Living in Ankara has its highs and lows. The travel books advise passing it by and heading on to Istanbul, Ephesus, etc. Ross and I remember reading one travel guide just before moving here that said, "If you must stop in Ankara, at least there is a Hard Rock Cafe." It then proceeded to give the directions to this restaurant. Anticipating a really good hamburger during an hour when it might not be crowded on one of our date nights, we followed the map and found the street. No Hard Rock Cafe. It had closed down just before we moved here. So, now that it had closed, did that mean there was no other good reason to come to Ankara? Well, thankfully restaurants and fun tourist spots were not the reason we moved here and our hope for adventure was of a different nature.
But since living here, we have discovered MANY good reasons to be in this city. We vastly prefer Ankara over Istanbul (such as the driving conditions, fairness when dealing with foreigners who are shopping, etc.) One other really nice thing is that we are so close to a place called Cappedocia.
Cappedocia has land formations formed by the sudden compacting of volcanic ash. The rock is soft enough to carve easily. Carving these rock hills into homes began 4000 years ago with the Hittites and has continued since then. Most are abandoned, but some families still live in them. The two things I find most interesting about them are that they were used by persecuted Christians in the days of the early church as hideouts and also that people actually still live in them today. It is hard to envision them, so here are 2 pictures. We enjoyed 2 days in Cappedocia this week during Spring Break.