One of the numerous strange natural features of the landscape of Cappadocia. A fairy chimney is a vertical structure, roughly conical in shape, wider at the bottom than at the top, with a pointed cap.

They are formed when a cap of basalt or another hard igneous rock shields a column of softer tufa beneath it. Wind and water erosion cut the softer material away, leaving the chimney standing alone, looking very much like a stalagmite without a cave. They can vary in size significantly, with some small enough not to be noticed among other rock formations, and others that are larged enough to be hollowed out (the rock inside is usually the soft tufa) and used as a storage room or a dwelling.

The name came from the belief by early observers that these structures could not be naturally occurring, and must have been made by some supernatural force. They theorized that since fairies lived underground, they needed chimnies to prevent suffocation from fire fumes. Thus, they must have built chimnies connected to the world above, chimnies that would look just like the weird stone structures sticking up above the ground.

etoile notifies me tha due to the shape of some of these structures, Cappadocia is sometimes called the 'valley of the penis'. Eeeeeew.

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