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Cappadocia's fairy chimneys, pristine snow beckons winter tourists

Cappadocia offers intrepid tourists and art lovers alike plenty to do and see during the winter months.

“There is no scene in the world as stunning as Cappadocia under snow,” said Ruth Lockwood, a businesswoman and textile expert who has lived in this central Anatolian region for 30 years. In this part of Turkey, wide plains abruptly descend into valleys teeming with fantastically shaped rock formations called “peri bacasi,” Turkish for “fairy chimney.” As Lockwood noted, “Days can be clear and sunny, and with the snow covering the fairy chimneys, it’s spectacular.”

When snow whitewashes the Cappadocian landscape, it evokes the lava belched from the region's three extinct volcanoes millions of years ago, inundating more than 1,500 square miles of the region. When the volcanic ash cooled, it formed tufa or tuff, a soft rock strikingly shaped and sculpted over time that over time by wind and natural erosion. Tufa is soft enough to carve, but hardens after exposure to air.

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