In the central Anatolia Turkey within a hypothetical triangle encompassing the town of Nevsehir, Urgup, and Gulsehir, lays the famous valley of Goreme, known as “Korama” in ancient times one of the geological and archaeological marvels of Turkey and the rest of the world. Three hundred squares miles of fantastic “moonscape”, proliferated with stone pyramids, weird conical shapes, many of them topped with “hats”, sweeping spires and obelisks created by nature, then shaped into strange cave colonies by a remote race. Laboring for centuries, the early Christians settlers enlarged and decorated them with primitive designs and frescoes. Pigeon holes which decorate almost every corner of the region complete this extraordinary other-worldly landscape.
The visitor cannot help wondering how this bizarre landscape could ever come into existence. It is truly a land of fantasy and this impression is so strong that arriving for the first time; the visitor may even fancy himself to being on another planet.
The National Park today preserves the finest surviving examples of early Christian Churches and Chapels, the style and other characteristics of which reveal a broad range of artistic influences: Mesopotamian, Syrian, Palestinian, primitive Christian, Byzantine, Armenian. The three principal churches are known as the churches with columns: Elmali (Apple) Church, Karanlik (Dark) Church, Tokali (Buckle) Church which is also distinguished from all the others by their Byzantine pattern of planning, the cross-shaped layout. The walls of these churches are richly decorated with frescoes and can be described as the best ones in Goreme National Park zone.