Sunday, 9 June 2013

Open Air Museum


There are a ton of Open Air Museums in Cappadocia. This is the one in Göreme was especially notable. The whole enclosed village was a monastery from back before the 4th century, and most of the churches there are from before the 10th century. It makes everything in France look like it was built yesterday. Some of the churches had been buried for centuries under layers of pigeon poo, so after extensive restoration they had their original brilliant colors back for the world to see...14 people at a time.


Go if you can though- it was one of the only places where the faces on the frescos were intact, as the Iconoclast fervor that grasped the area meant they had dutifully scratched out and visage. There were a lot of stairs to climb, but the path is paved. Towards the end of the day, the crowds thinned enough to not have to wait in line to see the churches.


Most of the official museum sites were really well-preserved. Too bad though, you couldn't take pictures of the frescos inside the churches at the official Open Air Museum because they want you to buy postcards and books at the gift shop.

The remarkable El Nazar church was photo-friendly, and the guardian looked as though he hadn't gotten up from his chair in days.

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But most of the churches off the main site would let you take pictures, and only a few of the more spectacular churches even had a guardian charging admission, which was somewhere around 50 cents.

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A plea for the masses: the area around the Open Air museum had a handful of horseback riding outfits where you can take a guided tour through the canyons. I must say, almost all the horses I saw looked terrible. They were almost all too thin with no access to water while tied up in the hot sun, and most of them had saddle sores and rubs from ill fitting equipment. One of them had a huge swollen bulge on one side of his face (probably an impacted tooth) causing his halter to rub the skin raw on his face. I saw very few well-tended feet. Please, if you go to this region (or any place, for that matter) and want to ride, make sure they are giving you quality horses that are well taken care of.


You should not be able to see the hip bones sharply like this.

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Or see their ribs like that.


While in the US and most of Europe, the humane society called if they are sending animals out to work that are that thin and neglected, alas, different countries have different standards, and it is up to the potential riders to judge for themselves.

I did find one group that looked healthy in weight and well taken care of:


Her nose was a bit sunburned, but no ribs and perfectly trimmed hooves. Plus she was sweet and wanted attention, so I almost had to do some frantic internet searches what kind of penalties horse thieves get in this country.



  1. Those horses make me really really sad.

    1. Yeah, it made us sad to see, especially because I saw so many yahoos out getting their fat asses hauled around the hills on their backs. It's astounding. Even if you don't know a thing about horses, you should know when an animals is starving and full of worms.