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(Views of Cappadocia)

The Göreme Open-Air Museum resembles a vast monastic complex composed of scores of refectory monasteries placed side by side ,each with its own fantastic churches. It is obviously the first sight to be visited by any traveller in Cappadocia, standing as it does in the very centre of the region with easy access from all directions. It contains the finest of the rock-cut churches, with beautiful frescoes whose colors still retain all their original freshness. It also presents unique examples of rock hewn architecture and fresco technique.

The area covered by this Open-Air Museum forms a coherent geographical entity and represents a historical unity. There are eleven refectories within the Museum, with rock-cut churches tables and benches. Each is associated with a church. All the churches of the Museum belong to the mid to the late 11th century. These churches can be divided into two groups according to the workshops which executed them: the Column group and the Yılanlı group.

The Yılanlı group includes the Yılanlı Kilise, the churches of St. Barbara and St. Catherine. In these churches the panels of paintings are separate from each other, ie. they do not follow a continuous scheme. Most of them have narthexes which function as a funeral room.

There are at least 18 churches and chapels in the Museum area. Some have fixed metal grills at the entrance for safety reasons.

The small sizes of the churches conform to St. Basil’s emphasis on the necessity for small monastic units. The extraordinarily rich interiors provide an amazing contrast to the very simple exteriors. The churches are named, throughout Cappadocia, after characteristics attributed to them mostly by the local Turkish population.

Your entrance ticket is also valid for the Tokalı church, located outside the Open-Air Museum. The normal way of visiting the Museum is by proceeding along the path in a counter-clockwise direction. This route is carefully labelled. Beginning with the Nun's Convent you will proceed to the St. Basil, Elmalı, St. Barbara and Snake churches, the Refectory, the Karanlık and the Çarıklı church.


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