Famed for sunrise balloon rides over biblical landscapes, Cappadocia, Turkey is a special place. 

Europe’s first Christians took refuge in the central Anatolian region as far back as three AD,  hiding from Roman persecution while living in the network of caves carved into the knobbly volcanic tuff created from Mount Erciye’s eruption aeons ago. And the imprints these people made are still visible today. 

Doorways into ancient churches and homes, as well as pigeon houses (a highly-prized bird back in the day for their ability to make top-quality fertiliser) pepper Cappadocia’s expansive vistas while inside these caves, Byzantine iconography still line walls and ceilings as does smoke from poorly ventilated middle ages kitchens. 

The region is a wondrous place with a unique beauty and a history so vivid it is tangible, and there are plenty of ways to get right up close to both. 


The Resident: Built into hillside, Argos in Cappadocia is one of Turkey's largest heritage projectsBuilt into hillside, Argos in Cappadocia is one of Turkey's largest heritage projects (Image: Argos in Cappadocia)


Where to stay in Cappadocia

Cut into the hilly outskirts of Uçhisar, a quiet village conveniently near to the main sights but well away from the tourist kerfuffle, hotel Argos in Cappadocia is a serene maze of views, courtyards and internal spaces built from original cave dwellings that boasts a tranquil beauty at seemingly every turn. 

The hotel was to be a single mansion-style building, however on the discovery of an ancient monastery complex on site, the project went on to become one of the largest heritage projects in Turkey undertaken in conjunction with the national natural heritage preservation board.  

It is a place where the ancient and the contemporary convene, and the hotel’s considered design, led by some of Turkey’s top architects and interior designers, preserves the site’s heritage while bringing it into the modern day with a luxurious touch. 


The Resident: Suites are built into original cave and rock Suites are built into original cave and rock (Image: Argos in Cappadocia)


Design & Facilities 


Each of the 51 spacious suites are built from rock and original cave dwellings. With no two rooms the same, suites have retained degrees of original cave and rock and come draped in Anatolian textiles and vintage kilim rugs, and dressed with traditional handicrafts and ceramics. 

The hotel’s cellar - one of the biggest natural wine cellars in Europe - is a former kitchen that retains its primitive ferment-making facilities, as well as animal feed holes and cooking smoke marks. The attached chapel is just one of the several exquisite rooms which can be hired out for private functions and dinners (where you can play as much or as little Madonna as you like). 

Guests can even travel along the underground tunnel which runs below the hotel once used by farmers avoiding steep inclines and Romans when transporting produce. 



The Resident: Some rooms retain the cave-like feel while still being thoroughly modernSome rooms retain the cave-like feel while still being thoroughly modern (Image: Argos in Cappadocia)

The sense of space and calm at the hotel is strong; Argos in Cappadocia sprawls across 13,000 feet of hillside, facing another 13,000 feet of manicured lawns and grounds with an uninterrupted view of Pigeon Valley and Cappadocia beyond. You can even see the region’s creator, Mount Erciye, from Argos on a clear day. 

Communal spaces make the most of this view, with vantage points built into the design on the terraced gardens, the two restaurants and bar and the private infinity pool, as well as many of the courtyards and balconies.


The Resident: The views from Seki Lounge's terrace looks across CappadociaThe views from Seki Lounge's terrace looks across Cappadocia (Image: Argos in Cappadocia)


Food & Drink and Restaurants


Open to guests and non-guests, Nahita is Argos in Cappadocia’s newest restaurant and a tribute to the earthy goodness of Anaolian cuisine and the region’s produce - ingredients are sourced within a 60 km radius and and are plucked from the hotel’s gardens where possible. 

The handsome den of a venue, that comes with a large patio ideal for leisurely breakfast grazing or a sundowner or two, plates up a bounty of fresh flavour-laden dishes. Dense dips perked up with the likes of zaatar, pomegranate molasses and rich red pepper paste to smear across flat bread, tart sour cherry-stuffed vine leaves, and a grilled lettuce salad best described as a moreish Turkish riff on a Ceasar are on the menu’s highlights. 

The Resident: A selection of mezze from NahitaA selection of mezze from Nahita (Image: Argos in Cappadocia)

The drink list unsurprisingly includes Turkish wines, including Argos’ own, as well as creative takes on well-known cocktails - the subtly nutty and creamy tahini espresso martini or the smoky pink beetroot mezcal margarita for example.   

The relaxed Seki Lounge is for quaffing cocktails or sipping tea while basking in views of Pigeon Valley, or let the same view wash over you through floor-to-ceiling windows in the Seki Restaurant below while feasting on hearty, colourful nosh. 

The restaurant’s dishes are comfortingly homely and the selection salads with heft, traditional meat dumplings, muddles of chargrilled eggplant and nutty herbaceous dips are best shared.  


The Resident: Have a picnic or a private dinner on the hotel's terraced gardensHave a picnic or a private dinner on the hotel's terraced gardens (Image: Argos in Cappadocia)

Alternatively, the hotel’s grounds are prepped for picnicking and the team can create a gourmet grazing feast of olives, turkish mezze, pastries, cheese and cured meats for a leisurely meal in the sun. 

Thanks to its volcanic soil and climate, Cappadocia is fertile wine growing land with characteristic dry and minerally tipples. Argos in Cappadocia makes several varieties, and one of the hotel’s sommeliers can guide you through the drops on a private wine tasting tour held in either the cellar around a table unearthed during excavation or in the attached chapel. 

The Resident: Cappadocia is famed for its morning hot air balloon ridesCappadocia is famed for its morning hot air balloon rides (Image: Zita Whalley)


Things to do in Cappadocia


While a sunrise hot air balloon ride is at the top of most people’s lists, watching their dawn ascent and a morning sky flooded with the floating vessels is a glorious start to the day (and Argos in Cappadocia has several great viewing points for this).

Unesco World Heritage site Göreme Open Air Museum is a cluster of historic churches, chapels and monasteries chiselled into rock, believed once to be a monastic complex. 

The Resident: Watch artisans at work at the Güray Müze ceramics museumWatch artisans at work at the Güray Müze ceramics museum (Image: Zita Whalley)

Inside, you’ll find well-preserved examples of Byzantine iconography and subsequent iconoclasm etched into the caves’ walls. In particular, the museum’s highlight, the 11th century Dark Church, has retained much of its ornate detail and vivid colours. 

New museum Güray Müze documents Cappidocaia’s long history of ceramics, with displays dating back to BCE times and current day artisans also on display. The museum houses an open studio where visitors can watch the painstaking process involved in the tradition, and even test their skills at the wheel. 

Love Valley is one of the more peculiar sites in the natural world. The collection of fairy chimneys were once small chapels and churches in which persecuted Christians sheltered in but now are a clump of giant erect rock phalluses.  

The Resident: Love Valley is the largest collection of chimney fairies in TurkeyLove Valley is the largest collection of chimney fairies in Turkey (Image: Zita Whalley)


As the largest cluster of fairy chimneys in Turkey, Love Valley is worth a visit, if only to contemplate the complexities of erosion.

And of course, soak up those celestial landscapes while you can.

For more information visit argosincappadocia.com and goturkiye.com