Derinkuyu. It is at a distance of 29 km from Nevsehir,repparttar 139055 provincial center of 7,000 people. Derinkuyu underground city is located under a hill, was found by chance and opened torepparttar 139056 public in 1965. It covers a 4 square km area and was calculated as able to shelter 2,000 households on 7 floors beneathrepparttar 139057 surface, reaching a depth of 70 to 85 meters. Archeologists tend to believe thatrepparttar 139058 Hittites wererepparttar 139059 starters ofrepparttar 139060 underground communities which inrepparttar 139061 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 byrepparttar 139062 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 ofrepparttar 139063 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 connectsrepparttar 139064 underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu (9 km long!) that has a width of of over 2 meters, but unfortunatley it is not opened torepparttar 139065 public as parts ofrepparttar 139066 tunnel have collapsed. Among other significant underground communities inrepparttar 139067 region we should mentionrepparttar 139068 underground monastery of Ozkonak andrepparttar 139069 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 duringrepparttar 139070 Byzantine period untilrepparttar 139071 13th century. Most of them were hollowed out in fairy chimneys, hills and in underground caves. The Tokali church isrepparttar 139072 largest one inrepparttar 139073 region, it was built inrepparttar 139074 beginning ofrepparttar 139075 10th century. Decorated with a cycle containingrepparttar 139076 life of Jesus, it is located right inrepparttar 139077 town of Goreme. The Karanlik church, also located in Goreme is among best preserved in Cappadocia with lively paintings depictingrepparttar 139078 consecration of Jesus,repparttar 139079 Last Supper,repparttar 139080 Crucifixion andrepparttar 139081 apostles. The Eskigumus rock cut monastery (close torepparttar 139082 town of Nigde) isrepparttar 139083 only one where you can see a frescoe with smiling Virgin Mary. Recent discovery ofrepparttar 139084 monastery in 1963 allowed it to escape vandalism to which many ofrepparttar 139085 Cappadocian churches and monasteries were subjected. Well-preserved wall paintings decoraterepparttar 139086 spacious main church are known to be one ofrepparttar 139087 best examples ofrepparttar 139088 Byzantine art in all of Cappadocia.

Tourist Season Again!

Written by Doug Bower

It is tourist season here in Guanajuato. The streets are once again crawling with pasty-white-legged gringos looking for a good time and wanting to blow a tremendous amount of money.

Here is where I come in as your humble, sincere, and most observant columnist. I would like to offer a few of today's observations onrepparttar 2005 Guanajuato Tourist Season.

Tourism—here is how it is supposed to work:

You spend many hours at your job and work lots of overtime to save up enough money to takerepparttar 139043 family to Mexico. You look at endless travel brochures, watch every special onrepparttar 139044 Discovery channel that hasrepparttar 139045 name Mexico in it, and even start tellingrepparttar 139046 boys down at Gipper's where you are takingrepparttar 139047 family this summer.

The summer vacation arrives. You are excited beyond your ability to express. You pack. You putrepparttar 139048 kids and wife on a plane and fly to Mexico. Your much-dreamed-of vacation has finally begun.

Everyone is sworn to be on his or her best and most humble behavior as a guest in someone else's country. And, that is, after all, what you are, as you all agree—a guest.

You would not go to Grandma's house and fart loudly in front of Granny and all her old crony sisters—of course not. You would excuse yourself and go torepparttar 139049 bathroom. You would try using toilet paper as a muffler, mashing it ever so gently unto your delicate rectal tissues, so as not to gross out allrepparttar 139050 old folks as they are trying to eat their nice bread pudding when they are actually farting themselves but saying nothing.

You are a guest and you will not act in someone else's home as you would in your own. This, you know, applies to being in someone else's country as well.

Tourism—here is how it actually works:

The kids scream nonstop onrepparttar 139051 streets of Mexico because they cannot have a Happy Meal;repparttar 139052 right cartoons are not onrepparttar 139053 NON-existent television set in a hotel room that resembles someone's bedroom fromrepparttar 139054 1700's; there are no playgrounds or theme parks. There is only a bunch of Baroque buildings that they think is a salad dressing when you try explaining to themrepparttar 139055 word, Baroque.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
Terms of Use