The number of tourists that have visited Cappadocia, a central Anatolian destination famous for its underground cities, houses carved into rock and volcanic cones called “fairy chimneys,” increased around 48 percent in 2017, due to a boost from Russia.
Cappadocia’s museums and archeological sites were visited by more than two million tourists in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to data from the local tourism agency in the province of Nevşehir, where Cappadocia is located.
In 2016, the region was visited by more than one million tourists.
The most crowded month of the year was August with more than 320,000 visits.
The destination also allows tourists to enjoy a bird’s-eye-view of the historic city with hot air balloon rides.
The most favorite touristic site was Göreme Open Air Museum, and it was followed by Haci Bektaş Veli Museum, Kaymaklı Underground City, Derinkuyu Underground City and Zelve Archeological Site.
Cengiz Ekici, the deputy director of the Nevşehir Culture and Tourism office, told Anadolu Agency that 2017 was a year of recovery for Cappadocia tourism.
He said the region also started to attract visitors from Russia, which now finds its place on the list of top 10 countries that have sent the largest number of tourists to the site.
“Cappadocia is a region that has many activities along with its rich history, culture and nature,” Ekici said.
“We have many visitors from around the world but Russians were the surprise of 2017,” he added.
Ekici also said he hopes 2018 will be a better year, commenting on preparations for Chinese tourists.
“A China street will be prepared in the framework of a project named ‘CappadoChina,’ which is coordinated by the Nevşehir Governor’s Office. We plan to draw the attention of tourists who will come from this country,” he said.