Thursday, December 02, 2010

First day in Goreme

We walked around town and it is so surreal. The whole place is riddled with caves and newer buildings were built over them. The caves become used for storage. Some of them has chapels or churches in them. It was so exciting. Our guide is German and has lived in Cappadocia the last 8 years and loves the place. It was great having him because he showed us chapels of different ages, from the most primitive to the more recent, not as recent like modern but recent like the 11th century as opposed to the 9th century. From the outside it didn't look like much but once you go inside, it opens up into a vaulted building with domes, apses and naves like a regular free standing building. Our guide was able to show us what we were looking at where the frescoes were concerned and it was so fascinating. This tour only works if one is interested in old churches. We've met other tourists who just walks in and out of the churches with not so much as an exclamation from their mouths. We were in awe of all that we saw, the questions we have.... who were these carver/architects? Who were the fresco painters? Who lived here before? What was their theology? Why did they leave? Since coming back I've made tremendous effort to try to answer these questions. I don't know how many books I have now of Cappadocia. It can't grow anymore because that is all I could find written about Cappadocia. People from Cappadocia was mentioned in Acts of the Apostles and also the first Epistle Of Peter. The oldest article I have is an article from National Geographic dated April 1919 and another one dated 1939. Both are fascinating articles. In 1919 the only way to get to Cappadocia was on horseback. In 1939, the National Geographic traveler drove a Ford car, it was about the first car that ever went to Cappadocia, there weren't even any roads. Since then great roads have been built and it is so easy to visit Cappadocia. There is even a 24 hour shuttle between Kayseri airport and Goreme. The easiest way is to fly into and out of Kayseri. Then take the shuttle to any of the villages in Cappadocia.
I remember being in Prague last year when a Chinese man scolded his wife for wanting to see 'that old and moldy church.' The fun part of churches is the older and the moldier they are, the more fascinating they are. These cave churches are at least one thousand years old and they are the oldest form of Byzantine art you can still see in this world. It reminded me of Matera, another cave settlement in Southern Italy. Now that's another fascinating place. I found out about Matera after watching the movie 'Passion of the Christ.' The movie was shot on location in Matera. I remember my first sight of Matera, all I could say was, 'Oh my God, oh my God..... omg, omg! Cappadocia is one of such places, a very special place.

No comments: