Esbelli Evi, A Cozy Cave Inn
A fine small inn of comfortable cave rooms hewn from the golden stone, with beautiful views of the Cappadocian landscape, and the warmest welcome you'll receive in Turkey
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Esbelli Evi

Esbelli Sokak, 8 (P.K. 2) 50400
Ürgüp, Cappadocia, Turkey
Phone: +90 (384) 341-3395
Fax: +90 (384) 341-8848
Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel
Spring 1998
Tom Brosnahan


Another example of Turkey's values is biblical Cappadocia, the volcanic "moonscape" region deep in the Anatolian heartland, a four-hour, 200-mile, $8 bus trip south of Ankara. Over a millennium ago, Christian monks sought refuge from marauders in troglodytic dwellings tunneled into the soft volcanic tufa. Their elaborate, highly decorated underground monasteries, churches, and homes are now preserved and museums. A bonus for visitors is that the volcanic soil and dependable sunshine are perfect for cultivating grapes, and Cappadocian wines are among the country's best. There's a wine festival in June. Talk about going native: Your Cappadocian accommodation can be a spacious cave-room with window and door framed in wood, but walls, ceiling and floor of volcanic stone. The best are in the pristine, utterly charming Esbelli Evi Pansiyon (tel. 384/341-3395, fax 341-8848) in the town of Urgup. The Esbelli, an old village house cut into the rock, has been lovingly restored and now boasts rooms with modern baths ,a sun deck-terrace, two lounges, and modern kitchen and laundry facilities at your disposal. An excellent Turkish breakfast is included. Esbelli is the best of the best.

Simple but clean and comfortable rooms with twin beds and private shower (plenty of hot water) are available in the family-run Hotel Elvan (tel. 384/341-4191, fax 341- 3455) at Barbaros Hayrettin Sokak 11. Arranged around a small courtyard, some rooms are cut into the rock, others built by traditional methods, and each costs only $25 for two. And even the Elvan would be considered expensive by Turkish vacationers, who prefer the many small hotels that charge as little as $7 per person in a room with shared bath.

Urgup is only one of a dozen towns in the region, all of which boast the same or even lower prices for typically Turkish accommodations and meals.

Visitors can sample the Flintstone lifestyle at a variety of guest houses in Ürgüp, Göreme and Uchisar. Rooms and noshing spots are cared from the flanks of fairy chimneys, and rock walls still provide natural insulation from extremes of weather.

One such place is Esbelli Evi (Esbelli House), the pension in Ürgüp where we stayed. Esbelli is a district famous for its old cave houses. Owner Suha Ersoz spent seven years sculpting its staircases, sun terraces, arched sitting rooms and seven guest rooms from rocks overlooking the town. It's almost as hard to find as an underground city.

Like the monastics who were drawn to remote Cappadocia in ancient times, visitors to Esbelli Evi told us they think of it as a retreat. It is hardly a spartan one, however. Fireplaces, Turkish carpets, book laden tables, exquisite linens and other touches all testify to the spirit and imagination of a people who have carved out a simple and beautiful life in the rocks of Cappadocia.

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