Cappadocia: Terrain presentation

Posted by Jan Kocbach, 10 Mar 2010@8:00

Cappadocia scenery. Photo: Aleš Hejna

The Cappadocia region in Turkey is very special, and orienteering among the special Cappadocia rock features will be extraordinary. All that is needed is an orienteering map – the work towards getting this remarkable terrain mapped has been started.


According to Czech mapper Aleš Hejna, who has recently been in Turkey evaluating the terrain and its suitability for orienteering, the terrain can best be described as a “stony forest”. The stone features are  sandstones, not unlike what you find in many interesting areas in Hejna’s home country. However, the sand stone features in Cappadocia are often even more eye-catching than the Czech variants, due to them being located in non-forested areas and the more yellow color.


The relief consists of a high plateau over 1000 meter in altitude, that is pierced by volcanic peaks. In this area, there are a lot of interesting sandstone formations, which are actually volcanic deposits. Many of the sandstone formations create labyrinths, rock cities and passages – making the terrain very suitable and interesting for orienteering. The volcanic deposits are soft rocks that the people of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia Region carved out to form houses, churches and monasteries. According to Hejna’s reports, this most detailed terrain around the villages can be mapped as a sprint map – giving some challenging orienteering.

- Turkish runners are also waiting with impatience to run this area the next years, Turkish elite runner Alen Gavar and one of the organizers of Turkey’s biggest orienteering competition Istanbul 5 Days explains, when asked about Cappadocia. - I hope a map will be ready at the end of this year. There are also a lot of other interesting terrains in Turkey still waiting to get mapped. In the meantime, you can find several other Turkish maps in – one of the most famous ones being the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

Cappadocia - still unmapped. Do you know about other areas around the world which would be perfect for orienteering - but which are not mapped (yet). Please add a comment in the discussion area below. Photo: Aleš Hejna

Why should you run on this map before you die?

It is a bit early to choose this map as a candidate for 101 Orienteering Maps you should run on before you die - as there is still no map there. But when there is a map, this will definitely be a candidate – and we will surely want to be among the first travelling there to try out the terrain. This area is interesting because the sandstone formations will give interesting orienteering in an area which gives a lot of spectacular views. The terrain looks like it is a mix of the Czech Sandstone terrain with the openness of a mountain plateau. The Cappadocia region is also on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Points of interest: Webpage of Aleš Hejna (Olle’s maps), Hejna’s report about Cappadocia terrain, UNESCO entry for Cappadocia, Orienteering maps from Turkey


Map sample by Aleš Hejna

In addition to finding the best areas which are already mapped, the 101 Orienteering Maps project will also try to identify the great areas which have not been mapped yet – and the Cappadoica region seems to be one worth waiting for. Maybe a good reception from the orienteering community will help some map projects towards realization?

There are many areas around the world which would be perfect for orienteering – but which are not mapped (yet). Have you got some good examples? Please add a comment below and tell us about your dream terrain! We are also interested in more information about terrain containing sandstone areas. The areas in Czech Republic and in part of Germany are famous. Australia is another country which can offer interesting Sandstone orienteering. Do you know about others?


Thanks to Aleš Hejna for providing pictures and information for this article!

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20 Comments to “Cappadocia: Terrain presentation”
  1. Kenan says:

    Türkiyenin tanıtımı açısından orienteeringin etken oldugunu görmek çok güzel.
    eminimki dünyanın en iyi orienteeringçileri bile burada koşamak için can atacaklardır… çünkü dünyada böyle bir mekan yoktur.
    önce bir defa gelmeleri yeter tabiki.

    Alene’de çok teşekür ederim bu habare katkısı oldugu için..

    • Jan Kocbach says:

      Thanks for your comments, Kenan. However, my Turkish is not the best, and Google Translate tells me that this means something like “Turkey in terms of presentation orienteering factors good to see. I ‘m sure the world’s best even orienteeringçileri here”. It would be good if you could repeat in English?

  2. iBRAHİM says:

    Dünya Orienteering camiasında türkiyeden söz edilmesi ve haritası çizilmesi gereken yerler arasında gösterilmesi gerçekten mutluluk verici bir gelişme…

    Alen arkadaşımızada bu gelişmeden haberdr ettiği için teşekkür ederim…

  3. serdar çelebi says:

    waww i look forward to waiting cappadocia orienteering. this idea s supper. orienteering is not only forests and rivers but also special cappacoia map;) we ll wait sportive, many differents parts of the world, race to TÜRKİYE…

  4. huseyin ciftci says:

    Writer Jan Kocbach
    Czech mapper Aleš Hejna
    Turkish elite runner Alen Gavar

    Thaks for the article.

