Category Archives: Anatolia

Central Anatolia

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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

www.nevsehirkulturturizm.gov.tr

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

 

Open-Air-Museum_040 Zelve Open Air Museum -  Nevşehir, Turkey Anatolia Turkey  Zelve Turkey Goreme Cappadocia Anatolia

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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Agzikarahan Caravanserai – Cappadocia, Turkey

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Caravanserais of Cappadocia

Cappadocia, Turkey

OPEN HOURS:
18:00 – 21:00   Daily

Beware the Whirling Dervishes!

Or better yet, go see them twirl in their evening ceremonies!

Since the 10th century camel trains (originally kervan or as we now call them Caravans) would trade across Turkey; stopping along their routes at inns known as kervansaray or caravanserai – the Caravan Place.  These buildings  eventually grew form small accommodations and stables into larger fortresses that would be used as both inns and religious purposes.

Just outside Goreme is the Caravanserais of Cappadocia; where you can wander during the day or take in the traditional Dervish Dance.  A anachronistic evening to be enjoyed with a just a few other tourists.

http://www.goreme.com/caravanserais.php

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Kaymaklı Underground City – Cappadocia, Turkey

Kaymakli-Underground-City021 Kaymaklı Underground City - Cappadocia, Turkey Anatolia Turkey  Turkey Cave Cappadocia

Kaymaklı Underground City

Cappadocia, Turkey

OPEN HOURS:
18:00 – 21:00   Daily

About 19 km from Nevşehir, hidden from view, are a total of 36 underground cities.

Built in the soft volcanic rock by the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, in the 8th–7th centuries B.C.; they consist of hundreds of tunnels and decent to as much as 8 floors below ground! Through the deep miles of tunnels, Kaymaklı was connected with much the older and deepest underground city of  Derinkuyu.  Currently only 4 of the cities are open to the public.

These cities were developed so entire populations could hide from the relentless waves of conquests that travelled through the Turkish passageway linking Europe and Asia.

Kaymaklı was used in the Byzantine era, for protection from  Arabs during the Arab–Byzantine wars (780-1180).

During the XIV century it was used for protection from the Mongolian incursions of Timur; entire populations cowering underground as the hordes of Genghis Kahn rode past!!!

Even as late as the 20th century  the underground cityes of Cappadocia served as refuges from the periodic waves of Ottoman persecution

As you pass through these warrens, you can’t help but imagining them bustling with life – as entire lives began and ended out of site of the sun!

Text: http://www.goreme.com/kaymakli-underground-city.php

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Cappadocia Ballooning – Göreme, Turkey

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Göreme Balooning

Ballooning is one of the activities one must do in Anatolia, no matter how touristy you think it is!

There are a few companies, and they all work with the hotels.  So it is better just to have the hotel organize the excursion for you.  You leave at sunrise, before the winds have a chance to pick up form the sun.

An awesome experience in both beauty and photography!

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Goreme-Open-Air-Museum_041 Göreme Open Air Museum  -  Göreme, Turkey Anatolia Turkey  Turkey Goreme Churches Caves Anatolia

Göreme Open Air Museum – Göreme, Turkey

Azize-Barbara-Kilisesi_001 Göreme Open Air Museum  -  Göreme, Turkey Anatolia Turkey  Turkey Goreme Churches Caves Anatolia   Çarıklı 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

www.goreme.com

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

Goreme-Open-Air-Museum_012 Göreme Open Air Museum  -  Göreme, Turkey Anatolia Turkey  Turkey Goreme Churches Caves Anatolia

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.

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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.

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Karanlık-Kilise_034 Göreme Open Air Museum  -  Göreme, Turkey Anatolia Turkey  Turkey Goreme Churches Caves Anatolia   above right side The Betrayal of Judas

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Goreme-Open-Air-Museum_021 Göreme Open Air Museum  -  Göreme, Turkey Anatolia Turkey  Turkey Goreme Churches Caves Anatolia   Chapel of St. Catherine   11th century The frescoes depict: a Deesis (in the apse)

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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.

 

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