The province of Nevşehir is one of the major cities of Cappadoccia Region and displays a beautiful combination of nature and history. Withing this province lies the famous town of Göreme as well as other popular tourist destinations such as Üçhisar, Avanos, Ürgüp and Çavuşin. The geographic movements had formed the fairy chimneys and during the historical development process, mankind had settled and inhabited these natural wonders, fairy chimneys and carved houses and churches inside these formations and adorned these settlements with frescos, carrying the traces of the thousands of years of their civilizations.
CULTURAL DETAILS OF NEVŞEHİR
Nevşehir, The Capital Of Cappadocia
In the mythology of the Hittites and the Phrygians, the region of Nevşehir lies on the planet of Cappadocia, whose creation was the work of the Gods of the Volcanoes and which was shaped by the soft and magical hands of the Gods of the Rains and the Winds. Cappadocia represents a site where Nature and History have commingled in the most beautiful fashion in the world. While geographical circumstances created the Fairy Chimneys, human beings in the course of the historical process sculpted the interiors of these Fairy Chimneys to construct their dwellings and churches, which they decorated with frescoes that have survived as witnesses of civilizations thousands of years old. To preserve this incredible cultural treasury and prevent its capture by others, Thales of Miletus himself divided the Kızılırmağı river (the ancient Halys) into two sections to facilitate the crossing by the forces of the Lydian king to oppose the Persian invading forces. The first scientific calculations in history were also carried out here. Nevşehir constitutes the capital city of the planet Cappadocia. But, the renown of Cappadocia has so intensified as to extend beyond the nation''''s boundaries and overwhelm that of Nevşehir itself, which has nearly been forgotten. Here, therefore, we hope to conduct a complete survey of the historical and cultural aspect of the Nevşehir area.
Cappadocian region is the place where the nature and history come together with most beautiful scene in the world. While geographic events are forming Peribacaları (fairy chimneys), during the historical period, humans had carried the signs of thousand years old civilizations with carving houses and churches within these earth pillars and decorating them with frisks.
During the Roman Emperor, Augustus period, territories of Cappadocian Region as a wide region lying till to the Toros Mountains at south, Aksaray at west, Malatya at east and Eastern Black Sea shores at north within the 17 volume book named ''''Geographika'''' of Strabon, one of the Antic Period writers. Today''''s Cappadocian Region is the area covered by Nevşehir, Aksaray, Niğde, Kayseri, and Kırşehir cities. More limited area, rocky Cappadocian Region is composed of Üçhisar, Göreme, Avanos, Ürgüp, Derinkuyu, Kaymaklı, Ihlara and environment.
Traditional Cappadocian houses and dovecotes carved into stones are showing the uniqueness of the region. These houses are constructed on the feet of the mountain via rocks or cut stones. Rock, which is the only construction material of the region, as it is very soft after quarry due to the structure of the region, can be easily processed but after contact with air it hardens and turns into a very strong construction material. Due to being plentiful and easy to process of the used material, regional unique masonry is developed and turned into an architectural tradition. Materials of neither courtyard nor house doors is wood. Upper parts of the doors built with arches are decorated with stylized ivy or rosette motifs.
Dovecotes within the region are small structures constructed within 18th century and end of 19th century. Some of the dovecotes, which are important for showing Islamic picture art are constructed as monastery or church. Surfaces of dovecotes are decorated with rich inscriptions and adornments by regional artists.
Göreme, which hides among fairy chimneys, is the heart of Cappadocia. First period settlement within the region reaches to Roman period from Christianity. Ortahane, Durmus Kadir, Yusuf Koc and Bezirhane churches in Göreme, houses and shafts engraved from rocks till to Uzundere, Bağıldere and Zemi Valley carries the mystical side of history today.
Cappadocian Region displays a beautiful combination of nature and history. The geographic movements had formed the "peri bacaları"(Fair chimneys) and during the historical development process, mankind had settled and inhabited these natural wonders, fairy chimneys and carved houses and churches inside these formations and adorned these settlements with frescos, carrying the traces of the thousands of years of their civilizations.
