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
E-Mail: esbelli@esbelli.com
ESBELLİ EVİ IN THE PRESS & WEB
Harpers & Queen
H&Q Travel - August, 1999 - Page 134
Susanna Gross

Heartbeat Hotels - Esbelli House, Cappadocia

At first sight, Cappadocia in central Anatolia is not so much beautiful as weird - a sort of geological wonderland.About 30 million years ago, volcanoes spewed a deep layer of ash over the region, which slowly turned into tufa. This soft, porous stone has gradually eroded to form peaks, crags, stalagmites, and cones, which, as Eric Newby put it, resemble either giant fungi or phalluses, depending on your state of mind.

Stranger still,many of these odd formations are pockmarked with small openings for doors and windows.Over the millennia, the soft, dusty rock has been carved into catacombs of hermit cells, dwellings,and churches (many of which are decorated with original Byzantine paintings).There are at least 40 underground cities - some ten storeys deep - where the early Christians hid from their Roman persecutors.

Today, Cappadocia's cave dwellings have mostly been abandoned for houses of brick and concrete. But stone -age chic has arrived, and many have been restored and turned into hotels. Of these, none is more elegant than Esbelli House on the outskirts of the town of Urgüp. The Hotel ,which only serves breakfast, has a simplicity and purity that Anouska Hempel can only dream of.Its eight bedrooms are hollowed out of the hillside and are connected by courtyards and tunnels. Each is finished in traditional Turkish style and features little furniture: there are no wardrobes - clothes are stored in niches carved into the rock. But they could not be more comfortable: the beds are kingsize, the adjoining shower-rooms are immaculate, and the rock - which keeps the rooms cool during the day and retains heat during the night - has the look and feel of ancient marble.

White washed walls are covered with Turkish artifacts, and opulent kilims are draped over Ottoman divans and stone floors in this ancient seven - room house carved into the side of a cliff. If staying in a sixth - century cave sounds primitive, fear not: there are modern bathrooms, designer beds, and heat ; jazz is played on the rooftop terrace. Venture farther underground to explore troglodyte cities, where the persecuted Cappadocian Christians survived for decades.

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