Mustafapaşa, formerly known as Sinasos, is located in Cappadocia Region with around 1,300 inhabitants. It has a unique view with its stone buildings on the margins of 5 surrounding hills. An open-air museum, Mustafapaşa has been home to various civilizations which left important examples of civil architecture like churches, mosques and stone houses with carved and ornamented facades, showcasing the scenery of the region shaped by its topography and climate.
Diversity enriches the life in Mustafapaşa where the Balkan and Anatolian cultures are intertwined, contributing to the development of peculiar arts and crafts such as pottery, tile-making, doll making and stonemasonry. Rural economic activities in the village vary from agriculture to stockbreeding to tourism.
Due to its outstanding cultural and historical heritage and location on crossroads, Mustafapaşa has always been an attraction for visitors; however, tourism has grown naturally and gradually in the last decades. The increasing interest in the region has led to diversification of tourism products, and an increase in income and job generation for all segments of the community, especially for women and youth.
Tourism has enabled the development of infrastructure and community services through public and private investments. The Conservation Plan of the village dated 2004 helped to increase awareness and protection of cultural heritage. The Tourism development plan has increased the community involvement in planning, management and decision-making mechanisms coordinating as well with regional and local DMOs, Cappadocia University and other stakeholders.
In Mustafapaşa, tourism contributes to “rural development and balanced growth through inclusive, sustainable and innovative actions empowering community and businesses, while protecting common cultural heritage, diversity and genuine lifestyle of Cappadocia.”
A new rival in Cappadocia
The Provincial Administration in cooperation with other stakeholders are launching “Promoting Monastery Valley as a Tourism Destination (Mini-Cappadocia) Project”. Its aim is to develop “Monastery Valley” in Mustafapaşa as an alternative attraction that rivals Göreme Heritage Site, focusing on culture, faith and nature tourism.
Planning future conservation
The Mustafapaşa Conservation Plan manifests the principles of protection of natural, cultural, and historical heritage, designating the terrain use and construction provisions, and methodology for new residential projects. The plan contributed to protection of authentic texture of the village and assist sustainable rural development.
Mustafapaşa has a multi-cultural heritage, which is also being studied by Cappadocia University. Traditions, ceremonies and gastronomy of immigrants are celebrated during the Culture and Art Festival, started in the 2000s, that gathers immigrants and descendants in order to appreciate their common cultural heritage and history.