Ortahisar - a Troglodyte village with rock-cut castle
The small farming village of Ortahisar has been left off the tourist map for a long time. Known for the jagged castle that gives the town its name, Ortahisar is the epitome of Cappadocia's rustic agricultural soul.
The imposing 90-meter-high structure of Ortahisar Castle, known as the biggest fairy chimney in the Cappadocia region closed to visits because of the danger of collapse, has been reopened nine years ago following restoration works.
Ortahisar means middle castle, and as its name implies, it is central among the Cappadocian towns of Goreme, Urgup, Uchisar and Nevsehir, and only a few kilometers from the Goreme Open Air Museum. When entering the town do not miss doors in the rock surfaces on both sides. These doors are the best example of the cool-air storages in Cappadocia. In these natural air-conditioned rooms, lemons and oranges from the Mediterranean region, apples from Nigde, local potatoes, quinces and onions are still stored. Green lemons slowly turn yellow in these store-rooms.
Ortahisar village is famous for its friendly inhabitants, picturesque stone houses on the winding narrow streets.
This natural fortress, a prominent landmark in the region, honeycombed with caves and tunnels, camouflaged by nature without the slightest indication of human presence inside, has partly crumbled away revealing some of its interior. Today it has been restored and the peak is accessible by a staircase. The Ortahisar Castle offers a magnificent panorama over the fairy chimneys of Hallacdere and the snowy peak of Mt. Erciyes.
The area is also noteworthy by the number of old churches, such as Ali Reis Church with Christ on the main dome, the Balkan Deresi and the Balkan Churches, Sarica Church, the Kepez Church and Pancarlik Church in Pancarlik Valley, which has very fine frescoes on its ceiling... Some churches in the vicinity of Ortahisar have been opened recently.
The Hallacdere monastic complex (also known as Hospital Monastery) 1 km northeast of Ortahisar is one of the best examples of the courtyard monasteries. It has vestibule, a kitchen, a large tomb chamber, five rooms of different sizes and a church with an inscribed-cross plan with four columns. The animal-head decoration on column capitals and the sculpture of a human figure on the wall are unique in Cappadocia. The ground level inside the complex is more than one metre below that of the courtyard level because of the silting.
REGIONS AND SITES OF CAPPADOCIA
♦ Underground City of Derinkuyu - the largest & deepest excavated subterranean city, which could house up to 20.000 people
♦ Underground City of Kaymakli - the next largest excavated subterranean city, which could house up to 5.000 people
♦ Göreme National Park & Open-air Museum - cave churches with frescoes
♦ Zelve Valley & Open-air Museum - an empty cave town with churches
♦ Paşabağ (Monk Valley) - mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys
♦ Ihlara Valley - the deepest gorge of Anatolia
♦ Devrent Valley (Imagination Valley) - animal-shaped fairy chimneys
♦ Uchisar Castle - A rock-cut castle. You’ll see it driving back and forth
♦ Ortahisar Castle - Troglodyte village with rock-cut castle
♦ Sobessos - The only late-Roman/early-Byzantine settlement found in Cappadocia, mosaic pavements, Roman baths
♦ Avanos Town - Town of pottery & craftsmanship
♦ Hacibektaş Town - Centre of Bektasi sect of Islam
♦ Gülşehir Town - First settlements in Cappadocia
♦ Caravanserais - Inns, «caravan palaces» on camel trains through Asia Minor