03-04-2023 - Places

Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia

Cappadocia is an amazing place with its unique geography. The most famous geographical structures of this land are the fairy chimneys. You might see many photographs of these unique rock formations. These odd and spectacular formations may be found throughout Cappadocia's outstanding terrain, natural beauty, rock-cut dwellings, caverns, gorgeous valleys, picturesque lunar hills, and many more well-known locations. Every sunset, the hue of the renowned fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, a bizarre landscape of sculpted tall rock formations, changes. However, how did these peculiar natural growths appear? In this article, let’s examine the history of Turkey's most impressive rocks.

Before we dig into fairy chimneys, let’s dive into the best way to discover Cappadocia: Cappadocia Travel Pass®. This Pass includes 35+ amazing attractions and local services which allow you to both save time and money while you are discovering this beautiful place. In Cappadocia, there are many companies offering tours and tickets but finding an experienced and reliable company can be difficult especially if it is your first time in Cappadocia: That is why in Cappadocia Travel Pass® we have handpicked the best tours, suppliers, and partners for you so you don’t worry about anything other than enjoying your time. Click here and buy your pass right away, it is completely digital and very easy to use. Now let’s get back to the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.

What is a Fairy Chimney?

Fairy Chimneys are chimney-shaped houses in which fairies live…No of course not, but it is a great name for a geographical formation, isn’t it? A geological process that started millions of years ago gave rise to the rock formations that have made Cappadocia one of the most well-known tourist sites in the world. The area was covered in a thick layer of ash from ancient volcanic eruptions, which later hardened into a soft rock known as tuff. The fairy chimneys that are visible today, reaching up to 130 feet into the sky, were formed when the natural forces of wind and water erosion finished their work.

A geologic process that started millions of years ago produced the chimneys. An inner sea existed in Cappadocia at the time, as is evident by the fossilized remains of marine life discovered during archaeological digs in Mountain Erciyes, Güllüdag, and Hasandag. Its inner sea, lakes, and streams were dried up by erupting lava that sliced through the plateaus. On the dry surface, a tough coating with a thickness of between 100 and 150 meters formed.

The layer is composed of both soft and hard substances, such as clay, sandstone, basalt, volcanic ash, and others. Due to the Kizilirmak or the Red River in English, wind, and flood from the valleys, this lava flow has changed in some ways. Lack of vegetation and the impermeable layer of tuff increased floods, which altered the structure of the rocks. Nature has been working with the hard rocks in this area for millennia like an artist and sculptor, creating distinctive topped fairy chimneys as a means of protecting itself from floodwaters.

Today, the geological structures in Cappadocia, which date back 60 million years, conceal the region's mystery. The smooth layers created by the lava and ashes ejected from Mount Erciyes, Mount Hasan, and Mount Gulludag first transformed into rocky formations, which then corroded with the wind and rain for millions of years to reveal the geographic patterns we see today. The Cappadocian formations of today, which the locals refer to as peri bacaları or in English fairy chimneys, allow the villagers to carve out cave homes and underground cities out of the rock and have turned into a real haven during oppressive times. For more information check the amazing underground cities of Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, or Ozkonak underground cities, we have blog articles about them.

Fairy Chimneys in the History of People

The chimneys are situated in an area formerly called Cappadocia, which crossed the ancient Silk Road trade route. Today the borders of Cappadocia are a bit open to discussion, so here we are talking about the historical borders of the region. Many European empires ravaged and invaded the region for centuries. At various points in history, the territory has been claimed by the Hittites, the Persians, Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Byzantines, and the Ottomans.

Christians who were being persecuted during the Roman era fled in large numbers to Göreme, a town in Cappadocia. They discovered that the soft tuff was easily excavated, and they erected churches and dwellings inside the chimneys. They transformed old caverns into enormous havens that could house hundreds, including Kaymakli and Derinkuyu. The rock formations in Cappadocia and Göreme National Park have been named a World Heritage Site by Unesco, which calls them "one of the world's most stunning and largest cave-dwelling complexes."