The old city of Avanos overlook is the longest river 18 km in north of Nevsehir, the ancient name of this city used to be Venessa. The most famous historical feature of Avanos, which is still relevant and very visible today, is its production of earthenware pottery. The ceramic trade in this district and its countless pottery factories date right back to the Hittites, and the in Turkey, the Kızılırmak (Red River), which also separates it from the rest of Cappadocia.
Located ceramic clay from the red silt of the Kızılırmak has always been used. It is a popular destination because of its attractive old town with cobbled streets, and superb views over the river.
About 5 km from Avanos and 1 km from Pasabaglari, Zelve was founded on the steep northern slopes of Aktepe. Consisting of three separate valleys, the ruins of Zelve is the area with the most ''''fairy chimneys'''' - a famous sight special to Cappadocia - which here have sharp points and thick trunks. It is not known exactly when people began living in the dwellings carved into the rock, found in places like Uchisar, Goreme, Cavusin and Zelve. What is known is that Zelve was an important Christian community and religious centre in the 9th and 13th centuries, where, the first religious seminars for priests were held in the vicinity.
Çavuşin (Nicephorus Phocas) Church
It is beside the Göreme-Avanos road 2.5 km out of Göreme. The narthex of this church has fallen down. It has tunnel vaults, a high nave and 3 apses. It dates back to 964-965 AD.
Güllüdere (St. Agathangelus) Church
It is located in the far left draw of the Güllüdere valley about 2 km from the village of Çavuşin. It was founded at the mouth of the draw on top of a steep slope.
The design of the nave is square with a flat ceiling and it has a single broad apse. The apse was added in the 9th or 10th century to the main structure dating back to the 6th - 7th century. There are 2 or 3 layers of frescoes in the apse which indicates that it was painted regularly. Symbols of Gospel authors are drawn symmetrically and are sitting on the right and left of an enthroned Jesus.
In the middle of the flat ceiling is the relief of a cross in the middle of a circle surrounded with palm leaves and garlands. This sort of relief most likely belongs to the Iconoclastic period. The people of the area had a great love for the cross and it continued to be used as a motif after the Iconoclastic era because it symbolized the "Holy Cross" in Jerusalem.
Özkonak Underground City
Located 14 km northeast of Avanos, this underground city was built on the northern slopes of Mt. Idis in an area with lots of strata made up of volcanic granite. The extensive galleries of the city are spread out over a large area and connected to each another by tunnels. The underground cities in Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, are very narrow (5 cm) and there are long holes between the different levels of the city that used to provide communication between the different levels of the city. The ventilation of these neatly carved out rooms was provided by these holes when the city was sealed up against enemies.
The city was discovered in 1972 by the local muezzin and farmer Latif Acar, when he was trying to find out where the water disappeared, which was tending to his crops. First of all, he found an underground room which, , was revealed a whole city housed with an incredible 60,000 people for up to three months, after excaveted. A total of 10 floors were discovered, to a depth 40m, although now only four are open.
It is unlikely that the other underground cities in this area, besides the rolling stone doors, there were holes above the tunnels used for dumping hot oil on the enemy. Similar to Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, Ozkonak has a ventilation system, a water well, a winery and rolling stone doors.
Hacı Bektaş is 45 km away from Nevşehir on Nevşehir - Kirşehir road. Pieces of arts which are belong to Ancient bronze Age, Hittite, Frig, Hellenistic and Roman Periods, and found as a result of excavations performed at province center are exhibited at Hacı Bektaş Archeology Museum.
There is a Karaburna rock monument, which is written with Hittite hieroglyph, which belongs to Late Hittite Period, like at Topada and Sivasa, near to Karaburna village near to Hacı Bektaş.
Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli and His Philosophy
It is thought that Hacı Bektaş - ı Veli, whose real name was Muhammed bin Musa and dates of birth and death are not certainly known, is born in 1209 - 1210, and died on 1270 - 1271. According to the told epics, he is from Nişabur. His childhood and youth is passed in Horasan, and learned philosophy, social and fundamental sciences at Hoca Ahmet Yesevi School. Hacibektaş, had come to Anatolia from Horasan in a period, when Seljukian''''s political and economical order is corrupted, and divisions in management existed; and showed his best efforts for maintaining Turkish unity, and to become Anatolia into Turk and Islamic with visiting every villages and cities. He had trained young people in the school, which is established by him in formerly named as Sulucakarahöyük and currently named as Hacibektaş province; and tried to prevent Turkish language and culture from foreign impacts and degeneration.
His tolerance and humanity based thought system is reached and assumed by wide public masses within a short period of time. "End of the road, which don''''t follow science, is dark", "Let women to be studied ", "Hold your hand, tongue and waist", "research is an open examination", "Whatever you search, search into yourself", "Don''''t forget that even your enemy is a human". Above mentioned epigrams are best explaining the philosophy of Hacı Bektaş - ı Veli. His alignment is reflecting the same understanding with 1948 Human Rights Universal Declaration.
Ürgüp, 20 km east of Nevsehir, is one of the most important centres of the Cappadocia region. Like Goreme, it had numerous names in the course of its history, and its cave dwellings scattered around the village make it a very tourist-friendly destination. It has many hotels and guest-houses, good entertainment, old Greek houses from before the population exchange of 1923, and an atmosphere which has remained attached to its tradition despite a modernising tourist industry.
It is a good base to explore the nearby Goreme Valley.
With a geological structure of volcanic formations, Urgup was established within the region which had been shaped into fantastic forms known as ‘Fairy Chimneys’, through erosions of water and wind. The were formed as floodwater poured down the sides of the valleys, combined with strong winds which tore away the softer volcanic rocks, resulting in this unique landscape. It is an important centre in Cappadocia, and has been known by many names: Osian (Assiana), Hagios Prokopios (Byzantine), Bashisar (Seljuk), Burgat Kaalesi (Ottoman) and finally Urgup, from shortly after the founding of the Turkish Republic.
Where to Visit
The most stunning examples of the local landscape and the Fairy Chimneys can be seen along the route to Avanos. Many of these rock formations resemble animals, and the shapes of camels and rabbits can be seen.
As a centre of grape and wine production, Kizilcukur, a couple of kilometres northwest of Urgup, contains churches cut into the strange rock formations and decorated with grape figures. The rocks are decorated in different colours, making it a spectacular sight at sunset.
Located 5km from Urgup, the small village of Mustafapasa has old stone houses with attractive carved facades dating back to the end of the 19th century, and a cluster of small churches. Once known as Sinasos when it was a thriving Greek community before World War I, it makes an interesting trip from Urgup although is not easily accessible by public transport. Places of interest include a 19th century medrese, the Ayios Vasilios Church, and the Church of Sts Constantine and Helena. There are several small guest-houses and restaurants.
Sarihan (Yellow Caravanserai), around 10km north of Urgup, was constructed by Seljuk Sultan Alaattin Keykubat in 1217. It has a huge courtyard with elaborate gateway, and was used for the loading of animals and a place for travellers break their journey. It is also a great example of Seljuk-Turkish architecture. The road was re-laid and the building restored in the late 1980s, and is now functioning as a museum and cultural centre with performances of dervish dancing in the summer. There is rarely public transport to Sarihan.
Engraved into the tuffs, these basilica-type churches were thought to have been used as hospital buildings by the Christians, and are now almost destroyed. Similar ones can be seen in Ortahisar, like St Peter and St Paul Churches, and the one near the Meskendir River.
Firatkan is a small complex of churches, located on the road to the Goreme Open Air Museum. They have two storeys, consisting of a dormitory, dining hall, kitchen and storerooms, and the storeys are connected to each other through tunnels.
