Travel Articles

Turkey- Guzelyurt & Underground Cities

by Equitrekking host Darley Newman

Güzelyurt is a village in Cappadocia in Central Turkey, which has not been totally discovered by tourists or the modern world, allowing travelers who do make it here to see Turks living a traditional lifestyle.

Traveling through the village on a Cappadocia horseback riding vacation, I felt more in touch with the people, many of whom were traveling on their donkeys. Everywhere that we went, we were invited into people’s homes and courtyards for food and drinks, from cucumbers to grapes to ayran, a salty yogurt drink that is popular throughout Turkey. To escape the heat, we tied up our horses and ducked into an underground city, which was carved into the area’s soft rock centuries ago.

There are underground cities throughout Cappadocia, where early Christians hid to avoid persecution. It was kind of eerie to be underground and definitely not for the claustrophobic. I had climbed two stories down a narrow shaft and was peering into a deep well using my flashlight when the lights shorted out! After using my little light to avoid falling into the crevices in the floor that lead further underground, I crawled up and out. Back safely of our horses, we continued into the village.

After our ride, Ahmet Diler, whose wonderful Arabian horse’s we rode through his company Kirkit Voyage, invited me to sit in the town square where the men play fierce games of backgammon and drink strong Turkish tea. We spent the next nights sleeping in a restored 19th century monastery in Güzelyurt, a town where you can truly ride back in time.