Ihlara Valley in Cappadocia breaks tourist record
AKSARAY – Anadolu Agency
The number of tourists visiting the Ihlara Valley, one of the most important routes of Cappadocia in the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray, increased by 12 percent to 491,380 last year compared to 2014.
The Ihlara Valley is a site of stunning natural beauty and is home to a series of ancient Christian churches and frescoes tucked away in stone caves.
Located between the Ihlara and Selime neighborhoods of Aksaray’s Güzelyurt district, the valley is nearly 14 kilometers long and 100-150 meters deep.
“Tourists visiting the Ihlara Valley see churches with frescoes and trek on the shores of the Melendiz River,” said Aksaray Culture and Tourism Director Mustafa Doğan, adding that the route was “indispensable” for tourists visiting the Cappadocia region.
“It is one of the indispensable routes for Cappadocia tours. Ihlara is a symbol for the region. Those coming to the valley see nature and history together. The Ihlara Valley is also a proper place for trekking, especially thanks to arrangements that have recently been made. Many visitors use the four, seven, and 14-kilometer-long tracks to walk to Belisırma and Selime,” Doğan stated.
Number of visitors on rise
He also said the number of local and foreign tourists visiting Ihlara was increasing every year.
“We have seen a 20 percent increase in the number of tourists every year. Ihlara was visited by 344,418 people in 2013 and saw a 27 percent increase in 2014 with 438,903 tourists. Although overall regional tourist numbers dropped in 2015, the Ihlara Valley’s visitors increased by 12 percent and reached 491,380.
That marks the highest number of people visiting the valley ever,” Doğan stated.