Ortahisar is a Turkey village that is becoming increasingly popular among tourists for its beauty and for its jugged castle. Even if surrounding towns became more touristic, Ortahisar managed to remain traditional, rustic, charming and most important: slow-paced.
Donkey carts rattle down the lanes regularly, elderly men mooch all day outside teashops and if you visit the village in April when the citrus storage caves are thrown open, the scent of lemons permeates the town.
Ortahisar is famous for its friendly inhabitants, picturesque stone houses, narrow streets and lovely churches as well as the castle-like rock formation after which the town is named. This 90m high natural fortress, a prominent landmark in the region – honeycombed with caves and tunnels, camouflaged by nature without the slightest indication of human presence inside – has partly crumbled away revealing some of its interiors. Today it has been restored and the peak is accessible by a staircase. The Ortahisar Castle offers a magnificent panorama over the fairy chimneys of Hallacdere and the snowy peak of Mt. Erciyes.
If you follow the street close to the main fortress, you can visit Ali Reis Church with Christ on the main dome. If you keep on the main street down south you can see the Balkan Deresi up to the Balkan Churches. Some churches in the vicinity of Ortahisar have been opened recently. Keep right for 2 km when leaving Urgup towards Mustafapasa (Sinasos), after 1 km you will see the yellow signs for the Sarica Church and the Kepez Church. Another kilometre will take you to Pancarlik Church in Pancarlik Valley, which has very fine frescoes on its ceiling.
Enjoy the city at its best by having a drink and a meal in an underground cave bar, marvel at a 78-meter high castle and, if you are brave enough, explore the underground cave storage where citrus fruits are stashed until they ripen.
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