This village, 3 km southeast of the Goreme Valley, is most famous for its 50m high rock-castle, which is visible from the main road. It is possible to climb the rock, which offers stunning views of the surrounding area. This attractive farming village also has examples of the monastery lifestyle, and is a strong cultural and commercial centre. Other places of interest in this area include Harim Church, Sanca Church and Cambazli Church.
It is constructed on the Damsa River, the dam is 17 km from Urgup and used mainly for irrigation. It is now an attractive area for walks and picnics, on the shore of the Damsa Lake, surrounded by pine forests and offering good shade in the summer. It is a convenient place to stop en route to Mustafapasa, Taskinpasa and Soganli.
The museum is opened in 1971, where Prehistorical, Ancient Bronze Age, Hittite, Frig, Persia, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantium and Ottoman period pieces of arts besides Ürgüp and environs acquired fossil samples are in the museum. There is also an ethnographic section for regional clothes, furniture and guns within the museum.
Ruins of Ürgüp Museum are Mustafapaşa (Sinasos) Aios Vasilios Church, Monastery Valley Churches, Yeşilöz (Saint Theodor) Church and Pancarlık Church.
Saint Theodore (Tagar) Church
Around 15 km southeast of Urgup, the village of Yesiloz contains the famous T-shaped St Thoedore’s Church. It is possible to access the gallery on the upper floor by a ladder, making it unique in Cappadocia. The church has been decorated by three artists, whose pictures are generally well preserved. Scenes depicted include the prophets, the disciples, Christ on the crucifix and the angels Gabriel and Michael.
South of Ortahisar in the Pancarlik Valley, this church dates back to the first half of the 11th century. Its intricate religious paintings are predominantly green, and have generally been well preserved. They depict a vast range of biblical scenes, including Joseph’s second dream, the escape to Egypt, the miracle of the water into wine, the loaves and fishes, the cure of a leper, Christ on the crucifix and later his resurrection.
Appearances of the prophets, herald, visit, evidence of virginity, voyage to Beytüllahim, birth, worship of three astrologer, second dream of Joseph, escape to Egypt, massacre of innocent children, introduction of Jesus Christ to temple, follow up of Elizabeth, appointment of Baptist Yahya, baptism, test of Jesus Christ, Kana marriage, wine miracle, fish and bread augmentation, appointment of disciples for sake of God, cure of devil crooked man, cure of leper man, cure of disabled woman, cure of daughter of Jairus, fish augmentation miracle, Jesus Christ and woman from Samarra, metamorphism, Jesus Christ on the way to Golgotha, Jesus on crucifix, Landing of Jesus Christ to inferno, rise of Jesus Christ to the sky, angel Gabriel and Michael and saint pictures in medallions.
Ala Church and Kepez Churches
These are considered important churches in the region, located on the road of Pancarkil. They have plain red decorations, and frescoes.
These form a small cluster, some 2 km from Ortahisar, and date back to the Ikolonazma period.
Taskinpasa mosque is in the centre of the village of Damsa, 20 km south of Urgup, dates back to the Karamanlilar period. Its balcony is made of walnut ornamental inlaying, which is the only remaining one of its kind. The Taskinpasa Tomb, belonging to Hizir Reis, is opposite the mosque and belongs to the same period.
This rock-castle was a place of refuge for women and children during times of danger. A tunnel opened to the Damsa River, constructed for the purpose. Most of the building has since collapsed mainly due to erosion, but the undamaged section is open to visitors.
Temenni (Mausoleum )
This monumental Selcuk tomb, constructed by Vecihi Pasa and dedicated to Kilicarslan IV, dates back to 1288. Perched on Kadi Kalesi, the most peculiar feature of the tomb is the 700m tunnel, of which the original purpose is unclear. It has an Ottoman library, one of the oldest in Anatolia, with photographs of pre-1923 Urgup. Visitors are allowed to walk through the corridor that leads to the point of a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside.
Opening hours: 08:30 – 18:00, daily.
Literally translating as Six Gates Tomb, this monument in the north of the city centre was constructed by a commander from the 12th of 13th century Selcuk period, and dedicated to his wife and children.
