The Painted Cave Churches of Goreme
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The Painted Cave Churches of Goreme

Cappadocia is one of the wonders of the world with its many incredible geological formations. It was a result of both constructive and destructive forces of nature – volcanic activity and erosion. Among of the famous sites in this region are the painted cave churches of Göreme.

Cappadocia is one of the wonders of the world with its many incredible geological formations. It was a result of both constructive and destructive forces of nature – volcanic activity and erosion. Among of the famous sites in this region are the painted cave churches of Göreme.

It was known as the “Land of the Three Saints” because of the three remarkable theologians namely: St. Basil the Great, his brother St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Gregory of Nazianzus, who contributed a great deal to the Christian doctrine and to the Eastern Orthodox thought. St. Basil was instrumental in developing Christian monasticism, of which these cave churches are a product.

Goreme was a village in Cappadocia who was formerly known as Avcilar. It is located on the banks of the Kodarak River. The village is characterized by the number of cones used as rock-cut dwellings, and made popular by their cave churches. Medieval orthodox Christian monks carved the caves from the soft volcanic stones, and decorated them with elaborate Byzantine frescoes whose colors still retain their original freshness. Most of the frescoes in the churches were damaged by natural forces like wind, water, weather, earthquake, and shepherd boys who sought refuge in the caves and used the faces of the figures as targets for pebble attacks. But the beauty of the churches and their decoration is still visible.

There are over 13 cave churches in this village namely:

1. The Tokali (Buckled) Church

2. St. Basil's Church (Basil Kilise)

3. The Elmali Church

4. The Yilanli (Snaked) Church

5. The Dark Church

6. The Çarikli Church

7. The Saint Barbara Chapel

8. The Durmus Kadir Church

9. The El-Nazar Church

10. The Sakli (Hidden) Church

11. The Kiliçlar (Swords) Church

12. The Meryem Ana (Mother Mary) Church (K?l?çlar Ku?luk Church)

13. The Saint Eustathios Church

Most of the Frescos on these churches depict the Saints, the Joyful Tiding, The Visit, The proof of the Virginity, the voyage to Bethlehem, the birth, the worship of the three astrologers, the massacre of the innocent children, the escape to Egypt, the presentation of Jesus to the temple, the descent of Jesus, and the ascension of Jesus to heaven. The most well preserved fresco was that of the Tokali (Buckled) Church. It’s the finest in Göreme, with the richest colors and the most detail. It dates from the 10th and 11th centuries.

The Göreme Valley holds the region's best collection of painted cave churches. It presents unique examples of rock-cut architecture and fresco technique. All the churches belong from the 10th to the 12th Century. It should be the first sight to be visited by any traveler in Cappadocia.

***All Images used are from Google Images

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Comments (14)

Spectacular! The contrast of the rough exterior(s) with the painstaking beauty that lies inside makes it that much more jaw-dropping. Thanks for this!

Hakan Guzelgoz

Beautiful pictures and post! Thank you for this! I've posted also about Cappadocia and 10 things one should do over there:

http://blog.carpetview.com/the-absolute-10-things-to-do-in-cappadocia-turkey/

I would very much appreciate your comments on this. Anything to add? :)

Another valuable article with fantastic pictures. A fascinating place indeed. Thank you.

Ranked #5 in Europe

Cappadocia is really a wonderful place in Turkey, a miracle of the nature. I visited this place many years ago and it is also one of these places in Turkey where the temperatures are enjoyable; not extremely hot.

Amazing!

Ranked #17 in Europe

Revisiting your brilliant article, Alma. The photos are fabulous.

Indeed, this is simply jaw-droppingly beautiful! I swear I have seen this place before in my dreams...

amazing photos thanks so much

Nice work Alma.

Ranked #7 in Europe

Awesome place!

wonderful

I was blown away by the beauty of these photographs!

Excellent discussion and images.

Another breathtaking presentation. Excellent post, kabayan.

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