During the 1950s, the local people were evacuated to new Zelve, which is nearby the old one, due to the deteriorating conditions on the walls of the houses. The old town is open to visitors now.
Zelve had always been a secure hiding place for early Christians against the Romans and later on the Arab conquerors.
The "Church with the Grapes" or "Uzumlu Kilise" in local language, is one of the most interesting churches in the area. The frescoes, painted on the walls, showing bunches of grapes were ritualistic symbols of some earlier religions, popular in the region and also representing Christ according to the Christian belief.
There is also one mosque carved into the rocks remaining from early Muslim era.