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Göreme Underground Churches

Updated on April 30, 2013

Göreme, Cappadocia Turkey

I first discovered Goreme while researching another lens about Historic Sites in Europe that I wanted to visit. As a result of my research, Goreme and the Cappadocia region of Turkey became one of the places in the world that I really wanted to visit.

Goreme and it's underground churches contain hundreds of beautiful frescoes, carved columns and interesting architecture. Turkey is in the path of the Crusades during the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries and as a result many devout christians ended up in this area. They created great monuments to their religion and these Goreme Underground Churches are the result.

Frescoes cover the walls and ceilings

Göreme National Park, Cappadocia, Turkey

There is a large area of volcanic rock in western Cappdocia, central Turkey that has been eroded by the wind over millions of years into weird and wonderful shapes. The most common shapes are tall columns, pillars and minarets. These are called fairy chimneys. The entire area has been designated a National Park and has also been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for protection since 1985.

Just a few minutes walk outside of the town of Goreme is the Open Air Museum. This museum consists of monastaries and churches all built underground and within in the volcanic rock. There are 10 large monastic complexes under the control of the Open Air Museum with many rooms, some of which were used as churches, refectories, chapels, storage areas and monk cells. Most of these churches and the frescoes painted on the walls, were created during the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries CE. The entrance fee to the Museum is 15 Turkish Lira per person with an additional 8 Turkish Lira to visit the Dark Church.

Goreme Open-Air Museum (English)

Göreme Acik Hava Muzesi (In Turkish)

Map of area around Goreme and Nevsehir

Kapadokya- Cappadocia

Christ Pantocrator Fresco - St Barbara Chapel, Goreme Open Air Museum

Josh's Trip to the Goreme Open Air Museum

Transfiguration Fresco

Not Quite the Sound of Music

This short video demonstrates the wonderful acoustics of these underground churches in Goreme. The singing must truely have sounded like angelic choirs when the congregations sang or chanted.

Crucifixion Fresco

Cities of the Underworld - History Channel

Derinkuyu, Cappadocia, Turkey

There were other underground cities in Cappadocia, not far from Goreme. This one is called Derinkuyu. In my opinion, the major reason why it is not as famous as Goreme is because it doesn't have wonderful frescoes painted on the walls.

Have you ever been to Cappadocia? - Kapadokya

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We were just in Cappadocia and saw some of the underground caves. Really interesting.

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 6 years ago

      I love virtual-tourist lenses like this!

    • profile image

      MagnoliaTree 6 years ago

      This is beautiful! I am going to come back again later and spend more time. You have so much information here.

    • NoYouAreNot profile image

      NoYouAreNot 6 years ago

      Great job! I'm bookmarking this, so I can come back and spend a quiet evening educating myself...

    • BlackHeart1 profile image

      BlackHeart1 6 years ago

      no never been there sadly...

      anyway You made it!! You submitted this lens for the top Travel & Places Lens and you made it to the top 5 ... Be sure to go check this page: http://www.squidoo.com/top-5-travel-places on the first of the month to see what your position in the top 5 is and don't forget to tell your friends and visitors about it too

    • mivvy profile image

      mivvy 6 years ago

      Yes, but a long time ago. I think I was there 1989. Would love to go back