Cappadocia Goreme Museum
Goreme Museum Cappacocia
This is the one place that everybody who comes through Cappadocia goes. It's a nicely packaged instant version of what the whole area has to offer and it's a good place to start. For background on the whole scene here check out the history of Cappadocia.
The open air museum is about 2km from the town of Cappadocia Goreme itself and you can comfortably walk it. Walking in Cappadocia is usually fun anyway. As you approach you'll pass the coachpark on your right, complete with its row of souvenir shops, and on your left the buckle church, one of the finest examples of frescoes in the area. Entrance is included when you buy your ticket at the main gate so you'll probably end up visiting it on the way out of the museum. Try not to forget it.
It would be silly to give details of all the churches and rooms in the valley here as you could easily spend half a day wondering about and looking at them all. Basically what you'll find is the remains of a monastic community who made their home in this valley. Most people are struck by the frescoes and the quality of these varies from excellent to very tatty. Keep an eye open for the strange symbolic decorations in some of the smaller churches and chapels. Bear in mind when buying your ticket that the Karanli church (recently restored and with the freshest frescoes) is not included in the price and will cost you an extra $5 or so.
Over the last 2 years or so an extensive protection programme has been put into place. The churches are very prone to erosion and to prevent this they are slowly being covered with a resilient artificial surface designed to halt their gradual destruction. This looks kind of weird at first glance but it makes sense.
The Goreme Open-Air Museum, a monastic complex of rock churches and chapels covered with frescoes, is one of the best-known sites in central Turkey. Most of the chapels date from the 10th to the 13th centuries; the Byzantine and Seljuk periods and many of them are built on an inscribed cross-plan with a central cupola supported by four columns. In the north annexes of several churches are rock-cut tombs. Among the most famous of the Goreme churches are the Elmali Church, the smallest and most recent of the group; the Yilanli Church with fascinating frescoes of the damned in serpent coils; the Barbara Church,the Karanlik Church; and the Carikli Church. A short way from the main group, the Tokali Kilise, or Buckle Church, has beautiful frescoes depicting scenes from the New Testament.
The town of Goreme is set right in the middle of a valley of cones and fairy chimneys. Some of the cafes, restaurants and guest-houses are carved into the rock. For shoppers, rugs and kilims are plentiful.
on the road out of Goreme, you enter one of the most beautiful
valleys in the area. Rock formations seemingly out of a
fantasy rise up before you at every turn and entice you
to look longer and wonder at their creation. For those who
climb the steps to the top of the Uchisar Fortress the whole
region unfolds below. Rugs, kilims, and popular souvenirs
can easily be purchased from the shops which line Uchisar's
Known in Roman times as Cappadocia is one of those rare regions in the world where the works of man blend unobtrusively into the natural surroundings. Dwellings have been hewn from the rock as far back as 4,000 B.C. During Byzantine times, chapels and monasteries were hollowed out of rock, their ochre-toned frescoes reflecting the hues of the surrounding landscape. Even today troglodyte dwellings in rock cones and village houses of volcanic tufa merge harmoniously into the landscape. The Goreme is calling a Open - Air Museum in the world. A monastic complex of rock churches and chapels covered with frescoes, is one of the best - known sites in central Turkey. Most of chapels date from the 10th to the 13th century, the Byzantine and Seljuk periods, and many of them are built on an inscribed cross plan with a central cupola supported by four columns. In the narthexes of several churches are rock cut tombs. Among the most famous of the Goreme are the Elmali Church, the smallest and newest of the group; the Yilanli Church with fascinating frescoes of the damned in serpent coils. Local tradition has it that there were as many as 365 churches, one for each day of the year, of which about thirty are open to the public. All churches still standing in Goreme were built after about 850 A.D. and decorated up to the 11th century with frescoes which, despite their Byzantine influence, have extremely simple lines. architectural features were enchanced by paintings by professional artists financed by locals. Various inscriptions -sometimes accompained by portraits-bear the name of the artists and his financers; accurate historic and iconographic research have ascertained that benefactors were usualy country squires who sometimes formed trusts to carry out costly works of art.
On the Nevsehir - Urgup road you can't miss
Ortahisar and its rock-carved fortress. The churches in
the Balkan Valley are some of the oldest in the Goreme region.
In the neighboring Hallac Valley, the Hallac Monastery displays
decorations from the 10th and the 11th centuries. North
of Ortahisar, the Kizilcukur Valley is breathtakingly beautiful,
especially at sunset. In the valley is the 9th century Uzumlu
Zelve The underground cities of Kaymakli, Mazi,Derinkuyu and Ozkonak were all used by the Christians of the seventh century, who were fleeing from persecution. They sheltered from the iconoclastic strife of Byzantium as well as other invasions in these safe and well-hidden metropolises. A complete and self-sufficient environment, these cities included rooms for grain storage, stables, sleeping chambers, kitchens and air shafts. Today, they are well-lit, and an essential and fascinating part of a Cappadocian tour.
West of Avanos, Gulsehir has Hittite rock inscriptions, and nearby, at Gokcetepe, there is a bas-relief of Zeus. South on the Nevsehir road brings you to the 13th century church of St. John and farther along is Aciksaray, where the carved rocks hold churches and chapels.