Up the Creek Without a Paddle

Friday was our “driving around looking at stuff” day, so after leaving Çavuşin, we tried to find the road to Mustafapaşa, a place that the guidebooks said was only infrequently visited by the tour buses, but worth the effort to get to.

I have relied on my iPhone4S for many things on this trip: all of the pictures in this blog have been taken with my iPhone; it serves as an altimeter and a compass; I can check the weather; look up information about the places we visit; listen to music and podcasts; and, use it as a GPS to figure out where we are and how to get where we want to go. Oh, I can also make phone calls with it.

Anyway, its most valuable use has been as a GPS. I have a mount that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket in the car to keep the charge up and a cable that plugs into the stereo so I can hear directions. It’s nothing short of amazing; it finds the smallest villages and even farm roads.

So, I typed “Mustafapaşa” into the GPS app on my iPhone and off we went. Here’s a picture of the village of Ürgüp (which is similar to Uçhisar Castle where we hiked on our first day in Cappadocia) as we passed it on our way to Mustafapaşa.

Past Ürgüp, the GPS took us up into the hills until the paved road became a cobblestone road, that became a dirt and gravel road, that became a dirt road, that finally became a dirt track.

We kept seeing little signs for the Pancarlik Kalise, or Church, along the side of the road, so we thought, “why not?” and took a little detour. The dirt road dead-ended at a bluff overlooking a small canyon containing the church and a lone caretaker. It appeared that we were the only visitors in quite a while (I later asked Serdar, who is a local guide, about Pancarlik and he had never heard of it).

Here’s the outer chapel:

Walking around the corner to the right is the church, built in the first half of the 11th century A.D.

It was one of the few churches that we had seen in Cappadocia that had undamaged frescoes; most of the others had been defaced by chipping out the eyes or faces of saints and apostles, supposedly by muslims in later years (as I mentioned in a previous post, the muslims believe that it is heretical to worship icons).

Outside the church, looking down into the small depression, we could see where the monks that worshiped in this church lived their ascetic lives; this was an isolated monastic community, not a church for the local people. It is thought that it is that extreme isolation of this church that saved it from being defaced over the years.

After leaving Pancarlik Church, we continued our quest for Mustafapaşa, but this time, my iPhone GPS failed me. It led us down the hill to this creek and then said, “turn right and continue one-half mile.” Thinking that the command was to ford the creek and turn right, I crossed over.

Nope. So we backed up and turned right, up the creek bed. Hey, it could have been a road; and it was rock, hard enough to drive on.

But the water kept getting deeper, so we eventually called it quits and decided to try again the next day. Back to Göreme for dinner and bed.

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