VALLEY OF IHLARA


The deep canyon was formed by the water flowing down from the Melendiz mountains and the Hasan Dag throughout the millenniums. It is 95kms to the south of Nevsehir. Ihlara valley has a very different character than the whole Cappadocia region. There are tall steep rock walls surrounding the valley on both sides. It has a unique picturesque value along the 16kms long canyon. The valley reaches to the cave villages of Ihlara and Selimiye on both ends.

There are more than hundred churches, carved into the rock walls of the valley. Some of them are very difficult to reach. These churches are from the 4th and 9th century. The art in the churches was Syrian and Egyptian influenced. This is very obvious with its simplicity and limited color variety.

Among very different churches, in style and colors, we noticed a few of them with some remarkable values. The "Church with columns" or "Direkli Kilise" in the local language, has a large central dome supported by four columns and the walls are decorated with frescoes. Another one is "Church with Snakes" or "Yilanli Kilise", which was named after the painting on the wall, with snakes attacking the sinners.

The "Church under the trees" or "Agac Alti Kilise", is named after the tall and dense trees of the valley which was protected against the cold central Anatolian weather by the walls of the canyon throughout the millenniums.

You will see plenty of other very interesting churches along the way your journey to the other end of the valley.


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