Pasabag or Monks Valley Has the Best Collection of Fairy Chimneys:
From the Göreme Open Air Museum we travelled to Pasabag or Monks Valley as it is more commonly referred to, an area that’s noted for its fairy chimneys (Peri Bacalarıin Turkish). The unusual moon-like landscape with its extraordinary formations blew me away on my first visit to Cappadocia and ten years on, Monks Valley and its fairy chimneys are just as fascinating as ever.
Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia
If you’re wondering why these unusual rock formations are called fairy chimneys, it’s because the early inhabitants of Cappadocia believed that these were the chimneys for the fairies who lived under the ground.
Pasabag or Monks Valley has the best collection of fairy chimneys in Cappadocia. In this area you can see a few different types of fairy chimneys – the elongated fairy chimneys look like giant asparagus or Japanese king trumpet mushrooms and then there are those that are pedestal shape with broader bases. The cone shape fairy chimney, like the one at the front of the top picture, is a chimney that has lost its cap due to erosion.
Why Monks Valley?
Pasabag or Monks Valley is about mid-way between Göreme and Avanos, on the road to Zelve. The valley got its name because monks used to take refuge here. Cappadocia had become a thriving monastic community by the 4th century and St Simeon was one of the many monks who came to Cappadocia. It seemed that rumours had got around that he could perform miracles and he came to Cappadocia to escape the attention. He lived as a hermit in the upper reaches inside one of the 15-metre high fairy chimneys with his disciples and only descended occasionally to get food and drink brought by his disciples. A hermit’s shelter and a chapel dedicated to St. Simeon has been built into one of the fairy chimneys and you can visit the inside of this fairy chimney and climb to the top.
For the Best View of Monks Valley
Visiting Monks Valley is such a change from visiting the many hectic Turkish cities and it’s a pleasure to wander in the open space amongst these nature-created attractions. For a spectacular view of Monks Valley and its army of the fairy chimneys, follow the path up to the top of a ridge. After the groups have come up to take their quick shots and departed, it’s very peaceful and the view is absolutely stunning.