Uchisar in Cappadocia is renowned mainly for two things; luxury hotels and the ugly Uchisar castle, the highest point in the region. On my first visit, I could not afford to stay in any of their hotels but heard Uchisar castle can be seen from miles away, gives off a wowing panoramic view of fairy chimneys and valleys in Cappadocia.
I set off from Goreme with my camera, my best walking shoes and a rucksack filled with bottles of water. To save money, I passed local buses and shops advertising Cappadocia car and bike rentals. I walked past pigeon valley to the top but never anticipated the high climb would get the better of me. Finally, about three-quarters of the way up the hill, I admitted defeat.
Determined not to have a wasted trip, I walked around Uchisar village instead. This decision was more fruitful than any view I could have snapped on my budget travel camera because I met some weird and wonderful characters. Moreover, it made my visit to Cappadocia even more special.
Exploring Uchisar in Cappadocia – Turkey
The streets and cobbled paths reveal some comical houses, and since Uchisar is a small village, Jandarma police it. At the end of the souvenir road was the quirky Jandarma cave station. Unfortunately, a young officer cleaning the entrance steps with grave determination didn’t seem to share my heightened enthusiasm about his place of work, probably because while it was a novelty for me, it was an everyday occurrence for him.
About 100 meters further and near the castle was Peri Café, inside a cave with six floors to choose from. The higher the floor, the better the valley view. With low ceilings, I constantly hunched over to prevent the mother of all headaches, and I could not pluck up the courage to use the toilet since I assumed it was a hole in the floor and not the European versions I strongly prefer.
Coming out of Peri Café and strolling along the road, I noticed a sign saying “My Old House. Entrance is free.” A man stood on the roof admiring the view, and another man who was the owner invited me to sit on the living room sofa under the garden tree.
Ignoring countless tourists that walked along, pointed at me, and laughed aloud, I took up the offer from the older man to see inside. While I wondered whether Cappadocia cave properties could legally have title deeds, the man said he had sold the one-bedroom house for a massive 160,000 Turkish Lira. Another wise investment I missed.
Returning to Uchisar Castle
I left Uchisar later that day with some beautiful holiday pictures and an impression of the Cappadocian village that time forgot and then returned three years later to stay in luxury Taskonaklar Hotel. That visit was in November, and Uchisar was like a ghost town, unlike Goreme, another town nearby. I should have seen it in peak summer, but this time getting to Uchisar castle was easy, and the Cappadocia guidebooks are right about the breathtaking views.
Uchisar Castle stands a staggering 60 metres high. Being visible for miles around, in olden days, the Cappadocian castle also gave residents views over surrounding landscapes so they could see any armies invading. The castle wasn’t just a fortress, though, because about 1000 people lived in rooms and tunnels.
After my tour, strolling around the streets led me to a small artist shop where the owner, who specialized in Ebru painting, said she would give me a lesson for 100 lira. As much as I wanted to try it, I felt she deliberately inflated the price because I was a foreign visitor to Cappadocia.
Even though I have returned to Cappadocia since then, I have not revisited Uchisar. I remember the castle, working horses and a smelly old camel called Suleyman seemed to take an instant dislike to me, but I’ve one memory from Cappadocia that stands out.
On a clear day, on the horizon, I saw the majestic Mount Erciyes in the distance. I saw it before when I visited Kayseri, but, on this occasion, it wowed me even more than before. On my bucket list now is to visit Mount Erciyes in winter for fantastic winter sports.
See the regional travel guides to read more about Uchisar in Cappadocia and other tourist attractions. With information about tours, hot air balloon trips, valleys, rock fairy chimneys, underground cities, open-air museums, and history, you can get more ideas for a beautiful journey to Cappadocia in Turkey.