Turkey

Churches in ignimbrite

During the Byzantine Empire, many families in Cappadocia became Christian enclaves. Each founded their own monastery, which was dug out from the relatively soft volcanic deposits. This technique was used since centuries for homes and necropolis. It turned out to be very useful during the first incursions by Muslims from Arabia between the 8th and 10th centuries AD and, later on, during Turkish invasion. Despite the protection by underground chambers, the last Christian communities disappeared in the 11th century AD.

Churches in ignimbrite
Peristrema Valley, a canyon cut by a river into ignimbrites on Hasan Dagi's North flank.
Churches in ignimbrite
Vertical canyon cliffs were ideal places to start excavation of churches in the softish rock.
Churches in ignimbrite
Agac Alti Kilise, the "Church below the Tree" in Peristrema Valley.
Churches in ignimbrite
Kokar Kilise, the "Scented Church" in Peristrema Valley.
Churches in ignimbrite
Derinkuyu, an underground town which had 12 levels during the first Arab incursions.
Churches in ignimbrite
The entrance of Karanlik Kilise, the "Dark Church" in Goreme.
Churches in ignimbrite
Saint Barbara Kilise, Goreme. Note the crab painted at extreme left.
Churches in ignimbrite
Frescoes on the ceiling of Cavus'In Kilise.
Churches in ignimbrite
Entrance to Cavus'In Kilise, once protected by high level above the ground.
Churches in ignimbrite
Frescoes on the interior walls of Cavus'In Kilise.
Churches in ignimbrite
Windows of rooms in a monastery in Goreme.
Churches in ignimbrite
Light and shadow in monastery rooms.