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KONAKLI

konak1Old name: Misli (Greek)

Market day: Sunday

The small settlement of Konaklı, south of Derinkuyu off the road to Niğde, is a grim and dust-blown sort of place that nevertheless advertises itself as the homeland of potatoes and wheat.

Despite its pretty name which means "with a mansion" in Turkish there's not much reason to stop here unless you are particularly interested in the new churches that were built in large numbers in 19th-century Cappadocia after the law was changed to permit non-Muslims to build new places of worship. 

If you are interested then it's particularly worth coming to see the large and imposing Church of St Basil, the roofline of which is studded with mini-domes while the facade is decorated with tiny carvings of cherubim and the double-headed eagle of Byzantium. The church was being restored when I visited in May 2014 so you might want to delay a visit until the work is complete and the interior may be accessible.

The church stands in a strange landscape that looks as if some large burrowing animal has been hard at work digging it all up. Actually, the assorted holes, caverns and underground stores are used to keep the potatoes cool as they are around Şahinefendi.

Signs suggest that there is an underground city here. If so, there is no obvious trace of it and the bus driver just said emphatically that there was no such thing. 

Transport info

There is a timetabled bus service from Niğde's old bus station to Konaklı. In the week there are buses roughly every hour and a half but at weekends they are far less frequent. 

Read anout my visit to Konaklı: http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist/pat-yale_349355_konak-free-konakli.html

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