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Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Monastic Churches of Göreme

Cappadocia became a monastic center of Christianity between 300—1200 AD when numerous churches were carved into the soft volcanic rock of the region.  Just a kilometer outside of the town of Göreme is the Göreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the most visited of these monastic communities.  Within this small area more than 30 churches and chapels can be found hidden within the rock spires.  Many are simply painted but others are richly decorated with vividly colored frescoes which date to the 9th to 11th centuries.  If you look carefully at the frescoes you notice that many have the faces scratched out, especially those at ground level.  This was done by later Muslims as the Koran forbids human images of holy people.  A pretty spectacular place.

A collapsed section of a church.....the next few photos are from the deeper recesses of this church.

a nice banquet table....