(CNN) — It’s a landscape that looks almost alien. Soft tufa rock — spewed from volcanoes millennia ago to create a series of ethereal “fairy chimneys” that have been shaped and sculpted by nature. This is Cappadocia.
Rising above the Anatolian Plains of central Turkey, this historic region is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, drawing in thousands of tourists every year. Many take to the skies in hot air balloons as the sun rises, all the better to get a view of the rock formations whimsically referred to as “fairy chimneys” that come in all shapes and sizes — cone ones, pointy ones, even some suggestive ones.
Nature may have created this landscape, but it was ancient civilizations that turned and adapted it to their own purpose. Local people have worked hard to preserve this history and the traditional cultures which have grown in its wake. And nowhere is this more obvious than deep beneath those towering limestone peaks.
Balloons are the ideal way to experience the serene landscape of Cappadocia.
The soft rock here, with its winding cave systems and series of natural caverns, meant Cappadocia became renowned for its underground cities in medieval times…