Ihlara Valley is a 16 km (10 miles) long gorge cut into the volcanic rock in the Western Cappadocia attached to Belisirma Village and very close to Guzelyurt Village. The Melendiz Stream flows through the beautiful rock formations.
The whole canyon is honeycombed with rock-cut underground dwellings and churches from the Byzantine period and what makes the valley attractive is the ancient history of its inhabitants besides its natural beauty.
Due to the valley’s plentiful supply of water and hidden places, here was the first settlement of the first Christians escaping from Roman attack. In the area, there are hundreds of old churches in the volcanic rock caves.
The most known churches can be listed as Agacalti (Church beneath a tree) with its cross plan, Sumbullu (Hyacinth) – a monastery church with the facade which is in particularly good condition, Purenli Seki (Pine Needle Terrace), Kokar (Fragrant) with good frescoes of New Testament scenes, including the Nativity and Crucifixion, Yilanli (snake), Karagedik, Kirkdamatli, Direkli, Ala, Kemerli and Egritas (Curved Stone) Church.
Open every day; Travelers should keep in mind that the hiking is an easy-moderate, but a longer challenge and 360 steps involved to reach the starting point of the hike.