Ortahisar means "middle castle" in Turkish and as the name implies, it is situated between Göreme, Ürgüp, Uçhisar and Nevşehir. Somehow, when tourism was growing rapidly in Cappadocia during the 1980s and 1990s, Ortahisar stayed more or less out of it despite its central location, being only 6 km from Ürgüp and even closer to Göreme. Now its old part is an amazing place of abandoned and derelict dwellings, definitely worth a visit. Most of them are unfortunately beyond repair.
Ortahisar has picturesque stone houses both old and new, narrow streets and lovely churches. Its most prominent structure is the castle of Ortahisar, a 86 m high natural rock formation which has been used both strategically in the Roman times as a castle and later for accommodation. Today it has been restored and the peak is sometimes accessible by climbing up a staircase. The castle offers a magnificent panorama over the fairy chimneys of Hallaç Dere valley and Mount. Erciyes. An underground passage links it to İshak Kale (also known as İsa Kale, the Castle of Christ), which rises at a distance of about 350 m. From the foot of the castle the town descends right into a deep ravine.
When approaching Ortahisar you will notice doors on the rock surface on both sides and see chimneys sticking out of the rock surface. These doors open into the best natural underground storage spaces in Cappadocia. As these caves maintain an ideal temperature and humidity for storing agricultural produce, lemons and oranges from the Mediterranean region, apples from Niğde, local potatoes, quinces and onions are stored there. Citrus fruits absorb water from the humid cave air and become juicier, green lemons and oranges also slowly turn yellow or orange in these storage caves.
In the valleys surrounding Ortahisar there are many interesting churches. These are Sarıca church, Cambazlı church, Tavşanlı church, Balkan Deresi churches and Hallaç Dere monastery. Ortahisar also has an ethnographic museum where you can learn about life in Cappadocia.
Ortahisar can be visited on our Winter Special Tour 2 and private Outstanding Cappadocia Tour.