CULTUREL DETAILS OF NEVŞEHİR
Rock Churches and Monasteries
The edifices of a great number of rock churches and monasteries are found in the Cappadocian region, particularly, around Ürgüp, Ortahisar and Gülşehir and the valleys of Göreme, Soğanlı and Ihlara.Each one of these structures-carved out of rock-displays a unique structural architectural style and line of evolution. Typically, they display regional characteristics; at the same time, they reflect the most superior specimens of medieval architecture and pictorial art in Anatolia. The early examples derive from the end of Antiquity and the early Byzantine period; and the late structures are from the thirteenth century in the seljuk period.
Göreme valley is a fascinating locale where both historical wealth and natural beauty live side by side. As an outcome of intense Christian migration in the eighth century by ordinary people and ecclesiastics who were fleeing from oppression to go into hiding here, dwellings, churches and monasteries were constructed for their residences and worship; for this reason Göreme valley became one of the most prominent religious centers of Anatolia. These structures which they created with the technique of rock carving possess plain entrances, simple plans and hemispherical vaults.
The most prominent quality of the structures resides in their frescoes. In the iconoclastic era, they depict symbolic and geometric motifs, such as fish, roosters and grapes; after the close of the iconoclastic period, they portray saints and religious scenes.
''''I`wo important techniques are utilized in the paintings.The first technique is the application of paint on a layer of wet plaster. The second technique employs the stone wall as the ground. Because tufa has no moisture absorp tion property, the frescoes still preserve their vividness.
The great majority of the catacombs later housed those who utilized them as places of retreat and most of them were destroyed. The necropolises continued to be constructed in the Byzantine period. The rock catacombs at Avcilar originate in the third and fourth centuries; these catacombs are important from the perspective of their having belonged to the high priests of Venessa, the city dedicated to Zeus Uranios. The unusual tombs in the vil- lage of Mazı are dated to the Early. Macedonian and Christian eras. The canyon contains five tombs.The grave on the east face was made in the well-known Lycian-Carian style. The others from the sixth century B.C. of the closed tomb type, which is common everywhere. The figure of a woman has been depicted on one of this type of tomb, which has columns (Doric order). The Roman necropolis at the village of Mazı köy is located in the canyon near the edge of the village. Less care has been shown in the tombs here; all are small with doors and over a roughly smoothed surfâce a representation of the deceased can, with difficulty, be made out. On the interior, there are three stone benches reminiscent of the Greek period. In addition, tombs belonging to the Cappadocian dynasty can be found at Salarköy, Sofular, Ortahisar and Machan. All these tombs resemble the Asiatic type. The most beautiful among the Roman tombs are at Ağzıgüzel near Fraktin, east of Ürgüp.The structure of these attractive tombs has finished to per fection; and in some of them the recess for laying the corpse has been very carefully worked. The tombs of the ordinary subjects of the Roman period can been encountered everywhere.
The most interesting formations of Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia are at Paşabağ and Zelve, five kilometers from Avanos.Here are two canyons in a hidden valley to casual view. Because of the favorable conditions for defense of its site, it was the scene of human habitation continuous from early times.It is thought that the earliest settlements occurred in the Byzantine period. It became of the most important settlements and religious centers for the Christian community between the ninth and thirteenth centuries. It held a position of prominence for the earliest ecclesiastical councils.Zelve sheltered a quite dense populace, and vidence of their daily life has survived to the present. The places where they drew water and ground their grains and conducted their worship are still standing. These churches-most of which were built during the iconoclastic era-are built on the plan of one or two naves or a double nave. The pictorial and other decoration of the church is dated to the ninth-tenth centuries. Üzümlü and Gerikli are the most important churches. A mosque carved out of the rock can also be found here. In recent times, the Muslim community removed to Yeni Zelzeve (Aktepe) after 1950 when, due to the characteristic erosion of the tufa, the mosque became subject to the threat of collapse and destruction.
