The most famous, and most visited, of all sites is the Goreme Open Air Museum. Museum is not really a good word to describe what is really both a miracle of nature and a living space for the people of Cappadocia, but for lack of a better word, it just has to do. It is a large space, with paths meandering among the rock formations, where you can climb stairways--usually indentations in the rocks--to reach the various openings that to my surprise turned out to be churches or abandoned homes that still bear the trace of the activities of the people who lived there. For example, you can identify circles that identified the cooking space, a rectangular indentation into the floor that signaled a water reservoir, and spaces carved into the wall upon which the inhabitants bedded themselves. There are also large spaces that are not separated into units that we can identify used to be gathering places for a few families or even the village. It is a fascinating place to explore, and if you are lucky, you would get there where the tour groups are not packing the place, to explore at your own leisure.
Another reason that Goreme is famous is for its churches. When people talk about churches, edifices come to mind. At Goreme, the churches are distinguished from the houses by the primitive frescoes that are carved into the ceilings of the cave dwellings. Some of the churches that left an imprint on me is the Sandal Church, mainly because it was one of the first we came upon, and because it was named for the marks of footprints outside the door, with a frescoe showing Judas' betrayal. Another is the Dark Church, named such because the few windows had allowed the frescoes to be preserved. Most interestingly, the church had what can be called a basement. On a lower level was a larder, kitchen, and refectory with tables and chairs cut right into the rock. The list goes on and on. What is unbelievable is that within a short loop path followed by most tourists, you would pass my so many churches. I started to wonder how each can attract followers, or whether there is a schedule where the church would take turn to do ceremonies, or whether people just go to church every spare minute they had. It's something I have not managed to learn.
The Goreme Open Air Museum has been a member of UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984, and was one of the first two UNESCO sites in Turkey.