Tag Archives: Anatolia

Zelve Open Air Museum – Nevşehir, Turkey

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Zelve Open Air Museum

Zelve Açık Hava Müzesi
(90) 384 271 3535
50500 Nevşehir, Turkey


8:00 – 17:00   Daily,  Fall/Winter
8:00 – 19:00   Daily,  Spring/Summer


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Also in Nevşehir, through the Deviant valley (also known as the Valley of the Fairy Chimneys) one finds the Zelve Open Air Museum.

Zelve is a Byzantine-era monastery that was carved into the rock, and was one of the  last abandoned monastic settlements in Cappadocia.  Inhabited until 1952, when people were finally forced to evacuate the sandstone caves, when the risk of erosion became too dangerous.

In pre-iconoclastic times,  Christians moved to Zelve to hide during the Persian and Arab invasions.

Today it is a truly beautiful site to wander and contemplate the lives of those that made this otherworldly dwelling.

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A Blog Voyage

A Blog Voyage

Göreme Open Air Museum – Göreme, Turkey

Azize-Barbara-Kilisesi_001Çarıklı Kilise or Church of the Sandal) was named after some indentations resembling the footprints; some believe these to be casts of Jesus’ own footprints.

Göreme Open Air Museum

(90) 384 271 2167
Merkez 50180 Nevşehir, Turkey


8:00 – 17:00   Daily,  Fall/Winter
8:00 – 19:00   Daily,  Spring/Summer


A short and pleasant walk, about 1.5 km, southeast of Göreme town lies the “Open Air Museum”, which is Cappadocia’s principal attraction; for good reason!  The Göreme Open Air Museum is a monastic complex of medieval cave churches, carved out by Orthodox monks, and embellished with Byzantine frescoes dating from 900-1200 AD.

We recommended that you follow the path in the set order,  to  better take advantage of the museums organization.  Don’t let Open Air become “Free Form” – until after you have done the circuit – then wander freely 🙂

There are over 10 cave churches, along with rectories, dwellings, and a religious school.  A convent with six stories of tunnels, of tunnels, corridors, stairways and chambers is an architectural and historical marvel.

While there, it is worth visiting is the Buckle Church Just outside the museum exit on the right; it is the largest of the cave churches at Göreme – restored in the 1960s. The frescoes give a comprehensive account of the life of Christ – from the Annunciation, through the Baptism and Miracles, ending with the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension.

Elmalı Kilise, or Church with the Apple (below), dates from the 11th century and has well preserved frescoes of biblical scenes and portraits of saints. The name, thought to derive  from a red orb held by St. Michael the Archangel, is depicted in a fresco near the entrance.









Karanlık Kilise, or Dark Church (below),  is named aptly named for the lack of light that penetrates the interior.  It was subsequently used as a pigeon house until the 1950s; It took 14 years to scrape the pigeon feces from the walls!  After that it was extensively restored by UNESCO to reveal vividly colorful frescoes of New Testament scenes with the the painting of Christ Pantocrator on the dome dominating.

These are considered the best-preserved frescoes in all of Cappadocia as the absence of light has preserved the colors which are still vivid and beautiful.









Karanlık-Kilise_034above right side The Betrayal of Judas






Goreme-Open-Air-Museum_021Chapel of St. Catherine   11th century The frescoes depict: a Deesis (in the apse)






Azize Barbara Kilisesi  (below) The Church of Saint Barbara  late 11th century dedicated to their patron saint Barbara was an Egyptian martyr who was imprisoned by her father in order to protect her from the influences of Christianity. Barbara nevertheless found a way to practice her faith and her father tortured and killed her. The church is distinguished by simple geometric designs and Maltese crosses painted in red directly onto the stone.











Dibek Traditional Cook – Nevşehir, Turkey

Dibek-Traditional-Cook_008above photo kurufasulye, pilav, mantı and Testi Kebap on backgound

Dibek Traditional Cook

(90) 384 271 2209
Konak Sokak 50650
Göreme Nevşehir TÜRKİYE


18:00 – 13:30
Dibek-Traditional-Cook_004Bulgur Çorbası – bulgur, tomato, onion soup – so simple sounding, yet so good!

When you find yourself in Turkey – you may be a bit confused with just how helpful and friendly the people are.  Especially if you come from a “me-first” kind of city like New York 🙂

It took us a bit to really realize that the people were trying to be helpful and not put us through a ruse!!  With that  …

We went with Çem, the son of the Mustaffa owner of the Aydinli Cave House, to their second cousins restaurant Dibek Traditional Cook – which turns out to be one of the top local spot Göreme.  It’s one of the places we would have passed by without glancing twice – as it is in a 450 Year old stable; and not much to look at from the outside.  But like all good things in life, it’s what’s on the side that matters!

Dibek specializes in slow-cooked Testi Kebabı; a complete meal cooked in a sealed terra-cotta pot.  The pot is served in its ceramic entirety, then broken at the table.   For this specific dish, you need to make a reservation as it takes about 3 hours to be prepared!  So worth it!!!  There are a meat and vegetarian options, we chose the mushrooms, eggplant with tomato, pepper, patato, and garlic … my mouth is watering as I type this!

Other local specialties included:

Kurufasulye – oven cooked white beans in tomatoe and chili pepper sauce, topped with chopped tomatoes and green peppers sided with a perfect cucumber- onion salad.

Mantı – a surviving Ottoman recipe consisting of handmade pasta filled with meat or cheese and crushed chickpeas.  Then steamed, and served topped with a yogurt garlic sauce and sprinkled with sumac.

Cacık – a perfect condiment of cucumbers and garlic mixed with yogurt, dressed with olive oil and  mint.

We kept our dinner for the last evening in Cappadocia, and regret it a little.  Dibek Traditional Cook is hands down THE BEST restaurant we went to during our entire excursion – and we shoud’ve had dinner there every evening!!

Oh yes, they also have delicious homemade wine 🙂



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