WONDERS OF CAPPADOCIA (IHLARA VALLEY) TOUR
The tour covers most of the highlights on the West of Cappadocia as; Ihlara Valley, Derinkuyu Underground City, and Guzelyurt Village at ease and without rushing as on group tours which are avoided mostly with a good time planning.
Derinkuyu Underground City is the deepest subterranean structure in the region that has been discovered so far descending approximately 80m. The earliest settlement has not been identified yet, but many believe these underground cities date from the Hittites. It was used extensively between 8th to 12th centuries during the Arab- Byzantine wars. Like many other underground cities, Derinkuyu also has tunnel connections to other cities for escaping the invaders. Inside you will be surprised to see how it had been made possible to live for long periods, weeks or months maybe, by means of air shafts, deep wells, barns, storage and cooking areas, refectories, wineries personal quarters, and churches.
The complete tour of Ihlara Valley is an astounding 16 km. long gorge cut deep by Melendiz Stream with approximately 100m. high steep sides. This valley was where the first Christians settled, escaping the Romans starting from the 4th century. The valley is a most scenic one from both top and from inside which holds about 60 churches, monasteries and hermits' cave rooms dating from 11th to 13th centuries carved by Byzantine Greeks. The canyon is almost untouched by civilization except for some simple facilities; the soothing music of the stream, birds singing and abundant vegetation makes the walk all the more pleasant. You will leave the valley with an unforgettable peace of mind and renewed unity with nature. Some of the churches you will visit are:
Kokar Kilise (The Smelly Church) close to the main entrance, frescoes are from the life of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, and the Bible.
In short, while you will be visiting a most important church; Purenli Seki Kilisesi (Church with the Terrace) has got frescoes classified as "archaic" but the stylistic representation and delicate dramatic details make it a rare example from the point of Christian art.
Agacalti Kilise (Church under the Tree) is another important church showing eastern influence in the use of colors, variety in the subject and patterns in the decoration of the church. The contrast of red and green with additional yellow, together with unique natural motifs and geometrical designs put the church out of the customary Byzantine artistic line. The Church is also known as the Church of Daniel as per fresco of Daniel in the Lion's Den.
Belisirma Village was one of the old Greek settlements with the ancient name Peristrema. It is one of the exits in the middle of the trek route from Ihlara Valley and has some pyramid-shaped fairy chimneys as well as an impressive rock-cut monastery.
After Ihlara Valley tour, Guzelyurt, “Beautiful Home” in Turkish, is an authentic Central Anatolian town, well-known by its hospitality and impressive Church of St. Gregory in the center of the old village. Today's Buyuk Kilise Cami (Big Church Mosque) as it was converted to a mosque in later ages. This is the hometown of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, (St. Gregory the Theologian) from the 4th century, Archbishop of Constantinople and one of the Cappadocian Fathers along with Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa. You will have spare time to explore the beautiful old and new architecture and alluring streets of this relaxing town.
If you are interested in hiking at the gorge for 16 km. rather than the classical tour; let your operator know. So that, we can arrange the timing and visits.