Tagarchurch1If you head east from Ürgüp on the old road to Kayseri that passes through Karlık and Karain you will come eventually to a sign on the right pointing off to the leafy Cappadocian hamlet of Yeşilöz and the wonderful Church of St Theodore cut deep into the rock on the village outskirts.

From the outside there is nothing to prepare you for the spectacular size of the church or for the quality of its frescoes, which have survived in a better condition than many of those in outlying churches. They probably date from some time between the mid-11th and mid-12th centuries. 

St Theodore's is described as a trefoil or triconch church because of the three apses that open off on the south, east and north sides.

The north side has a huge image of Christ enclosed within an oval with stories from his life including his birth and crucifixion and the Annunciation beneath it. The east side has a Deesis with images of the archangels Gabriel and Michael, while the south side has small niches with geometric patterns painted onto them. 

Unusually, you can explore not only the chambers running off from the sides of the church but also mount the stone steps to rooms upstairs and a gallery that runs round the dome rather like a Cappadocian take on the famous Whispering Dome of St Pauls Cathedral in London. This was actually a matroneum, or women's gallery.

Dotted about the village itself are three or four far more simple chapels cut into the rock. 


There is nowhere to stay in the village so you will probably need to return to Ürgüp for the night.Tagar2

Transport info

You will need private transport to reach the village. 

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