Ihlara Valley

Ihlara Valley is actually a canyon with a depth of approximately 100m and was formed by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago.14km long, 100 -150m high, the valley begins at Ihlara and ends at Selime Monastery. The valley houses more than 4000 dwellings and a hundred cave churches remaining from Byzantine period decorated with frescoes. There are numerous dwellings, churches and graves in the valley walls, some of which are connected to each other by tunnels and corridors.

The valley had been an ideal shelter for the seclusion and worship of monks, and a hideaway and defense area for local people during the times of invasion

The decorations in the churches are dated to different times from the 6th to the 13th Centuries. The churches can be divided into two groups as in Ihlara Valley and Belisirma Village. The frescoes in the churches near to Ihlara display oriental influence. Those nearer to Belisirma reflect Byzantine type decorations. The site holds about 60 small mostly semi-ruined Byzantine churches, chapels, monasteries and hermits' caves dating from the 11th to 13th centuries.

The most known Ihlara Valley churches are Ağaçaltı Church with cross plan, Sümbüllü Church, Pürenliseki Church, Kokar Church, Yilanli Church, Karagedik Church, Kirkdamatli Church, Direkli Church, Ala Church, Kemerli Church and Egritas Church.

It is very pleasant to walk through the Ihlara valley by the vineyards, poplars and pistachio trees by the sound of Melendiz River and a rich wildlife of lizards, butterflies, birds, lambs and sheep. You will be amazed by the dominating nature still secluded.

If you come from the underground cities and Güzelyurt on the day excursion, your next stop will be Ağzıkarahan Seljuk Turkish Caravansarai. Definitely worth to visit it.