Known for the spectacular fairy chimneys and castles, Uchisar offers a great way to see the Cappadocia’s beauty from above. It’s the highest point of Cappadocia and offers views that you won’t find so easily anywhere else in the region. The heavenly beauty of the landscape would make you feel as if you are in a fairyland. From dramatic rock formations to awe-inspiring castles, Uchisar is a must-visit destination in Cappadocia.
Many people, when visiting Cappadocia, prefer visiting Goreme and Urgup, and they miss out on the opportunity to discover the true charm of Uchisar. You shouldn’t be one of them, as the town is worth a visit.
How to reach Uchisar?
Uchisar is located in Nevsehir Province, about 6 kilometers from Goreme, 13 kilometers from Urgup, and 726 kilometers from Istanbul. If you want to reach Uchisar from Goreme, your best option would be a public bus. You can also rent a driver or walk from Goreme to Uchisar via Pigeon Valley. From Kayseri Erkilet Airport, Uchisar is an hour away, while from the Nevsehir Cappadocia Airport, it’s just thirty four minutes away. From the airports, you can take a minibus or a taxi to reach Uchisar.
A brief history of Uchisar
It has not been established yet when the town of Uchisar was first settled and who were the first settlers. It is the first entry point in Cappadocia. When Asikli and Topakli Mound were excavated, archaeologists found polished stones from the Neolithic period, which are considered to be the oldest things found in the city. Tablets with the first writing in Anatolia were discovered in Acem Mound and Kultepe. It is believed that these tablets were created by the Hittites and Assyrians. Uchisar has had its own importance in the history of the region, and it has served as both the main point of defense and an observation tower for subterranean cities. The early Christians used this castle to hide.
It was called ‘Ucasar’ when Anatolian Principalities were founded. It was the time when in the west there was Kadi Burhanettin Principality and in the east were Seljuks and Karamanogullari. Three fountains from the Seljuks era are the remnants of the Uchisar settlement of that era. Pipes were used to bringing water to the fountains from Mount Gemil, located 2.8 km away. They also built small pools to provide clean water. In 1398, during the reign of Yildirim Bayezid, Uchisar became a part of the Ottoman Empire.
Things to do in Uchisar
The small and quiet town of Uchisar has many attractions.
If you want to view and explore fairy chimneys, Uchisar is probably the best option. There’s nothing better than observing fairy chimneys from Uchisar Castle. The ancient Uchisar Castle is, without a doubt, the most popular attraction in Uchisar. Shouldn’t it be, when you can see it from other places as well?
Early Christians used this castle to hide and defend, and during the Seljuk period, it was used as an observation tower. It has many caves, tunnels, and multilevel rooms.
You can visit the castle for its history or its panoramic views of the region. Climbing on the top of the castle is recommended, as the views from there are breathtaking. You should walk around to all the corners, so you can get a complete view of the region including Goreme and the surrounding valleys. You may also be able to view Mount Erciyes if it’s a clear day.
Pigeon Valley is known for its fairy chimneys and other fascinating landscapes. As it’s situated between Uchisar and Goreme, you can use it to get from one town to the other. It’s one of the most popular hiking trails in the region, and features fairy chimneys, cave dwellings, and earth pillars spread throughout the trail. Some of the cave dwellings feature ancient paintings. The valley also features a waterfall, and a small river.
Black Castle is also among the attractions that you must visit in the region. Until 1945, the castle was in a good condition, but then the villagers began to remove the stones, and the castle was seriously damaged. Many tombstones, marked with crosses were damaged in the western part of the castle. The strongest part of the Black Castle is the Southern wall, as it was damaged the least. Ceramics were found in the castle, which were built during the Late Roman and Byzantine periods. The black hat section, with its distinctive volcanic experience, is the most salient feature of the castle. The structure is called Black Castle, most likely because the color of the castle is black. The castle, in all its glory, has stood the test of time, and its hat, which is rare in the region depicts a unique volcanic formation.
The second tallest castle of Uchisar, Tigraz Castle was built on the hillside of Pigeon Valley that descends to the ground. The castle has unique architecture that demands attention and it consists of 7 floors, which were used as an underground shelter. It also has many rooms, tunnels, and warehouses. Many tourists are attracted to the castle, as it’s very rare that you come across an underground shelter built on the hillside. You should definitely explore the castle on your next visit to Uchisar if you have not before.
Goreme National Park
A visit to Goreme National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best places you can visit in Cappadocia. It features archaeological sites, underground cities, valleys, and ancient churches. It also features artistic rock formations, known as fairy chimneys.
You can’t come to the park and not visit the churches, which are the best example of Byzantine art. The ancient carved churches feature incredible frescoes and give you an idea of how religion was practiced centuries ago. It has several underground cities. These cities are fascinating structures and offer a fascinating journey through history. You should also visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, which also contains historical monasteries and cave churches with fabulous frescoes.
Where to stay in Uchisar?
From hotels and inns to rental houses, you would have many accommodation options in Uchisar. Though it’s a small town, it features many luxury hotels that offer all the modern amenities. Many of the luxury hotels feature Wi-Fi, terraces, fireplaces, and more. They also serve traditional meals.
While many people would prefer to stay in a conventional hotel, you should opt for a cave hotel. The unique rock formations in Cappadocia were carved into caves centuries ago, and recently they have been turned into cave hotels. So it’s a chance for you to go back in time, and it’s not like you have to compromise on your comfort. The cave hotels are as modern and comfortable as ordinary hotels. Just make sure to get complete information before you book a room.
Best places to eat in Uchisar
When you visit a new place, you should do your best to taste local flavors, and there are many restaurants in the town that would let you do that. The most popular foods in this region include pottery kebab, jug kebab, and pot beans. You can also go for salads and Turkish pizza. Many restaurants also offer non-gluten and vegetarian options.
Places to buy local art and souvenirs
There are many shops in the town that sell carpets, rugs, ornaments made of ceramics, antiques, and more products. Other than the things you need, you must take a souvenir with you, to remind you of your visit.
Before you make a visit, you should do some online research to plan your visit. You should decide beforehand what places you will visit, where you will stay, and whether you will book a guided tour or not. If you don’t want to do much planning by yourself, the ideal option is to book a guided tour. There are many tours available that include Uchisar.