Cappadocia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Turkey’s most major tourism destinations, is a fascinating place where nature and history blend into a wide landscape that attracts millions of travellers every year. As per official figures, the area, which boasts unique 30 valleys, attracted 2 million tourists in the first ten months of 2021, thanks to the best of Cappadocia encompassing its geological oddity of honeycombed hills, fairytale scenery, cave dwellings, remarkable rock formations carved from volcanic ash, and hundreds of hot air balloons soaring in the sky at sunrise.
With amazing masters weaving carpets, sculpting pottery, and carving onyx stones, the region is also renowned as Turkey’s handicraft centre.
The love for these crafts is so strong that practically the whole population of Avanos (35,000 people) has mastered either weaving carpets or sculpting beautiful pottery. It doesn’t matter if you’re a top government official or a CEO of a multinational corporation; understanding the art is essential.
According to Tuncer Kaykç, a local who also serves as a tourist guide, a guy must know pottery in order to marry, and a woman will only find a partner if she knows how to weave. He said:
“While children are sent to schools to learn modern education, parents make sure that they learn pottery or weaving as well.”
The patterns and designs – the best of Cappadocia – created in this town have been used to decorate major landmarks in Istanbul, including Topkap Palace, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and Selimiye Mosque, among others.
Sultan Ceramic, a massive plant and showroom located in a cave, is owned by Zeki Dincer, stated:
“The most important reason these patterns have stood the test of time and are still fresh today after many centuries is that the clay in the region has a considerable amount of quartz in it.”
The Kzlrmak River, which passes through Avanos, brings this peculiar red mud, which craftspeople mould into unusual forms that have made the town famous for its ceramics.
Tourists flock to this area in such large numbers that there are few locals in the nearby town of Göreme. Because they live near the famous fairy chimney rock formations – the best of Cappadocia, they have converted their homes into motels. During tourist season, the town’s 400 hotels are completely booked to capacity. The area became a ghost town during the COVID-19-related restrictions, but it has just come back to life.