Under fear of invasion, residents have long fled into subterranean tunnels, protecting themselves from intruders with massive stone doors and cleverly crafted traps. These manually excavated items now form a wonderful connection with Cappadocia's natural beauties. (Tourists are even allowed to spend the night in some caverns and chimneys that have been converted into unusual motels.) The fairy chimney is a marvel that took millions of years to create as a result of its various settings. Within a comparatively short period of time, people turned that miracle into a house, assimilating the enchantment and making it their own.

Popular Areas to See Fairy Chimneys

In the volcanic tuff of Cappadocia, there are thousands of fairy chimneys. The triangle Avanos-Ürgüp-valleys Uçhisar's are where they are most frequently seen. For instance, the Soganli Valley, which is well-known for its rag dolls, has hundreds of fairy chimneys. The village of Çat, which is only 7 kilometers from Nevşehir, is known as a "forest of chimneys." You can observe the colors the sun has left on the chimneys that are sloping.

Mostly in and around Cappadocia, fairy chimneys can be seen and enjoyed at picturesque valleys and panorama spots. Moreover, Cappadocia hot air balloon rides provide a wonderful aerial view of fairy chimneys. Here, let’s mention that with Cappadocia Travel Pass® you can catch a hot air balloon ride for a great discount, just click here for more information.

On the Avanos-Göreme highway, in the Paşabag Valley, you can stroll amongst the mushroom chimneys. Yet, if you're wondering where to find the majority of them, we simply advise "going to Zelve." Note that, the entrance to Zelve-Pasabag Archeological Site is free with Cappadocia Travel Pass®.

The Goreme National Park is another place where Cappadocia's amazing fairy chimneys are situated. Since 1985, the National Park has been included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The majority of the fairy chimney-adorned valleys in the area are found in Goreme National Park. The names of almost all of these lovely valleys are derived from the shapes of the fairy chimney formations they support.

Legends about Fairy Chimneys

Millions of tales have been told about old fairy chimneys throughout their silent existence. Moreover, Cappadocia has a lot of accessible hilltops and roadside locations. On your time in Cappadocia, you'll undoubtedly hear stories about fairy chimneys extending up into the present. Let’s have a look at one of them here.

In one of the villages of Göreme, there was once a very hardworking peasant. His pigeon lofts and the grapes from the vineyard that were shaded by the chimneys were symbols of abundance. Early in the harvest, he wanted to go to the garden to harvest, but he was so tired and had only s little energy, so he collapsed next to a fairy chimney. He wept the possibility of birds destroying his plantation and a flood at the same time.

He was startled to see a large number of fairies emerge out of the chimneys holding torches. Crops and grapes were picked by fairies, who then transported them to the storeroom and vanished before daybreak. The elderly guy believed he was dreaming, but over the following days, the fairies continued to assist him. The abundance in the old man's field astounded the villagers, who were puzzled as to what it represented. The elderly man passed away one day still keeping his secret, but the fairy chimneys never let on.

So, if you want to see more in Cappadocia, spend some time here, not only 2-3 days are enough for this amazing journey. But even though you have a limited time, don’t forget to get a Cappadocia Travel Pass® so you can enjoy the amazing beauties of the region easily. Check out here and get ready to be surprised, because we have gathered 35+ amazing attractions, services, entrances, and more for a single price. So, until next time, have a great time in Cappadocia.


Where are the fairy chimneys?

The fairy chimneys are located in the massive valleys of the Central Anatolia region in Turkey, and the region is historically called Cappadocia. High plateaus, stones that resemble the moon, and granite pillars known as "fairy chimneys" make up this stunning environment.

Why are the fairy chimneys famous?

Fairy Chimneys are unique formations that were produced by volcanic explosions. Tuff rock, which was created by the lava flows, was carved by wind and rain into serpentine valleys with curved cliff sides and sharp fairy chimneys. Fairy Chimneys are famous because they are unique, and beautiful and have important roles in the history of the people living there, especially early Christians.

What are fairy chimneys called?

In Turkish fairy chimneys are called Peri Bacaları which is the exact translation of the fairy chimneys. They are also called hoodoos but it is not a common name.

How old are the fairy chimneys in Turkey?

Fairy chimneys in Turkey are around 14 million years old but the formation continues with wind and rain. So it is an ongoing process.

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