gulderRunning between Göreme and Çavuşin are the lovely Güllüdere (Rose Valley) and adjoining Kızıl Çukur (Red Valley), two of the best options for those who would like to walk amid the Cappadocian scenery but who don't walk to embark on too tough a trek. You can either do the walk alone or sign up for a guided tour to ensure you find the rock-cut churches in the valleys.

Most people will be happy enough just to appreciate the stunning rock formations along the track which runs out from behind Göreme's Mezarlık (Cemetery). There are, however, three churches, two of them frescoed that are well worth seeing. The most dramatic in terms of its architecture is the Kolonlu Kilise (Columned Church), the most lovely in terms of its frescoes is the Haçlı Kilise (Church with A Cross).

gulder2Kolonlu Kilise

Hidden inside an elongated ridge of rock that is studded with pigeonhouses, the Kolonlu Kilise is named for its soaring pillars, surely some of the loftiest in all of Cappadocia. The only paintings on the walls are slight geometric patterns in ochre. A synthronon runs around the apse. It's tempting to assume it dates back to the 10th century.

A bridge thrown across the trench in front of the ridge has made this church much more accessible than it used to be.hac1

Haçlı Kilise

Once very difficult to get into, the Cross Church now has steps running right up to it and a cafe at the bottom so that you can refresh yourself after the effort of climbing them. 

The church is named after the huge cross carved on the ceiling and it is thought to have been carved out of the rock during the Iconclastic period in the seventh century. It was probably during the 10th century that it was given its magnificent frescoes that include a spectacular Pantocrator in the apse.

hac2Üç Haçlı Kilise

The Church with the Three Crosses was probably built at the same time. Unfortunately it was more accessible to passers-by and a neat circle in the ceiling marks where a painting has been carved clear out of the frescoes. The church is named after the three huge crosses carved onto the ceiling.  


hac3Byzantine angel in Haçlı Kilise



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