Home 2023 Kaukasus Rock-carved churches in Ihlara Canyon

Rock-carved churches in Ihlara Canyon

Rainy Sunday today and we decide to drive some hours and kilometers to reach Cappadocia today.

Running before breakfast and after a last koffie stop at the lake we want to leave this beautiful nature reserve. Between some rock I find this little screaming puppy – alone, hungry, freezing and very young and cute.

There are so many of these puppies and homeless street dogs here in Turkey – we know – but we can’t leave this little guy to his destiny – nothing around. Finally we decide to give him some food and at least a ride. Keeping him is not an option and we finally find someone in Konya who wants to take care of him.

It’s getting too late for Göreme/Cappadocia and we take look for another destination: the Ihlara canyon – crossing also the village Selime with this very special rock cave castle – a settlement built into rocks. The next days we will see more of them and that is really exciting imagining people builded/scratched there rooms into the rocks. The material is pretty soft, like sand stone, and the surface at the top is tuf, kind of vulcains hard stone as protection against erosion through water.

In Belisirma we find a nice viewpoint over the Idhara Canyon, where we want to hike tomorrow.
We are getting up early (like every day) no sun and it’s cold – 5C degrees (we are on 1200m) but no rain.. Great to walk down and all the 8 km along the Canyon and to visit the cave-churches, built in the mountains. You almost can’t see the little entrances high in the rock walls. But climbing up and wondering how these magic rooms used as church, graves or monasteries were built into the rocks. The frescoes date back to the 9th – 11th century. Seven of these churches are restored only in 2018 and open for public. But there are numerous of more rooms and underground tunnels in the canyon walls.
Fantastic walk.

And ja, we are really happy to be here in this time of the year. We don’t like these touristic places but also don’t want to miss these highlights of a country- even when it’s not pretty warm now in this season being all alone in this huge canyon makes it a little bit more special.

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Kirstin & Vincent

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