Panoramic Views of History: Cappadocia Castles
Built with the unique architectural structure of Cappadocia unlike the castles found throughout the country today, the Cappadocia castles attract a lot of attention. The most important of these castles within the tourism destinations are Uçhisar Castle and Ortahisar Castle. Nevşehir Castle, on the other hand, was built with classical Ottoman-Seljuk architecture which appeals mostly to local tourists, is now open to visitors after the completion of its restoration.
Uçhisar Castle is located right in the very center of Uçhisar. The castle is also known as the panoramic terrace of the whole region due to its location. Basically, Uçhisar castle consists of two big fairy chimneys. The larger structure is called Ağa Castle while the smaller structure is called the Çavuş Castle by the public. It was built by carving large rock structures and many additions were made in time. The castle sits completely on natural stone. There are many cisterns and tomb structures carved inside the castle.
Certain parts of the castle have been restored and open to visitors, but several rooms carved inside the castle are not open to visitors. The castle has recently been restored and ascends to the terrace have been arranged and railings have been installed for safety. Visitors can climb to the top of Uçhisar Castle and take panoramic photos and enjoy the panoramic view of Cappadocia. The castle was used for surveillance purposes throughout history, especially in the 12th and 13th centuries, both in the Seljuk and Ottoman periods.
Ortahisar Castle is a large structure located on a single rock between Uçhisar and Ürgüp. Ortahisar is a very old settlement. Starting with the Etiler in 1500 B.C., the history of the settlement continued with the Lycians, Persians, Romans and Byzantines, and after them the Seljuks and Ottomans lived in the area. Ortahisar castle is known as the biggest single piece fairy chimney of the region. With its multi-story structure, the castle looks like a historical skyscraper. The castle has been used for protection and shelter throughout history. It includes living quarters and warehouses.
At the beginning, life started in the castle and then as the population increased, the settlements spread around the castle. There are round stones in the castle that cut off the contact with the outside world. Thus, the conquest of the castle could not be carried out in normal ways during the Ottoman period. Ottomans conquered the castle by digging a tunnel from beneath the castle into it. The valley side of the castle is quite high and different settlements can be seen at the bottom of the valley. Visitors watch Ortahisar Castle from the viewing terraces on the edge of the lavender gardens on the opposite hill of the valley and take photos.
Nevşehir Castle is located near Nevşehir city center. The castle was built on the ancient historical city of Kaya Şehir. Built in the 10th century, the castle has classical Seljuk Ottoman architecture. Nevşehir Castle has a completely different structure from Uçhisar and Ortahisar Castles and mostly appeal to local tourists. It is not very well known since it is distant from the popular destinations of Cappadocia. As its restoration has just been completed and opened to visitors its recognition is increasing.
Kaya City located just below the castle was discovered during the implementation of the TOKİ housing project in Nevşehir city center and the project was cancelled. Therefore, necessary restorations were made in the lower part of the castle and Kaya City was opened to visitors. Currently, visitors have a chance to visit both the Kaya City and Nevşehir Castle at the same time. Nevşehir Castle can also be visited as the viewing terrace of Nevşehir city center. Due to its location, the castle can be visited both during the day and at night to enjoy the wonderful city view.