The name comes from the Persian word Katpaktukya, which means “land of fine horses” as the region was famous for its horses in ancient times.
Horses are still very popular with locals, and they are often used by travellers as alternative means of transport when visiting these interesting regions in all respects.
The flight from Istanbul to Kayseri, one of the airports in Cappadocia, takes an hour and a half. Upon arrival, we immediately went to Urgup – a small town where the head office of our host company is located.
ARGEUS TRAVEL & EVENTS
The visit to the ancient volcanic stone building, which in the past was a post office and even a prison, made a strong impression on us.
Now, the restored mansion looks like a comfortable place to work and like a hospitable home. But most of all, we enjoyed communicating with its inhabitants – kind and helpful people!
In a friendly atmosphere, over a glass of Turkish tea and local sweets, we talked with the management and staff of the company, where Aydin Ayhan Güney, Managing Partner of the company, Selçuk Sarpkaya, Operations Director and Çiğdem Sak, Lead Tour Consultant and Tour Guide, told us about their activities and answered our questions.
Thank you for the hospitality, excellent program and the support of the TourPressClub journalists in organizing our visit to Turkey! Please tell us the history of your company and what goals did you set when creating it?
ARGEUS TRAVEL & EVENTS was founded in Cappadocia in 1993 with the aim of organizing high quality individual travel services throughout Turkey. For us, the tradition of Turkish hospitality is of paramount importance, therefore, both our employees and contractors are encouraged to treat people traveling with our services as their own guests and not as customers.
As a small company, we decided to specialize. Defined target market: discerning, individual tourists; traveling with family or as part of a like-minded group interested in cultural, archaeological or other outdoor activities. We work with travellers who prioritize what they want to see and do on an itinerary designed for in-depth exploration rather than a superficial “I have been there”. For those who prefer small, unique boutique hotels to large global hotel chains. Our client is one who realizes the professionalism and knowledge of a guide who is able to show all the delights of our beautiful country. We serve travellers who value quality every step of the way.
In order to constantly maintain a high level of service, we study the expectations of our guests. We understand that each request is unique and should be treated as such. Our team of professionals in the field of travel preparation, has the experience and knowledge of the needs of our guests, in order to better adapt them to the peculiarities of Turkey.
We have an international team of guides and drivers speaking many languages, including Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, English, Italian. Using the finest boutique hotels and local suppliers, we have created a worthy end product. We value the importance of detail and the need for excellent service, and we know our reputation depends on it.
ARGEUS TRAVEL & EVENTS is a respected family of professionals who share the same philosophy of serving customers who later become our friends. In May of this year, it was 24 years since I have been working in this company. Aydin and I are friends from school and have known each other since the age of eleven, and I have known Çiğdem since her birth.
What tours do you offer and for whom?
Our tours are divided into different categories covering the whole of Turkey. Basically, we develop individual tours and can easily prepare programs of interest in addition to those indicated on our website. For this, the client needs to provide the necessary information to me or our staff, who are experts in all directions of Turkey.
We are pleased to fulfil any request or provide our recommendations for the Turkish program.
Our target group is clients who prefer to travel only with family or close friends. Either those who are preparing for their “honeymoon” or want to spend a vacation just for themselves. We know that these travellers have many reasons for individual travel.
Who most often visits Cappadocia?
We are visited from all over the world! It all started with the French, British and Portuguese. Then there were many tourists from Japan and South Korea. Now we are visited by a lot of tourists from China and Russia.
I want to note that over the years Cappadocia has been visited by tourists interested in caves, nature, history and cultural heritage. Now, the flow of tourists has changed and we have a lot of “instagram-travellers” who, although invest in their trips for beautiful photography, do not visit museums, are not interested in local traditions or nature. Unfortunately, more and more companies are adjusting to such travellers who do not care about the uniqueness of the area or the quality of services, but the concept of exaggerated luxury is more important – a jacuzzi in a hotel room, carpets, etc. I think a reasonable balance is very important here…
We know that you also organise a number of sports events in the country.
How did it happen?
Many years ago we combined tourism and sporting events at one point, importing 63 mountain bikes to Turkey for the first time in 1989, four years before our company was founded.
We are proud that ARGEUS TRAVEL & EVENTS has been organizing the “Presidential Bike Tour” in Turkey since 2008. We also organize: Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Trail (the largest of its kind in the world), Aladağlar Sky Trail, Cappadocia Bike Festival and Alanya Ultra Trail.
I would like to add that we have also successfully implemented and have been conducting for many years the Antalya Tour with the support of AKRA, Salcano Cappadocia Bike Bicycle Festival, AKRA Gran Fondo in Antalya, Salcano Gran Fondo Marmaris, Veloturk Gran Fondo Çeşme and others Events.
What attracts Russian tourists to Cappadocia?
Cappadocia is unique. Russians and Russian-speaking tourists have discovered our region relatively recently.
