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If you continue your tour on the high plateau behind Tokalı Church you will reach fascinating Kılıçlar Valley (kılıç means "sword" in Turkish, and the valley gets its name from the sword-like fairy chimneys). The valley of Kılıçlar is one of the places in Cappadocia for trekkers, with its high cliffs, a tunnel which forms part of an old drainage system, cave dwellings, cultivated vineyards and a very outstanding church.

It is rather difficult to descend to the Kılıçlar Valley from the high plateau behind the Tokalı Church and it is advisable to take the road down from the Göreme Open-Air Museum to Göreme for about 300 meters and then turn right to enter the valley.


Kiliçler churchThe church stands approximately 400 m north of Göreme Open-Air Museum in the valley. The key can be obtained from the caretakers in the Museum.

Kılıçlar Kilisesi is a cross-in-square church with four free-standing columns and a large dome resting on them. The eastern corner bays are also domed. It has three apses, the middle one having two seats for the priests.

This is one of the largest churches in Cappadocia, painted shortly before 900,and contains very beautiful frescoes. The Infancy (early childhood of Christ), Miracles, Sufferings, Ascension and the Burying of Virgin Mary are depicted masterfully and vividly coloured.


It is situated on the slope where the Swords Valley (Kılıçlar Vadisi) starts. His way is through a tunnel-like narrow passage on the path to the valley. This is one of the most beautiful buildings in the Göreme region. Christ is depicted in the apse, between the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist. Monograms of most of the figures are inscribed. Scenes from the Bible are depicted realistically. The frescoes dated to the first half of the 11th century, are very vividly coloured. The building is in danger of collapse, due to the erosion.

One of the loveliest churches in Göreme, 300 meters from the museum proper on a slope behind the Tokalı Church via a footpath. Where the slope overlooks the Valley of the Swords there is a tunnel-like narrow passageway directly to the church.

The architecture is unusual, incorporating a nave covered by two narrow parallel vaults. The chancel and connecting apse are higher than the nave, just as in the Tokalı Church, but here they are divided off by columns and arcades. Despite its intricate plan the church is small, giving it an almost cozy, chapel-like feel. Its paintings are another source of pleasure, with warm reds and yellows contoured in black upon cool blue-gray backgrounds. One saddening fact is that erosion has deeply gouged this church.

A Complete Guide to Cappadocia
by Ozan Sağdıç
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