"The Pasha's Vineyard"

pasab1The minor road to Zelve that leaves the main Avanos-Göreme road passes a striking fairy chimney that stands in isolation like a highwayman guarding it, Beyond that it comes to Paşabağ, not so much a settlement as a cluster of dramatic fairy chimneys. 

In the Zemi Valley behind the Tourist Hotel in Göreme the most famous and most photographed fairy chimneys are undeniably phallic-shaped. At Paşabağ, however, they come in all shapes and sizes, many of them double or triple-headed so that they resemble weird monsters from an episode of “Doctor Who” that you could almost imagine sprouting arms to snatch you as you walk past.

Here, too, there is a rock-cut church dedicated to St. Simeon, one of those strange medieval holy men who spent much of his life perched on top of a pillar. It hunkers down amid smooth-sided rock walls covered with a top layer of rock that looks almost as if someone had run a cheese wire along it ready to lift a slice onto a plate.pasab2

Inside another smaller cone the modern-day Jandarma continue the tradition of inhabiting the chimneys. 

Souvenir stands and other tourism paraphernalia line the roadside and creep as far as they dare in among the cones. A snooty camel also stands waiting for paying passengers. Tentative plans exist to move all this commercialism further from the chimnies but work has not yet begun on them. 

Transport info

The two-hourly bus linking Avanos and Ürgüp via Göreme passes through Paşabağ although if you get out you'll have a long wait for another ride.

The best bet might be to take the bus to Zelve, then walk back down to Paşabağ and pick up the return bus from there or vice versa.


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