A fairy chimney of three peaks at Paşabağ was used as a cell by a monk named Simeon. Bearing the same first name as that of St. Stylite who had lived in solitary at the top of a column in Syria, this monk made the bed and sitting furniture in his cell by carving them out of the rock. It also contains a chapel dedicated to St. Simeon. In one other chapel, a striking inscription reads, as follows: “O Grave, Take me unto you as you took Stylite.”
The magnificence of the massive tufa of Çavuşin, which lies four kilometers from Avanos, draws one''''s attention from a great distance. It is known to have been a setttlement from ancient days.But, as the result of an earthquake and the collapse of tufa strata, the rock houses were abandoned and the village moved to a flat terrain. The Church of St. John the Baptist, one of the oldest churches of the area, has been constructed in the tufa mass that rises to a height of about 60 meters.
It is a church of the archaic period. It is thought to date to the second half of the tenth century, because the church contains frescoes that commemorate the ceremonies of the visit of Nicephore Phokas (963-69) to Cappadocia. It is one of the most renowned churches of Cappadocia. The pictorial scheme of the Tokalı church at Göreme presents a more primitive a ance. Scenes from the life of Jesus Christ are depicted. The stairs ha appeared because of the partial collapse of the Church.
The monastery is from the sixth century, but the position of the do columns of the galleries and its perspective point to the Late Antiquil od. The strong and showy structure, the whole of the ceiling under 1 influence and the application of the vaulted ceilings indicalre the a Parthia influence. The entrance vestibule of the xrionasteıy has com collapsed and the chambers and columns have disappeared. It is tl that this monastery was very likely an important temple of the cult c in the period prior to the Christian Byzantine era. It was later transf into a church.
El Nazar Church
The structure, whose fresco paintings portray miracles from the chi of Jesus and the saints, is dated to the twelfth century. The vaults church on the T-plan are decorated with medallions.
Because the entrance to the church, which was discovered in 1957, ha blocked by piles of earth, the frescoes were in good condition. It is d the mid-eleventh century to the twelfth century. The scenes depict nailing to the Cross, the death of the Virgin Mary, the Transfigurati and St. John the Baptist in the desert are of interest. The frescoes were painted directly on the wall as ground and the color red was used generousl,
The structure, which comprises four main spatial units, is the largest of Göreme valley. Passing from the single nave Eski church witY spherical vault, one enters Yeni church, built on a rectangular plan. Hewn out of rock, the space covered by a hemispherical vault is divided by into three sections. The structure, which was embellished with pain different times, contains the most interesting specimens of the art of fresco Some date from after the iconoclastic period; some, however, be primitive Christian art. The frescoes dated to the early tenth century and in which red and green are the dominant colors offer scenes from he New Testament and contribute an air of richness to the Eski church. Another quality that distinguishes this church from the others is the frescoes in the Yeni church section, whose dominant color is indigo blue. The paintings which portray the life of Jesus in a detailed manner are dated to the late tenth to the thirteenth centuries.
It is a structure with a central dome, transverse vault, cruciform plan and four piers. The frescoes are dated to the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The apple orchard that stands before the main entrance, which earlier collapsed has given this structure its name. In the frescoes, scenes from Jesus'''' life and the Old Testament are depicted. From beneath the frescoes which are peel ing away in places can be seen simple pictures in red from the iconoclastic period.
The church which takes its name from the depiction of St.Barbara verse vaulted, cruciform plan and two pillars is locatec behind Elmalı church and dated to the first half of the eleventh century ıt has symbolic figures and designs in red paint on the walls and in some of the frescoes jesus Christ, St. George and St. Theodore appear. Another notable aspect of the church are the charming motifs of fish, rooster and crosse, which are characteristic of the iconoclastic period and which are done in red ocher.