  5. David Sayanda says:

    I supose that this place should be one of favorites to visit in vacations ;)
    Simply beautiful!

    • Jan Kocbach says:

      That’s what I thought when I saw Ales’ pictures. Put some orienteering into the mix, and it will be perfect!

  6. Ziv Noiman says:

    Nice article but its not the subject – where is the map that we should run?
    I will not leave for ever!!!

    • Jan Kocbach says:

      The map is coming – we hope! It might already be next year – and hopefully you will live another year? We will be the first to let you know when the map is ready, so you can travel there before you die…

      In addition to showcasing the 101 orienteering maps you should run on before you die, we want to discuss other related topics on this blog. One of them is of course terrains which we think would be on the link if they had been mapped. Maybe the interest in the orienteering community gives that extra motivation for a club/federation to start a mapping project in a terrain which is fantastic? That said, the focus will of course be on the maps. We are planning to present a really nice map next week.

  7. Veysel GÜLER says:

    Thank you so much for Cappadocia project.Ales Hejna and his mapping team will draw this map for 2011.We will organize Cappad-O-cia Cup 2011 in this amazing terrain and in stone forest.We hope to see you all in Cappad-O-cia and Antalya-O-days for 2011.

    • Jan Kocbach says:

      Maps and races in 2011 sounds excellent – already looking forward to it. I’ll try to be there!

  8. Sami YILMAZ says:

    Sami Yilmaz Dear orientiring Lovers it’s will be great for you to do, orientiring between the stone forest,we will be very happy to host you in CAPADOCIA!Hope to see you soon.

  9. Ali Dede COŞKUNER says:

    Dear Sir,
    As a guide and a travel agent in CAPPADOCIA I can say that Cappad-O-cia will be in first 10 word`s orienteering maps whenever it was drowen.How happy the man who will draw the Orienteering map of Cappad-O-cia.
    Other on of the first ten things that you have to do before you die is hot air balloning over the ston forest whenever you come to CAPPADOCIA.
    Tank you indeed for your afort.

  10. Mandus Ridefelt says:

    I don’t know how it is today, but some real long-distaceO in the Redwood forests of northern California is a wet dream to me. Like ordinay continental orienteering but with trees of another world. If there will be such event i will go there!

    • Jan Kocbach says:

      Thanks for the tip, Mandus. Have you got any more specifics? Map, location etc.?

  11. Jeff Lanam says:

    Bay Area Orienteering Club (the northern California club) has only a few maps of redwood forest. The largest is Big Basin State Park. This map has been used for A meets, but has not been used recently. One reason is that access for orienteering has been difficult to obtain, as this is a heavily used park. The other reason is that the map has a lot of problems. Redwood forest has been difficult to map. The contours that the mappers see from the aerial photos are of the tops of the trees, not the ground. Since these are evergreens. taking the photos in winter does not help. We are hoping that the use of LIDAR technology will overcome this problem, but until the access issue is resolved, we don’t plan to make the effort.

    The Big Basin map is distinct in that fallen trees are mapped to plan, since many are over two meters in diameter and affect route choices.

    • Mandus Ridefelt says:

      Well the acces topic is a serious problem I guess for the most orienteering events in USA, sadly. Interesting and almost a bit funny info about the maps, extreme enivrionment is a fact. I will try it anyway to once get a Redwood orienteering experience. Truly a dream to me!

    • Ross Burnett says:

      I can concur with Jeff, as I have run at big basin, and also done some mapping of redwood terrain (Forest of Nisene Marks, south of Santa Cruz). To me this project is not about determining the most technical orienteering maps. It may be worth including a redwood map becasue they can be a ’special forest atmosphere’. So I encourage BAOC to suggest which single redwood map/area might be the most appropriate to include.

  12. Cool post; you’ve got a lot of great info about the terrain that I didn’t know.

    I just posted a photo feature on Cappadocia on my blog, Beautiful Places to Visit. Check it out here: Cappadocia, Turkey

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