Ihlara Valley, near Mount Hasan (one 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 at the village of Selime after making 26 bends along 14 kilometers.
It is believed that the valley housed more than four thousand dwellings and a hundred churches. It is estimated that around eighty thousand people once lived here.
It is very pleasant to walk through the Ihlara valley by the vineyards, poplars and pistachio trees to the soothing sound if the rushing water and surrounded by a rich wildlife of lizards, frogs, butterflies, birds and sometimes eagles and other mammals like lambs and sheep.
In the middle of the Ihlara valley in Belisırma village there are good restaurants to be found.
The churches in the Valley can be divided into two groups: the Ihlara group, including the Ağaçaltı, Pürenli Seki, Kokar, Eğritaş and Yılanlı churches that reflect Oriental influences, and the Belisırma group, comprising Sümbüllü Church and others with Byzantine characteristics.
The churches of the Ihlara group 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 group churches are unusually long. In this group special emphasis was laid upon Satan, and women as the source of evil.
There are many churches in the valley. However, relying on the yet undisputed information given in Mme. and M. Thierrys book, we have chosen 11 of them for you to visit.
Important Churches from Ihlara Village to Belisırma Village