Uchisar Castle

Uchisar Castle in the evening

Uchisar Castle is an ancient castle that is the highest point in the Cappadocia area. The fame of the castle is considered because of its man-made caves carved into the natural stones and its position that allows observing a stunning natural beauty of surrounding land. 

General Information

The geographical features of the region allow to carve caves easily. The lava of the volcanic mountains like the Erciyes mountain, Hasandağı mountain, and the Göllüdağ mountain in the region, had been accumulated tuff for thousands of years. Natural effects like wind, rain, and flood had created fairy chimneys, valleys, and the formation of the Uchisar Castle mountain. People had been carved the mountain for years and create tunnels and caves to live inside and to protect themselves. Soft soil as tuff provides to people to carve the mountain so easily. In conclusion, the general shape of the castle was created by nature, and the man gives the final formation that makes it a real castle.

The view of the fairy chimneys from the castle is wonderful. Furthermore, watching the moves of the hot air balloons of Cappadocia is a great experience, and taking impressive photos of these balloons is inevitable. If you can catch the sunset at the top of the castle, the beauty of the moment would be increased.

There are many caves and tunnels in the castle. In ancient times, they were used to live, pray, and defense the city from foreign invasions. It is fun to walk around inside these caves and tunnels and attractive to think about ancient people who spend their lives inside these caves.

Sunset from Uchisar Castle

Visiting Uchisar Castle

Visiting Uchisar Castle is surely a must-do activity if you head to Central Anatolia. As mentioned above, the castle is not a human artifact, it is a natural rock sculpted by humans. There are many caves in the castle, but they are not in perfect condition because of the effect of time. Nevertheless, it is a great activity to explore the caves. Touching the same walls with a man who lived hundreds, or maybe thousands of years ago gives a deep feeling of connection. 

You should pass a couple of tunnels to get to stairs the just outside of the castle. When you climb the stairs, you will see that hundreds of fairy chimneys from 1350 meters high. Seeing the view of the area from a balloon is certainly impressive, yet observing the area from the ground has a different taste. You can take hundreds of pictures of the stunning view of the fairy chimneys and Cappadocia.

Cappadocia is a popular spot for foreign tourists. Every year, approximately 1 million foreign tourists visit the area, and Uchisar Castle is one of the places that every tourist stops. Even though there is no special preservation law for the Uchisar Castle, the Cappadocia region is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an important emphasis for the uniqueness of the Cappadocia region, and also for Uchisar Castle.

How Do You Get To Uchisar Castle

You can get to Uchisar Castle in a couple of different ways. If you are not in the Nevşehir which is the province of the Uchisar district, you can either come to the city of Nevşehir by plane, a bus, or a rental car. Flight time is about one or one and a half hours from İstanbul. When you come to the Nevşehir by bus, travel time would be about eleven hours. Travel time with a rental car would be about the same as a bus, yet you do not have to think about how to get to Uchisar Castle from Nevşehir.

Uchisar district is approximately 6 or 7 kilometers away from Nevşehir. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., city buses are working between the center of Nevşehir and Uchisar district every half hour. If you rent a car at the Nevşehir Airport, a one-hour trip would be enough to reach the Uchisar district. After you get to Uchisar, there are many ways to enjoy the beauty of the Uchisar and the Uchisar Castle. They are:

  • Walking
  • Renting a mountain bike
  • Renting a scooter
  • Renting an ATV
  • Hiring a private driver with a car

Walking could be the best way to explore the beauty of Uchisar, and the only way to climb dozens of stairs of the Uchisar Castle. However, it is well worth it. Getting lost inside the caves and tunnel, and smelling the history of the region is an undefinable experience for everybody. Everyone should be careful of course while walking around, to not getting lost too much. The site is extremely complicated, and it is possible to find some tunnels never discovered before. However, there might be a good reason that these tunnels have been remaining hidden, it will be a wise choice to stay away from them.

A mountain bike can be rented for about 150 Turkish Liras which is about 20 American Dollars. For the ones who want to enjoy the natural beauties with less effort than walking, renting a mountain bike will be a better choice.

If you want to explore more than Uchisar, renting a scooter could be a better option for you. The renting cost of a scooter is about 200 Turkish Liras which is approximately 30 American dollars.

Cappadocia and Uchisar are famous for their special terrain. You can rent a standard ATV for the price of 40 American Dollars. You can attend quad-bike safari tours and enjoy the rough terrain with an awesome view of the valley.

For a more quick and private tour of Uchisar, you can hire a private driver with a price of about 20 American Dollars for a few hours. You can benefit from a private service for your vacation and take a quick tour where you must see in your Cappadocia travel. Moreover, you can benefit from your driver’s guide who probably has enough knowledge about the area.

Visiting Hours

Uchisar castle is open every day of the week, between the hours of 07:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Unfortunately, there is no valid information for public holidays, so arranging travel to the Uchisar Castle on usual days might be wise. 

