June 16-17th, 2014
We had one night in Cappadocia and we stayed in the little town of Mustafapasa, a bit off the normal tourist track.
Mustafapasa has an interesting history. It was one of the towns that was directly affected by the ‘population exchange’ in 1923, when the people of Greek heritage living in Turkey were forced to return to Greece, and vise versa. This forced’' ‘exchange’ tore towns apart and neighbors from each other. This sign in the middle of town depicts both the tearful goodbye and the healing that had to take place.
Many of the local hotels in this region were advertised to be ‘cave hotels, but our hotel, the Cappadocia Estates, was not so much of a cave as it was built into the side of the hill.
We climbed up several sets of steep, outside stairs (fortunately, the hotel staff carried our bags up for us). When we got to our room……..WOW what a view!
Just outside our door was this courtyard area with a table that looked like it might be just right for ones’ morning coffee.
Our room was lovely……….
But, so much more room than our short visit would allow us time to enjoy!
After quickly settling in, we walked next door for a bit of dinner.
The Old Greek House Restaurant was housed in a restored historic old building.
We sat at a table in an open air, though roofed, dining room and ate a delicious Turkish meal of a clay pot cooked stew (and, of course, bread to sop it all up!).
An interesting side note- Martha Stewart came to Cappadocia with her crew to film an episode for her TV show and ate at this restaurant. They have the pictures to prove it!
Right next to the Old Greek House was this building front. We thought that it was interesting that the building had the emblem of the lions on it, something that we had not seen used very much.
And in the garden next to our hotel, we noticed this woman gathering greens and vegetables, perhaps for her dinner. Note- the traditional clothing. Here in the rural area of Cappadocia we noticed more of the women in traditional clothing. In the city of Istanbul, Few people dressed like this.
On our second day of sightseeing, we had some time to explore the town of Mustafapasa, on foot, with our guide.
I’ll take a second to introduce you to our guide. Sinem is a sweet 30 year old young woman, originally from Ankara (the capital of Turkey) who graduated from the university in Kayseri, having completed a 4 year program to be an official, licensed guide. She was very knowledgeable, and a delight to get to know. Again, there are so many more similarities than differences. When we asked how her mother felt about her living away from home, Sinem replied that her mother “wants her to be happy, but she does keep mentioning that she could maybe move closer to home”. Sounds familiar…… ; )
On with our exploring……..
The town of Mustafapasa is small and easily walk-able, though built on the hills.
We found an interesting mix of old and new. A number of the small, almost rundown houses, had solar panels and satellite dishes.
Yet, as we strolled along, this woman walked ahead of us with her cow.
There are still a number of abandoned cave houses…….It is not hard to picture how the town had grown up around those hollowed out dwellings.
Many of the cave houses are being renovated and turned into hotels in response to the growing tourism industry.
Mustafapasa is a charming little town, not yet spoiled by the great crowds.
I realized that I might not have mentioned that our two days of sightseeing included our guide, Sinem, and a very capable driver who drove us from place to place and waited patiently for us, always there when we were ready to move on. Without our driver, we would not have been able to cover the area and see as many sights as we did.