Goreme – Cappadocia

If churches in the rocky villages are examined it is seen that each one of them has a different way of development. Some of them were built earlier than others. Ruins are extending from the early ages up to the Byzantine Period. Some were built after the Arab invasion and Iconoclastic period. There are even some churches built under the Seljukian occupation.

Göreme is the place with highest con­centration of religious centres. Unlike Avcı­lar, it wass a religious more than an agri­cultural settlement. During the early Christ­ian age it was a modest place connected with Avcılar and Çavuşin.

Amongst the innumerable churches and chapels in Göreme, only one of them can be dated as 6th or 7th century. It is an ora­tory split into two after a rock-fall. A paint­ing of the face of Christ and an ornamented cross in the arch is visible.

Göreme began to develop just after the Iconoclastic period. There are numerous churches and chapels dating from the second half of the 9th and first half of the 10th century. Kılıçlar church is the largest of them. Its paintings are of high quality, decorated with best ornaments of the Byzan­tine age. The “Three Columned Churches of Göreme” (Elmalı, Karanlık and Çarıklı) are also decorated with frescoes. There is ano­ther group of chapels with a single aisle, built on a cross plan, dating from the 11th century. Inside these, simple straight lines and strange figures resembling the holy people are used instead of well-painted frescoes.

The churches in Göreme and the neigh­bouring valleys El Nazar and Kılıçlar are so large in variety and number that it takes at least a couple of days to see all of them competely.

We should here note that 10th century churches are on the right-hand side of the valley and 11th century churches are on the south end. There is no painting in Gö­reme that can be dated later than 11th century. Göreme was used as a religious visiting place by the Greeks living nearby. Later on it was opened to visitors as the Open-air Museum of Göreme.


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