In Cappadocia, there is a particular valley about which there’s a lot of sniggering: Baglidere Valley, better known as Love Valley. My question is, why the word “love” for a valley full of giant phallic-looking structures? Was it the least controversial name of what could have been chosen? Someone didn’t want to put in the time to come up with a better name?
As you meander around the site staring at these things, you kind of wonder if the ancients had a really crude sense of humour or if they worshipped male fertility. (Un)Fortunately, the reasons for the existence of these structures don’t actually lie with men or Man. It’s Mother Nature again. For thousands of years, wind and rain/snow slowly eroded the layers of volcanic ash that had been spewed by local volcanoes to form Cappadocia’s landscape. Sometimes, a piece of basalt forms on the top of an ash layer which means that when the surrounding ash eventually erodes away, the part below the basalt is protected. This leaves behind conical rock structures. Conical rock structures with a cap. Capped conical rock structures that apparently look like a homage to man-hood. But who knows how long these structures will last – erosion continues to this day so eventually, one day in the future, the weight of the basalt caps will overcome the steadily narrowing cones of ash. The resulting crashes are bound to be loud and dusty.
When you first arrive at Baglidere, the first thing you will notice is the rather obnoxious man trying to shove his camera into your face. Unfortunately, you haven’t just been discovered by Turkey’s Next Top Model. It is just a guy who will upload your photo to a computer which will then print the photo onto a plate. He will then try to sell it to you. I don’t think he was successful in getting my photo as I was ready for his ambush because I saw him doing his shtick long before I disembarked from the van. Dude was pissed off for some reason when I kept turning my face away from his camera. Why he was annoyed, I don’t know – I’m sure he’s not new to the concept of rejection…
Wandering around the central part of the site doesn’t take long. There are a number of caves and holes in which you can poke your head and some fading bits of paint to admire. But those are really not why one goes to the Love Sha – I mean, Valley. There are also a few side trails that you can explore if you are there without a group. Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot there. So enjoy the free peep show!
Question: Is the Love Valley the only place of its kind in the world or are there other randomly non-manmade phallic structures around?