Paşabağı Valley, Cappadocia

Last Updated on July 8, 2022

The Paşabağı Valley between Çavuşin village and Zelve Open-Air Museum is a fine example of Cappadocia's moonscape topography, with fairy chimney pinnacles of tawny tufa topped by dark rock bombs.

Paşabağı (PAH-shah-bah, "the Pasha's Vineyard") is a favored stop on guided tours of the region, so of course souvenir and snack stands have sprung up on the road to serve visitors.


It's easy to see the geology here. Paşabağı is a good lesson in stratification and differential erosion.

First a thick layer of hot tufavolcanic ash was laid down, followed by a layer of darker, denser, hotter and thus harder rock laid on top. The upper layer was eroded, but the harder upper rock took longer to erode than the softer tufa beneath, so "caps" of the darker stone protected the tufa beneath like stone umbrellas, allowing the fairy chimneys to form.

Wander among the fairy chimneys for a look at the caves, mostly human-carved, some for religious purposes.

—by Tom Brosnahan

Paşabağı Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey

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