Oct 31, 2014

The Penis Valley of Turkey

One of the lesser-known tourists attractions in Turkey is in Göreme, about five hours south of Ankara, an old Roman town in a dusty volcanic valley.

From most places in town, you can see the giant penises...um, I mean "fairy chimneys" created by rock erosion.

But for a better view, walk about a mile north of town to the Göreme Historical National Park (Göreme Tarihi Milli Parkı), to see hundreds of shafts, some so precisely like penises that you'll swear they were carved for that reason.

The Turkish government pretends that no one has ever noticed the connection, but savvy travelers refer to the park as the Valley of Love.

Christian monks began carving out cells in the penises...um, chimneys...beginning in the fourth century AD. By the 12th century, there were churches, too, decorated with beautiful frescoes that still survive (bring a flashlight -- there isn't much light).

No nudity in the frescoes; it was enough, apparently, to live inside a giant penis.

Although Göreme has a population of only 2,500, it is well set up for tourists, with lots of hotels carved into the caves.

Try the Fat Boys Bar -- not exactly gay, but cute waiters, hamburgers, and alcohol.

See also: A Bodybuilding Contest in Turkey;  and The Penis Cemetery of Iran.