Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ancient churches of Cappadocia

As if the amazing sights above ground and below ground weren't enough, there is yet another reason to visit Cappadocia.  The region was an early center of Christianity and is the home of dozens of churches dating back as far as the 4th century.  These churches are carved into the "fairy chimneys" around Cappadocia, particularly around the town of Göreme, and they provided sanctuary to those early monastic communities.

Nunnery and monastery at the Göreme Open Air Museum

The sheer age of these cave churches is amazing, but what impressed me the most were the frescoes covering the inside walls.  The low light in the caves has protected the paintings over hundreds of years.  The images range from simple crosses to vivid scenes from the New Testament.  Most of the paintings date back to the 9th to 11th centuries.

To protect the frescoes we weren't allowed to take photos with flash, but we did manage to get a couple that turned out pretty well.

Cross outside the entrance to Çarıklı Kilise at the Göreme Open Air Museum
Image of Jesus inside Çarıklı Kilise at the Göreme Open Air Museum


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