Göreme, Cappadocia Day 3: Göreme Open Air Museum

Our final day in Göreme started out rainy and overcast. This turned out to be a good thing as it lessened crowds. Along with being a Monday (rather than a busier weekend), this meant weekend-trippers were less likely to stay an extra day and we only had to contend with out-of-country folks.

I woke early to see if there were hot air balloons (there were not) and then decided to walk around an empty Göreme. The town sleeps in when there are not hot air balloon launches, but I found an open coffee shop and got a chai latte and hot chocolates for the kids (DH declined a coffee in favor of more sleep). We had a slower start to the day, as breakfast didn’t start til 8. Instead of a buffet this time, we had mini plates of Turkish breakfast as they had fewer people staying at the hotel. But they also made Gözleme and did hard boiled eggs for DD (her preferred way to eat eggs), so we were all happy.

After breakfast the kids tried out the large bathtub, which was incredibly slow to fill and the drain plug didn’t work well so it kept leaking. We never did get it high enough to turn on the jets, which disappointed them.

After check out, we headed to Göreme Open Air Museum, which we had skipped the day before due to crowds. We hoped a rainy Monday would be the right time to visit and we were right! The parking lot is down the hill from the entrance and the place is clearly designed for tour buses and crowds. There are many vendor stalls outside, a dondurma (ice cream) man, pay bathrooms, and camels.

After the uphill walk, we got our tickets (Musekart worked) and headed in. Unlike Zelve Open Air Museum, it has wide walking paths (stones), stairs or steps, and much easier walking. You do a big loop, going into the various buildings. A large number of them were religious-focused or churches. Many had paintings inside. Photography is not allowed inside any of the ones with paint.

Aside from a tour group that seemed to be from Mexico, we didn’t encounter many other people. Very easy to distance and to see things alone. It is built on a hill, so you do have some uphill/downhill walks, and many of the rock buildings have steps or stairs or low entries that require ducking. But overall, much easier walking than Zelve.

If you want to go inside the Dark Church there is an extra charge. I think it was about 25 tl per person. Musekart did not work, and kids also had to pay. It was worth the extra cost I think to do it once. Inside the cave church, the walls were COVERED with art work. Most of it was from Jesus’ life and death. It was really interesting.

We ended in a large gift shop and then headed down to the parking lot. On the way down, we went into Tokalı Church, which was included with your Open Air Museum ticket/Musekart. It also had a lot of painted walls and was under some renovation. If you’re on a budget, you could skip the Dark Church and only do Tokalı Church and still see some interesting paintings.

Once back in Göreme, we ate lunch at Haruna, which had great views of the town. It is part of a hotel and is roof level. It was our priciest meal of the trip, but really delicious. We had 2 Carus Kebab (their house speciality), 2 burgers, 1 glass of wine, 1 salad, 1 soup, and water for everyone. Total was 505 tl (about $62). DD was very impressed with the bathroom, which was all black. Their menu and more information is here.

Ended our time in Göreme with a glass of hot wine at Mozaik. It was fairly empty when we were there and DH and I enjoyed our wine at one table, while the kids occupied themselves at another! DD loved doing her activity book all weekend and DS played with PlusPlus Blocks (that he only gets when we go to restaurants).

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