HERITAGE
TRAVEL

Cappadocia Tours

Turkey Tours


Home
Cappadocia
Places to see in Cappadocia
Exclusive Tours (Private)
Half Day Tours (Private)
Cappadocia Tours (Private)
Cappadocia Tours (Group)
Hot Air Balloon Tours
 
Mountain Trekking
Hattusa Tour
Jeep Safari
Hiking Tours
Cappadocia Honeymoon
Wedding Photo
ATV (Quad-Bike) Tours
Horse-back Riding Tours
Whirling Dervishes
Turkish Night Show
Grape Harvesting Tour
Turkish Bath (Hamam)
Daily Cooking Classes
Belly Dancing Classes

Istanbul Guide
Istanbul Tours
Istanbul Jewish Heritage Tour
Bosporus Cruise and Enimonu
Bosporus Dinner Cruise

Turkey Guide
Short Turkey Tours
Istanbul-Cappadocia-Ephesus
Highlights of Turkey
Black Sea Tour
Western Turkey Tour
Central Turkey Tour
Eastern Turkey Tour
Tailor Made Turkey Tours
Turkish Cooking Tour
Ephesus Tour
Pamukkale Tour
Gallipolli, Troy, Pergamon Tours
Deluxe Blue Cruises
Antalya Tours
Daily Boat Tours in Kalkan
Nemrut Tour

Hotel Booking
Cappadocia Hotels
Istanbul Hotels
Selcuk Hotels
Pamukkale Hotels

Flight tickets
Airport Transfers
News and Announcements
Photo Gallery

Turkish Heritage Travel
Frequently Asked Questions
Cancellation Policy
Testimonials
Contact Us
About Us
Privacy Policy
Links

Para Espanol
Para Português


IHLARA VALLEY

Ihlara Valley (often misspelled as Ilhara Valley), near Mount Hasan and Mount Melendiz (two of the three volcanoes of Cappadocia) is a canyon with a depth of approximately 100m and was formed by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago. It begins at Ihlara village and ends with Selime Monastery at Selime village after making 26 bends along 14 kilometers.

It is believed that the valley housed more than four thousand dwellings and a hundred cave churches decorated with frescoes. Around eighty thousand people once lived in Ihlara Valley.

There are 4 entrances to Ihlara valley. The first one is at the start of the valley in Ihlara Village. The second one opens to the 4th kilometer of the valley and it is the most popular entrance, and has more than 300 steps down to the valley. The third entrance is Belisirma village which allows you to enter the valley by driving. It is located in the middle (7th km) of the valley. If you will visit the valley by your car, this is the best spot to park your car. Belisirma has also some restaurants by Melendiz River to have lunch. Most of the guided tours end their walking here after lunch. The last entrance is the end of the valley at the Selime Monastery. Some of the trekking tours which walk the whole valley start from this end. The best part of the valley is the first 7km part from Ihlara Village until Belisirma Village where you can see most of the churches and natural beauty.

It is very pleasant to walk through the Ihlara valley by the vineyards, poplars and pistachio trees to the soothing sound of the rushing water (Melendiz River), and surrounded by a rich wildlife of lizards, frogs, butterflies, birds and sometimes eagles and other mammals like lambs and sheep.

There many cave churches in Ihlara Valley. Most of them display scenes dissimilar to the scenes depicted in other Cappadocian churches. In fact, they are reminiscent of the early churches of Syria and the Coptic churches of Egypt. The texts in Ihlara churches are unusually long.

Some of the most important churches in the Ihlara Valley are:

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, Ihlara Valley, CappadociaAgacalti 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)

Turkish Heritage Travel organizes both regular and private tours to Ihlara Valley. The rate of the regular full day tour is 60 Euro per person on credit card payment and 50 Euro per person on cash payment including entrance fees, professional guide, lunch and transfers.

Please send us an email ([email protected]) for further information and booking


PLACES TO VISIT IN CAPPADOCIA

There are so many fascinating things to see in Cappadocia that you could spend a lifetime here and still discover new places. The main 'must-see' attractions are the two large open-air museums and the best of the underground cities. However, there are also many small, all-but-forgotten rock-cut churches and monasteries, splendid hiking trails, several spectacular caravanserais and many dramatic rock formations well worth going out of your way to visit.
Turkish Heritage Travel is a member of Aydinli Mah. Yavuz Sok. No:1 50180 Goreme, Nevsehir, TURKEY
All rights reserved © 2004 - 2016 Phone: +90 384 271 2687        Fax: +90 384 271 2699        Send us an email