Hand-Woven Turkish Rug Demonstration
Today was spent outdoors in Cappadocia, the city often described as “moonscape” because of the magnificent sculpting caused by erosion. Since there are over 3,500 rock churches formed from various types of volcanic rock, we visited the Goreme Open Air Museum, which houses 30 of these rock churches dating back to the 9th-11th centuries. One of the most impressive of these, the Dark Church, is lit only by one tiny window, preserving the brightness of the frescoes depicting scenes from the New Testament. After leaving the Goreme Valley, we headed toward an equally beautiful area with fairy chimneys, the Hunter Valley. Here we got an up close look at how people lived in these rock formations. Some of us even climbed into the home of St. Simeon, a towering formation with steep steps and several levels of windows and chambers. What a beautiful way to experience the region’s geological landscape and rich religious heritage.
After lunch we got to experience a live hand-woven rug demonstration in an enormous Turkish rug warehouse. The silk was harvested there from individual silkworms, spun into thread, and then delicately hand-woven into beautifully intricate rugs. The salesmen were so charming that many could not resist leaving without taking one home! The rain put a damper on the end of our afternoon, but it didn’t stop us from taking in the view of Cappadocia’s highest peak, Mt. Erciyes. Some of us continued touring into the evening with a stop at a whirling dervish show, where men of the Mevlevi order danced a symbolic ritualized routine that incorporates twirling. The rest of the group called it an evening, anticipating an early morning wake-up call (4:40am!) for the hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia.