The upside of that is the renewed pleasure to be had when, every now and then, something happens to make you look afresh at what lies in front of you; this happens when the light plays particular tricks with the Aktepe plateau that faces my house.
But if I sometimes catch myself taking Göreme’s beauty for granted, the reality is that for many of the locals it isn’t even a consideration. You can see this most obviously in the design of the houses. When I first rented the upstairs of a house at the top of the village, it was strange to find the hall windows looking in on the village rather than out over the view. When a friend with architectural training came to call, his imagination was soon busily reshaping it. “Put a window here and here,” he said, “And think how spectacular it would be.” Yet clearly for the original owners the view had been an irrelevancy.
It’s the same story with a lovely house that stands just up the hill from where I live now. One room stands out from the rest of the property, and until I went to visit I’d always fondly imagined it a place where the family could relax with a view of Aktepe. Instead I found it full of dried grapes and with the windows positioned to look -- you’ve guessed it -- back over the village rather than at the view. The house is now slated to become a hotel and I wouldn’t mind betting that one of the very first changes that will be made to it will be the insertion of a window in the wall where a non-Göremeli would have expected it to be.
Here in the village, wedding season is now in full and noisy motion, and last week I went to a kına gecesi (henna night) for a neighbor’s daughter. It was held in an old Düğün Salonu (Wedding Room) that has been hosting such events since long before I came to the village. In that time nothing at all has been done to make it more inviting. There’s no air conditioning despite the intense summer heat. There are no pictures on the wall. The furnishings are utterly prosaic.
This at a time when Göreme is a popular wedding destination for foreigners living all over the country, who, without exception, book themselves into the finest cave hotels, sometimes even arranging to tie the knot in a hot-air balloon. Because for us yabancıs the view is everything. Even blasé old me would be doing her utmost to come up with somewhere spectacular were she ever to decide to host a big party here.
Come to think of it, it will soon be the 10th anniversary of my moving into my own house here. When I’d lived in the village for 10 years, I had big plans to hold a party in the Mehmet Paşa Konağı, the old Ottoman governor’s beautiful house. That option is no longer on the table, but you can be sure I won’t be celebrating my anniversary in an overheated concrete box with no windows looking onto the outside world.
Pat Yale lives in a restored cave-house in Göreme in Cappadocia.