Entrance Fee

The entrance fee of the Uchisar castle is 8 Turkish liras for 2020, so it is about 1 American Dollar. Because of the changes in the exchange rate, prices may be changed. Nevertheless, probably prices in the Turkish Lira would not be changed easily. Students may benefit from the student discount, and pay 4 Turkish Liras which is about half of an American Dollar. However, it would be better to ask whether the student discount is available for foreign tourists.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Uchisar Castle is the late spring. Cappadocia and Uchisar Castle can be visited in every season. The magnificent view of the Cappadocia will charm you in every season. However, if the weather conditions and the amount of the crowd are considerable for you, some seasons may be a better choice for you.

The summer season is the peak time of tourist activity. Even though a balloon tour in the early morning would be the best in the summer, the price of the tours and the crowd may make you reconsider your ideas. The average highest temperature of summer is about 27 °C, and the lowest temperature of summer is about 1.3 °C, according to the Turkish State Meteorological Service.

Autumn, on the other hand, would be better for a peaceful Uchisar tour yet weather conditions are getting worse in Autumn. The average highest temperature of autumn in Uchisar is about 18 °C, and the lowest temperature of autumn is about -14 °C.

Uchisar Castle in winter

Uchisar has a special beauty in the winter, but the weather might be extremely cold and the balloon tour might not be possible because of the wind. The average highest temperature of winter is about 5 °C, and the lowest temperature of winter is about -19 °C.

However, the late spring will be the better choice for uncrowded vacation and peaceful weather. The highest average temperature in May is about 32 °C. The same weather condition could be valid for early autumn, let say the first days of September.

In conclusion, late Spring and early Autumn are the best dates to visit the area.

How Long To Spend

Uchisar Castle is on the top point of the Cappadocia, and the view on top of it is absolutely stunning. The height of the castle is 1350 meters as mentioned above and it might take more than a few minutes to climb to the castle. There are caves in the castle, but checking all the caves does not take much time. Approximately, one or two hours will be enough for climbing up, seeing all the caves, and enjoying the magnificent view of Cappadocia. Nonetheless, you can spend as much time as you want to enjoy this stunning beauty.

Moreover, if you are eager to experience other activities in the region, you should take more time. There are many great hotels in the region and plenty of them are serving in the caves. You can experience the daily life of an ancient native of Cappadocia and enjoy a beautiful morning view of fairy chimneys, and balloons. You should try to stay at one of these hotels for at least one night, and get into the living history of Cappadocia.

History Of Uchisar Castle

The history of Uchisar Castle is not as colorful as some other ancient castles, still many civilizations have been established and destroyed in the area through the years. Therefore, the effects of different cultures may be seen in the Uchisar, even though hard to see the cultural effects of these civilizations in the castle. Cappadocia had been on some of the famous trade routes. For example, Persian King Route had been passing in that area. Persian King Route had been starting from western Anatolia and passing through Ikoonion, Garsaura, Mazaka, Komana, and Melitene to Fırat river. The final destination of the route was Mesopotamia. 

The Hittites which commanded a wide area including Cappadocia in Anatolia between the 18th century B.C and 12th century B.C, deeply affected the culture of Cappadocia. Cappadocia had ruled by a kingdom established in Cappadocia called the Kingdom of Cappadocia between the 4th century B.C. and 1st century B.C. After the destruction of the Persian Empire, one of the commanders of Alexander the Great, established the Kingdom of Cappadocia. Persian culture affects deeply the culture of the Kingdom of Cappadocia.

In 17 A.C, the Roman Empire invaded the Cappadocia, and the Cappadocia had become a state of the Roman Empire. There are many underground cities and tunnels in Cappadocia. Some of them were built in the era of the Roman Empire to protect the city from the Armenian invasion. 

In the Eastern Roman Empire era, also known as the Byzantium Empire, the Christian monks and priests created the caves that one of the reasons that make Cappadocia special. Caves had been used as seclusion cells, churches, houses. Moreover, examples like the Uchisar Castle show us that the caves were also used for defensive purposes. In the Roman Empire era and the eastern Roman Empire era, the Cappadoccia was always the border town that protects the empire from foreign invasions like the Sasanian Empire or the Turks.

After the 11th century A.C., Turks had been got certain victories against the eastern Roman Empire and started to gain some point in Anatolia, Cappadocia was one of these spots. The choice to settle into Uchisar. In the era of the Seljuk Empire, the city and the castle had been used as border towns and the city was quite crowded. After the Ottoman Empire conquered the area by the command of the Sultan Beyazıt II, Uchisar had been lost its importance day by day.

İsmail Çamönü

Hi! I am Ismail. I am a digital nomad from Turkey. I lived in many cities around Turkey during my life and I am passionate about traveling. At Nomad's Guide to Turkey, I share travel tips for nomads, expats, and tourists who would like to visit Turkey.

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