After breakfast, we meet our guide and driver and head to the amazing underground city of Kaymakli.
Signs of an early troglodyte lifestyle are evident in the communal kitchens blackened by smoke, stables and storage spaces carved into the rocks as need arose. The maze of living quarters hundreds of feet below ground is startling proof that tens of thousands of people existed deep within the earth.
We then continue to the small village of Mustafapasa (Sinasos), which has old stone houses with attractive carved facades dating back to the end of the 19th century, and a cluster of small churches. Once known as Sinasos when it was a thriving Greek community before World War I. Places of interest include a 19th century medrese, the Ayios Vasilios Church, and the Church of Sts Constantine and Helena. We enjoy lunch at an Old Greek House this afternoon before continuing to Avanos.
Located on the banks of Kizilirmak River, the ancient name of Avanos used to be Vanessa. The city's most famous historical feature, which is still relevant and very visible today, is its production of earthenware pottery. The ceramic trade in this district and its countless pottery factories date right back to the Hittites. We visit one of the handicraft centers to see the production and to get brief information on the art of pottery. We then continue to a famous winery to sample some of the wine produced in the area before returnin to the hotel for some free time.
Late afternoon, we meet together as we head out to Sarihan to watch a Whirling Dervishes performance (also known as a Sema). Dervishes, initiates of the Sufi Islam sect, are famous for their practice of twirling in an exquisite spiritual ceremony that UNESCO named a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The old Saruhan Caravanserai, built in 1249 and totally restored, is the place for the holy ceremony of the whirling dervishes in Cappadocia. The ceremony, inspired by the great Mevlana (1207-1273), is part of the Turkish history, tradition, culture, and beliefs. Performed only by religious men, while whirling endlessly, they have their arms open, their right hands directed to the sky, and the left ones turned toward the earth. They turn from right to left. Pivoting around the heart, conveying God's spiritual gifts to the people - to us. Watching this ceremony, carried over for hundreds of years, is an experience that a visitor in Turkey should not miss! During the ceremony the audience is not allowed to drink, eat, speak, or taking photos since it is a religious practice.
We return to the hotel for an evening at leisure.