Its frescoes which were applied directly to the wall belong to the eleventhh century. The structure which has been divided into two sections by straight lines in red ocher to imitate a fill structure; the first section is hemispherical vaulted and the second has a flat ceiling. To the left of the entrance is a cross on either side of which is the Emperor Constantie and Empress Helena next to which is St. George and St. Theodore in a portrayal of the scene where a snake is killed. On the opposite wall is Jesus holding a book; another fresco depicts Onophrios and Basileios.
It is one of the structures on the cruciform plan with four freestanding supports, whose frescoes have been preserved from damage. The darkness in the structure, which has recently been given over to repairs (the light source is a small window in the narthex), gave the church its name and contributed to the fact that the frescoes have survived without damage. Dated to the mid-eleventh century or the early thirteenth century, the frescoes are unlike those of the others which contain scenes from the New Testament rather these follow a historical sequence.
The first section of the church, which is on a closed cruciform plan with two piers and a transverse vault, has been destroyed. The frescoes dated to the eleventh century, of portions of the New Testament and the Old Testament are noteworthy.The name of the church derives from the footprint mark below the fresco depicting the ascension of Jesus that resenbles a raw hide sandal.
Kuşluk church, one of the most beautiful churches in the valley of Göreme stands on the slope overlooking the entrance to Kılıçlar valley. The church which is known as the Church of the Virgin Mary is reached by a narrow pass on a path that leads to the valley. The frescoes which use very vivid collors and most of which have been written over, are dated to the first half of the eleventh century. Scenes from the New Testament enliven the apses.
The church, which is found in Kılıçlar valley about 6-700 meters from Göreme, valley is on a cruciform plan, with a dome resting on four free standing pillars and transverse vaulted.The interior-whose foresectio has colapsed-is decorated with with frescoes in lively colors and dated to the late ninth-early tenth century.
Church Of St. John The Baptist
Viewed as a whole the only structure which is clearly a church from the structural perspective and which is thought to be the oldest church (it ection is completely collapsed) is the Church of St. John the Baptist Beyond the entrance, which is carved öut of rock, is a basilica of three naves. This basilica which was constructed in the fifth century was dedicated tost John the Baptist. "Very few of the frescoes of the basilica which played such an important role in the history of the area have survived.Most are very poer state. One fresco that depicts an angel is the one in the bestdition. Besides these religious edifices there is a series of monasteries situated in two valleys which are south of Çavuşin. The first of these is known by the name of Güllü Dere which is one and a half kilometers of Çavuşin Here there are five churches. Four have a single nave and the churc call Ayvalı church dedicated to St. John has two naves. Its frescoes date to a time prior to the iconoclastic period and also the archaic period. The more recent of these paintings are dated to 913-20. The richest reliefs of the Göreme region are found here." (83)
In the square planarthex, the wall surfaces are decorated in patterns of diamond shaped, star medallion and crosses. In the north portion of the apse is a crown formed of vegetal elements and triangles within which and Latin cross is placed; also in the apse on the north side in the middle is a very ornate Maltese cross; on the east side of the nave is a crown decorated with symbolic pearls, vegetal motifs and zigzags, which encloses a Maltese cross. On the north side of the nave on a pilaster is a Greek cross, immedi ately next to which is a Latin cross. These elements of decoration ar diffu cult to explain and understand, but are associated with early Byzantine and pre-Byzantine culture. The decorative style employed here is reminisc ent of Eastern Roman mosaic and wall decoration. It represents the olde stand most interesting and, at the same time, one of the most difficult churched to interpret. The Yamanlı church, which is decorated by Latin Greek end Maltese crosses, bears traces of the early Christian culture in Cappadocia. In this connection, it is impossible not to recall the letter of Gregoir of Nnissa dated 371-79 regarding Avanos, which states that it is a "wondrous house of prayer-built in memory of the martyrs-and in an uncompleted stage of construction, which stands on the left-hand side as one approach Vanonte." In fact, the ceiling of Yamanlı church is not entirely finished. The structure of the church exhibits a pre-Byzantine style of the Syrian type. Despite its state of incompleteness, one may date this edifice to tr fourth-sixth centuries.