At first, you might think that Goreme is a bit more complex Meteors. However, Greek monasteries carved into the rocks are by no means comparable to the Turkish open-air museum - both in terms of nature and history.
Located in the central part of Turkey, the Goreme Historical National Park (Göreme Açık Hava Müzesi) is the pearl of Cappadocia, hidden in its very heart. It is situated in a beautiful valley that is proof of the genius and simplicity of nature at the same time.
Goreme National Historical Park
The park hides over 350 temples and chapels hidden in the rocks. Some are associated with the landscape on the lunar surface, others - with the work of millions of termites. There is hardly a man who would not be impressed by the sight of him. Goreme's beauty made the park a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
It is difficult to choose the churches and shrines that deserve attention, because each one is worthy of it. There are at least six Byzantine temples in Göreme, including Durmuş Kadir Kilisesi and Yusuf Koç Kilisesi. The main part of the complex, however, is located outside the village, approx. 1.5 km to the west. Visitors can see rock temples richly decorated with frescoes, including Rahibeler Manastiri (Monastery of Maidens) or Elmalı Kilise , or Apple Church, which owes its name to a tree that once grew here.
The Serpent Church from the 11th century and the Karanlık Kilise , or Dark Church, are also worth mentioning. The living frescoes in the latter are largely due to the building's poor sunlight, and also ... pigeon droppings that covered the walls with such a layer that they were cleaned for almost 15 years. In the past, the temple was used as a dovecote.
In some churches and monasteries there are huge tables with benches, carved into the rock. Even several dozen monks could sit with them during one prayer.
Where did the idea of rock churches come from?
Probably the first churches began to appear in this region in the 4th century. It was then that Saint Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, instructed the communities of anachorets (ascetics) who lived under his spiritual leadership to drill targets in the surrounding rocks.
The Goreme temple complex has survived a lot, but at the same time it is very fragile, even ephemeral - like the Rose from The Little Prince. The churches are carved in soft rocks, which are successively subjected to the destructive effects of rain and wind, and they are not served by intensive tourism. Visitors are well known to "chase away" the park rangers who chase tourists who stay in one of the churches too long. In temples, it is forbidden to take pictures with a flash (protection of frescoes), it is also forbidden to touch the walls. You should only follow the designated trail.
Asceticism and consumerism ...
It is a huge attraction (literally and figuratively), so it is impossible to be surprised by the crowds visiting it in the summer season. At the same time, you need to be aware that wandering along crowded paths will not be the most pleasant ones, and when we add to it rushing people who keep order, we can imagine a slightly trampled attraction. However, this should not be a reason to give up exploring this extraordinary place in every respect. It is best to visit the churches in the early morning or late afternoon - in summer it is open until 5.00 pm.
Admission to the open-air museum is payable. The ticket costs 20 TL, and there is an additional fee of 10 TL to visit Karanlık Kilise. At the entrance to the park there is a post office, bookstore, souvenir shop and currency exchange office. Well, in the past, the ascetics who lived here devoted themselves to contemplation and mortification, while today the tourism business based on their goals is quite dynamic.
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