Our balloon pilot said the caves in the Rose Valley were no longer inhabited, that the Turkish government had moved everyone into the towns about 50 years ago. Supposedly a safety issue.
He was wrong.
Oh, I’m sure the government did make that edict. But just because the government tells you to do something doesn’t mean you will do it. That is pretty much a universal truth.
If you are a tourist visiting Cappadocia you can stay in a cave hotel. I passed up on that. I thought it might be a little cool and damp (our visit was in February), and I didn’t know how adventurous my travel companion was. Plus, staying in a regular hotel was a lot cheaper than in a cave. I have a reputation for frugality.
From what I was told after I got there, the caves are pretty much the same temperature year- round. They don’t get too cold in winter and they are pleasantly cool in the summer. I suppose if I had done further research beforehand I would have learned that.
Going on a hike through the Rose Valley, which was really more of a walk, I didn’t try anything adventurous. I was alone, and didn’t want to take a chance on breaking a leg in some cave with no-one to call for help. Not only and I frugal, I am prudent. But I did decide to check out what had been described to me in my balloon flight that morning as an old convent. I was kind of curious to see if I could get inside and explore a bit.
Turns out that wasn’t possible. The place wasn’t abandoned.
I don’t know who was living there. I don’t speak Turkish, so I didn’t knock on the door. Not to mention that most people I know wouldn’t be too keen on someone just knocking on their door and asking for a tour of the house. I don’t even know if anyone was home.
Whoever was in residence had made some changes from the original cave; that much was obvious from the glassed in windows, with curtains. And the power lines. I was disappointed by not getting to see what I wanted, and left with some unanswered questions.
Who holds the title to this land? Are the residents squatters, or do they pay rent to someone? Do they have jobs, and if so where do they work? Does the government know there are still people living in caves in Cappadocia?
There was no-one to ask – I had the trails to myself that afternoon, maybe I should plan to back there. Soon.