A lot of tourists are interested in outdoor activities, and in Cappadocia there are excellent opportunities for this: horse riding, hot air ballooning, running, mountain biking, kitesurfing, hang gliding and more.
For example, this year, about 20% of the participants in the Alanya Ultra Trail sports event were from countries where many speak Russian.
We see that more and more tourists from these countries are interested in exclusive and individual travel in small groups.
Therefore, we are now building a new structure in the company to serve travellers from Russia and the CIS countries.
HOTEL IN THE CAVE
For the first time we stayed at such an original hotel – Kale Konak Cave Hotel, built right into the mountain.
The hotel got its name in honor of the nearby Uchisar Castle – the highest point in the region. The charming Emel Kanik, manager of the establishment, showed and spoke about the hotel, which has only 17 rooms, some of which are cave rooms carved into the rock, while others are decorated with arches, which are elements of the traditional architecture of the region.
Guests are offered: three deluxe rooms, four suites and ten standard double rooms. All rooms have modern amenities and are beautifully decorated and furnished with antique furniture.
We would like to note the luxurious breakfast with elements of traditional Turkish cuisine, which start at 08:00 and have no time limits. We were very impressed by the assortment of cheeses, pastries, jams and oriental sweets. In addition, the hotel offers unlimited tea, coffee, water and freshly squeezed orange juice.
It is also important that the hotel accepts guests with dogs, so if you are traveling with your furry friend, it will be very welcome too.
ON THE AIR BALLOON
Due to its landscape, Cappadocia is considered one of the best places on Earth for hot air ballooning.
To make an exciting air trip, we had to get up at three o’clock in the morning, about an hour before sunrise and go to the office of Voyager Balloons – the operator of balloons for a light breakfast.
Then we were transported to the departure area, where we received detailed instructions on safety, observing the process of preparing huge cylinders for the expedition.
After the completion of all organizational formalities, an action that would be remembered for a lifetime began – taking off from the ground, slowly ascending into the sky against the background of the rising sun! Emotions were overwhelming, and bizarre landscapes only complemented the surreal picture of what was happening…
During an hour and a half flight at an altitude of about a thousand meters above sea level, we had a unique opportunity to view amazing rock formations at close range, fly over the Pigeon Valley, look at the main attractions of the region from a bird’s eye view, admire the stunning landscapes of the eastern part of central Anatolia…
Our experienced pilot Yasin Öztürk was very pleasant to talk to, and thanks to his knowledge of the area and subtle sense of humor, he perfectly complemented an interesting trip.
After landing, we were presented with personalised Certificates confirming the flight in a hot air balloon and celebrated this event with champagne. We were then driven back to the hotel for breakfast, which was very needed.
The entire location of Cappadocia is a geographical miracle, formed many millions of years ago due to the eruption of a volcano on Mount Erciyes. The lava flows that poured out of the bowels froze, and the rock was called volcanic tuff – a light, but rather strong building material.
The open-air museum is located in the ancient historical district of Nevsehir province. The softness of the rock contributed to the appearance of various objects of the complex.
Historical research shows that the first human settlements in Goreme began in 1800 BC, and that objects carved into the rocks were built by local communities from the tenth century onwards, as people saw the opportunity to carve out monasteries, houses on the summits of soft rock formations.
Monks gouged numerous churches and temples in the rocks. In those days, there were hundreds of them, and to this day, only a few dozen have survived in good condition. In many of them magnificent fresco paintings of the XI-XII centuries have survived.
The most famous rock temples in Goreme are the churches of St. Basil and St. Barbara, as well as the Serpentine and Curved Churches, the Sandal Church, the convent and others, which form a panorama of bizarre outlines and shapes.
All ancient sculptures from 1985 are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A private museum of pottery and ceramics in the Avanos area, consisting of many exhibition halls, recreation areas and other facilities for a comfortable visit, carved from rocks 20 meters underground and covering an area of 1600 m². It is the world’s only underground ceramics museum in terms of its architecture, structure and concept.
The production of ceramics in this region has a rich tradition since about 2000 BC, from the time of the Hittites and has been carefully passed down from generation to generation.
The museum has a solid collection of terracotta works of art as well as small finds.
The museum also houses a shop where you can buy original handicrafts with delivery anywhere in the world.
Practical classes with demonstration of the peculiarities of pottery are held here. We took part in one of the lessons and realized Guray is an atelier of classy craftsmen who create magnificent works of ceramic art.
The raw material for production is ecologically clean red clay, delivered from a local reservoir.
Experienced potters carefully preserve the school and traditions of ceramic production of Avanos, delighting numerous guests visiting this unique region of Turkey with their works.
In short, a trip to Cappadocia is almost like visiting another planet. The landscape is so unique that it’s hard to believe that such things really exist until you see everything with your own eyes.