“Fairy chimneys” are the end result of a geological process that began millions of years ago when volcanic eruptions reigned.

Mention fairy chimneys and thoughts turn immediately to Cappadocia. These extraordinary mushroom-shaped rock formations have become the most recognised symbol of Cappadocia.

Fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. Photo Credit: Dem Turkish Centre

But fairy chimneys can also be found in other places in Anatolia.


A brief history

Çankırı is the capital city of Çankırı Province, and is located in the Inner Anatolian Regions’s entrance to the Black Sea, about 140 km northeast of Ankara. It is situated about 800 m (2500 ft) above sea level.

Çankırı was known in antiquity as Gangra, and later Germanicopolis. The city has also been known as Changra, Kandari or Kanghari. Over the centuries the settlement witnessed the many cultures and races from the Hittites to Ottoman Turks.

Although extensive scientific and archeological work has not been done so far, the remains in the ancient burial mounds show that Çankırı has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age (7000 – 5000 B.C.). Traces of the Old Bronze Age (3000 – 2000 B.C.) are evident in the whole region and many signs of Hittite life remain around the Kızılırmak river area and also most of the streams leading from this river. 

The Galatians named the city Gangrea and various pronunciations over the years caused the present variation. In Galatian the word Gangrea means “Place of Many Goats”.

Çankırı has many attractions

Mostly popular with Turkish tourists, Çankırı has many attractions such as national parks, natural monuments, caves, museums, and ruinsas well as shopping areas.

Fairy chimneys of Çankırı
Şemsiyeli Sokak (Umbrella Street) in Çankırı. Photo Credit: www.cankiri.bel.tr

The Çankırı Fortress stands on a small hill to the north of the city. It has stood strong throughout the Roman, Byzantine, Danishmend, Seljuk and Ottoman eras, even though only a few walls remain today. The four-cornered shaped castle was built from a variety of rubble stone and bricks.

Fairy chimneys of Çankırı
Çankırı Castle. Photo Credit: History of the Seljuks

1,300ft below the hilly countryside around Çankırı is a stunning salt mine which was first dug by primitive humans around 5,000 years ago and is still in use today.

Fairy chimneys of Çankırı
The 5,000-year-old mines inside caves and tunnels in Turkey which are still in use today. Photo Credit: Melih Sular/Solent News
Fairy chimneys of Çankırı
This 5,000-year-old salt cave is open to tourist and is thought to be effective in healing asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses. Photo Credit: Islam.ru

Fairy chimneys of Çankırı 

Although there are nearly 150 fairy chimneys in the valley, Çankırı is not known for its chimneys. The area was listed as a protected area in 1990 and remains one of the hidden wonders of central Anatolia.

Fairy chimneys of Çankırı
Fairy chimneys in the Devrez Stream Valley. Photo Credit: anews.com.tr

The fairy chimneys are located in the Devrez Stream Valley of Çankırı , an area that is popular with visitors interested in fishing or trekking.

Fairy chimneys of Çankırı
Devrez Stream Valley and its fairy chimneys. Photo Credit: anews.com.tr

The Çankırı Tourism Association plan to reveal this hidden natural treasure to the world, hoping to attract more foreign tourists to the area.

The propose to build a road and a bridge across the Devrez stream, providing visitors with easy access to the site where the fairy chimneys dot the landscape. The association have also suggested a recreation area be built on the site.

In order to protect the site, signs raising awareness about pollution will be erected in certain parts of the valley.

Once the infrastructure work is done, Devrez Stream Valley and its fairy chimneys will be a major tourist attraction in the region.

Sources: news.com.tr/seturbiz.com/Çankırı Ticaret Borsası