Ihlara Valley is 38 km (23 mile) far to Aksaray centurum. Ihlara Valley, which is 40 km from Aksaray and 7 km from Güzelyurt, is the flower of the Cappadocia Region. With its perfect nature, rock carved churches in the valley slopes and the enchanting visuality of Melendiz brook, it awaits its visitors.
The sound of the Melendiz brook separating the valley with steep slopes, whispers the story of the past to its vistors within the verdant forest. The rock carved churches with frescoess along the 14 km along the walking track reveal the magnificance of the Christian civilizations in the Ihlara Valley.
Open daily between 08:00-17:00
Ihlara Valley Churchs
Kokar Kilise (The Smelly Church)
The Kokar Kilise (The Smelly Church) is located in the first quarter of the valley between Ihlara Village and main entrance. It can be entered through a ruined apse. The original entrance has been blocked by a landslide. There are many frescoes covering the walls of Kokar Kilise. On the left side, you can see the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Proof of the Virgin, the Nativity and the Adoration of the Magi scenes. On the right, you will see the Last Supper, the Betrayal, Jesus being Led Away, Jesus before Annas and Caiaphos, the Crucifixion and the Entombment. On the door facing the entrance there is a Deesis above, with scenes of the Flight to Egypt and The Last Supper below was badly damaged when openings were made at a much later date for windows and a door leading into the burial chamber. On the ceiling you can see the Ascension and the Pentecost together with a large Greek cross with the hand of God giving benediction in the center. On each side of the lower parts of the vaulting there are frescoes depicting the apostles standing and seated.
Purenli Seki Kilisesi (Church with the Terrace)
Purenli Seki Kilisesi is also located in the first quarter of the valley, around 100m from Kokar Kilise. You have to climb about 25m above the level of the river. It is composed of an entrance, a burial chamber and a double naos, separated by pillared arcades, each having an apse. The church is covered by frescoes classified as “archaic” but characterized by exquisite details, a strong sense of design and amazing freedom of expression.
Agacalti Kilise (Church under the Tree)
When you turn right at the bottom of the stairs from the main entrance, you will find yourself 10m from the church. Prepare yourself for a surprise when you enter the church through the ruined arch for a totally different style of architecture. This church is quite different from the other churches of the Byzantine world of the 10th and 11th century Cappadocia, with its harmoniously contrasted colors of red, green and yellow, the subjects of its paintings and its decoration of flowers, rosettes and checkerboard patterns, all betraying strong eastern influence. The Church, also known as the Church of Daniel or the Church of Pantassa, has a free cross architectural plan.
On the wall opposite the entrance there is a fresco of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. The left cross-arm contains the Annuciation, the Visitation, the Nativity and the Magi. The right cross-arm contains the Flight into Egypt, the Baptism and the Dormition. The Dormition of the Virgin (Koimesis) is unique as far as Cappadocia is concerned. It is composed of two scenes. In the first scene, Mary is lying on a bed, with Christ accompanied by St. John sitting on one side of the bed to recover her soul. In the upper scene Christ is shown holding his Mother’s soul, with an Angel behind him.
Some of the other important churches of Ihlara Valley are:
- Egritas Kilise (Church with Crooked Stone)
- Sumbullu Kilise (Hyacinth Church)
- Yilanli Kilise (Church with Snake)
- Karagedik Kilise (Church with Black Collar)
- Kirk Damalti Kilisesi (Church of St. George)
- Bahattin Kilise (Bahattin’s Granary Church)
- Direkli Kilise (Pillard Church)
- Ala Kilise (Mottled Church)
PLACES TO VISIT IN CAPPADOCIA
- Goreme Open Air Museum: cave churches with frescoes
- Pasabag: mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys, monks valley
- Devrent: animal-shaped fairy chimneys, imagination valley
- Ihlara Valley: the deepest gorge of Anatolia
- Uchisar: Roman rock-cut castle
- Ortahisar: Roman rock-cut castle
- Avanos: center of pottery since the Hittites
- Zelve Open Air Museum: a cave town with churches
- Kaymakli Underground City: the largest underground city
- Derinkuyu Underground City: the deepest underground city
- Hacibektas: center of Bektasi sect of Islam
- Gulsehir: first settlements in Cappadocia
- Cave Churches: churches located in the valleys
- Caravanserais: 13th century hotels on the silk road