Turkey. Cappadocia is an amazing and unusual country.
Cappadocia is a sense of time. These are millions of years of geological processes, the movement of the elements of air, water, and earth.
After monotonous loops, dives, descents and ascents, having finally overcome another ridge, the road suddenly breaks out into space and joyfully rushes into the valley. In front of me, as far as the eye can see, Cappadocia, perhaps the most amazing and unusual country that I have seen, stretches. I am in Turkey, in the central part of Anatolia. Yesterday I was entertained with my own fires and bazaars in Istanbul-Constantinople, and today I am in a completely different world, in a different reality. Once there was a sea here, then volcanoes raged, spewing millions of tons of ash and lava. Then there was only wind. For centuries, this talented sculptor grind out his masterpieces in volcanic rocks, exposing pyramidal spiers. Heavy rains completed the work. Pictures of Pushkin’s fairy tales arise in memory, where 33 bogatyrs slowly emerge from the abyss: first heads crowned with pointed helmets, then shoulders, and finally a broad chest in mail. And now everything is ready. Before us is a whole country with hundreds of myelins and valleys filled with even rows of tuff giants, reaching a height of up to 30 meters, and pointed or dark basalt hats climbing up steep cliffs or lurking in narrow canyons. Absolutely fabulous, alien landscapes.
Thousands, maybe tens of thousands of years ago, people came here. One can imagine the amazement of these people when they saw that villages, cities, temples and castles were already waiting for them with an unknown hand. They just had to, taking ready-made architectural forms, fill them with contents: cut through doors, windows and arrange their dwelling. Inspired by the genius of nature, people went even further. They literally bit into the ground and built entire underground cities, reaching seven floors in depth, with perfect ventilation and heating systems. According to the Greek historian, the army of Alexander the Great stayed for the night in such an underground city, completely accommodating it. Who and when came to this land – the Semites, the Hittites, the Lydians, the Persians, the Greeks, leave the question to the historians. The country owes its name to the Persians, who called it Katpatuk, which means “The Land of Beautiful Horses”. Cappadocia is a sense of time. These are millions of years of geological processes, the movement of the elements of air, water, and earth. This is the greatness of nature, which has challenged the right to architecture in humans – the traditional art of the mind. Cappadocia is the grandeur of the spirit of man, since the time of the early Christians, who were fleeing from the Romans and found refuge here in a remote desert. More than a thousand Christian cave churches and monasteries with amazingly beautiful frescoes are vivid evidence of this.
When you stand in the twilight of an empty temple, surrounded by the ancient faces of saints and shimmering rays of light flowing from a narrow trench and cracks in the walls, you literally feel the time to touch. Behind a threshold the bright sun beats in eyes. On the contrary – the collapsed rock laid out a square of the church with a half-erased fresco. It is said that sv. Peter was captured by the Romans in the capital of Cappadocia of that time, Caesarea, St. Basil the Great was archbishop of Cappadocia in the 4th century, and his associate of St. George the Theologian was born here in the city of Nazianzos. In this mysterious country, I met an amazing man, a Frenchman, Jacques Aviz, an architect and an artist, Jacques came to Cappadocia many years ago and realized that this was his home, or rather his space in which he could live and create. The house is now called Les Maisons dc Cappadoce (House of Cappadocia) and is a small hotel consisting of seven spacious houses in the village of Uchisar, which Jacques literally raised from the ruins, bought from local peasants. The houses are located on a hillside, along which the village climbs to the castle of the cliff of red tuff, dotted with loopholes, windows and stairs. From here there is a stunning view of the whole plain. Each house or, if you wish, the villa is very individual and bears its name: “House of the Sea”, “House with Spade” “House of Sheep”, etc. Immediately pay attention that architecture and interiors are one inseparable whole, made by man with a subtle artistic sense, an enthusiastic and talented man. All the details of the furnishings, be it a shabby kilim, a large earthen jar, or a fragment of stone carving, occupy their definite place, not conflicting with the environment, but complementing and decorating each other. The houses consist of two parts – ground, with spacious terraces and rooms, and an underground, or rocky, carved into the rock, of equal size, with vaulted ceilings and chisel marks on the walls. For me, traveling in Cappadocia means living with Jacques Aves to Les Maisons de Cappadocc. Sit on the terrace, shrinking from the morning coolness, and watch the slowly rising sun gradually paint the valleys and gorges stretched out in front of you in different colors, and on the horizon the silhouette of a huge extinct volcano appears more clearly.