Mazi is a small village about 30-40 minutes from Goreme in Cappadocia. When we were looking to visit one of the three underground cities listed in Lonely Planet, we asked Selim (one of the young brothers who runs Traveller's Cave Pension) which one he would recommend. He was the one who told us about and recommended Mazi Underground City, telling us it was much more authentic than the ones listed in the book, which had become too touristy. And he was right! On the day that we visited Mazi with Selim it was raining slightly and we were the only tourists in the village. Selim introduced us to our Mazi tour guide, Ihsan Cavdar, who first sat with us and bought us tea at the local tea house that was filled with local men all smoking, talking and playing cards or backgammon. Then we went across the road where Ihsan provided us with flashlights and we entered Mazi underground city. Ihsan knows the place very well, which is good because after a few turns from one tunnel to the next we would have been completely lost on our own. Ihsan explained the use of the different rooms and areas, and gave us a few surprises (we won't say what they were so as not to ruin the experience). The highlight of the tour, however, is being able to actually climb from one level of the cave to the next using connecting tunnels cut into the ceiling (see photos!). That's what makes this tour truly authentic.
When we visited Mazi Underground City in July 2009 there was no entrance fee. Selim told us to just give a small tip to the guide. We weren't sure what "small" meant, but after our great experience with Ihsan we gave him 20 TL (about $13).
Mazi Underground City had not even been on our list of things to do in Cappadocia, and it turns out that it's one of our best memories from all of Turkey. Don't miss it!
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