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Photographer's Note

Cappadocia is a volcanic area in central Turkey. It is renowned for its strange shapes, called "fairy chimneys", which are formed during millions of years of volcanic activity of three neighbouring mountains.

Different layers in the landscape reflect different layers of volcanic eruptions, red of iron-based elements, grey-black of basalt, white of lime, etc.

The area also harbors many underground cities and thousands of churches carved into the soft tuff, which make Cappadocia a major historical and cultural heritage site. The Orthodox Christians' frescoes dating back to the monastic period of 300-1200 AD are beautiful examples of the Byzantine Art in the country side.

Balloon tours are a good way to grasp the landscape from above. "Passengers" are picked up from the hotel at 5AM. The departures are generally from the Avanos-Cavusin region.

Hot air balloons, which generally have a capacity of 15 people, are heated with propane. There is no predefined itinerary, as the balloon is driven by the wind, followed by a vehicle on the ground. It goes up as high as 300m, sometimes as low as to touch the leaves of the trees next to the "fairy chimneys". Weather conditions are closely-monitored and tours are organized on suitable mornings only.

A champagne awaits the passengers after a usually calm and spectacular tour of the valley.

Scanned from slide, increased contrast and local sharpness.

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Additional Photos by Erdem Kutukoglu (Suppiluliuma) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 266 W: 105 N: 604] (3931)
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