MYSTICAL CAPPADOCIA TOUR
Hacibektas is a village located to the north in Cappadocia and is named for the Haci Bektas-i Veli, the famous Turkish-Islamic mystic, philosopher, and dervish. Revered in the Balkans and throughout Turkey – the village of Hacibektas is also a site of pilgrimage in August. The sense of peace and love imparted by the Bektashi followers can be felt throughout the grounds of the Open Palace and Museum. With the Ceremony of Confession, Bektashis vowed to be responsible “for their hands” (the things they do), “for their loins” (their desires), and “for their tongues” (what they say). This vow was a powerful and meaningful expression of the belief that one’s should be channeled towards love and respect. We begin the tour at the Open Palace – a series of ancient rock-cut caves in a very unique valley with mushroom-shaped rock formations not typically seen elsewhere in Cappadocia. Next we visit the Saint Jean Church features two floors and is dated (by inscription) to the year 1212. The lower floor of the church is built in the shape of a cross and features simple designs and motifs in red ochre applied directly onto the rock. This lower area also houses a wine cellar, graves, water channels and living quarters. The upper floor contains vivid scenes of the New Testament including the scene of the Last Judgment – a scene rarely found in Cappadocian churches. Afterwards we make our way to the Haci Bektas-i Veli Dervish Lodge (Museum). The courtyards and grounds of the museum offer interesting symbolic adornments and include a wishing tree, a holy water lion fountain and a cylindrical marble stone that is customary to embrace before entering the mausoleum – it is thought if one embraces with both arms it signifies that your heart is clean and your intentions are pure. Our next stop is a hearty lunch of local specialties. After lunch we will make our way back to the heart of Cappadocia driving along the Red River – the longest river in Turkey. Along the river is the town of Avanos – the ancient Hittite pottery village. For more than 4000 years the red and white clay from this town has been used, along with the kick-wheel technique to make pottery. We will stop at a pottery family atelier for a demonstration of the pottery making and painting techniques. As an option, you can finish the tour watching the Dervishes ceremony at Sarihan Caravansarayi.
Excluding: Whirling Dervishes ceremony, Tips, Personel expenses