Discover Cappadocia and volcanic valleys
Ihlara Valley is the most famous valley in Turkey for hiking excursions with its nature and cave churches. Ihlara, which is 16 km long gorge cut into the volcanic rock very close to Guzelyurt, holds about 60 Byzantine churches, chapels and monasteries.
Located in Cappadocia region of Turkey, the dramatic Ihlara (Peristrema) Valley is one of the most famous gorges in the world. The valley opens itself out to you, revealing the secret of how it is a rare and tactful symbol of nature, humanity, history and art in harmony. It has an incredibly beautiful atmosphere with its churches carved into the valley, caves and the view of Melendiz Stream. In each step, you come across a different period of the history.
The 16 km long, Ihlara Valley, with the Melendiz Stream running along the bottom of it, is a magnificent place to visit, no matter what the time of year. It offers a fairly straightforward walk with spectacular landscape to explore along the way. The valley leads as a religious center instead of a settlement. Hundreds of old frescoed churches engraved both sides of the valley amazes visitors.
This 16 km long valley is starting at Ihlara and ending at Selime. The height of the valley is reaching 100-150 m.
Following eruption of Mount Hasan, the lava with high basalt and andesite concentration crated cracks and breaks when cooling off. The waters flowing from the Melendiz Stream cut through the area, forming a wide and deep gorge.
In time, the walls of the deep gorge have been carved out into chapels, monasteries, shelters, churches and tombs. Similar to the underground cities, some of these shelters and churches are connected each other with passageways. Thanks to the geomorphological formation of Ihlara Valley, this area became a place where monks could retreat and worship. During times of war and invasion the area also became an ideal hiding place.
The churches located through the valley can be grouped in two. The wall paintings of the churches near Ihlara are not closely connected with Cappadocia art, instead display oriental influences. However, the churches near Belisirma are ornamented with typical Byzantine wall paintings. The frescoes in the churches of Ihlara Valley date from the 6th through the 13th centuries.
The best protected churches of Ihlara Valley; Agacalti Church, Sumbullu Church, Purenli Seki Church, Kokar Church, Yilanli Church, Karagedik Church, Kirkdamalti Church, Direkli Church, Ala Church, Kemerli Church, Egritas Church, Bahattin Church.