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Church Architecture in Goreme

The one nave barrel vaulted plan common of Goreme's churches was the most convenient architectural style for the religious communities and those living in seclusion in the area. These buildings were also seen as suitable areas for graves.

The transversal rectangular plan originated in Mesopotamia, and it is likely that these buildings were constructed for groups of foreigners settling in the area.

In Goreme, the only church built with two naves is the church of St. Eustathios, however, the churches in Soganli and Ihlara quite often feature two naves. Building to the Basilica plan with three naves is also rare in Goreme, this being a preferred technique for the Bishopric churches such as Durmus Kadir. These churches were big and the arcthitecture very rnate, and for this reason this style was not popular in rocky areas.

Painting Techniques

Two types of painting technique were used in the churches. The first is without an undercoat of plaster. Painting was applied directly the bare rock using the roots of vegetables for color. This type of painting can be seen more in the early Byzantine churches and chapels. One can find decorations such as the Maltese Cross and geometrical and floral designs.

In the later periods, the original paintings were covered with plaster and repainted with scenes from the bible. The best examples for this type of painting are the Buckle Church, Chapel of St. Basil, Apple Church and the Chapel of St. Barbara located in the Goreme Open Air Museum. Also the Fish Church in Zelve and Firkatan Church in Ortahisar.

The second technique was to paint onto an undercoat of plaster. Painting was either on the wet plaster, the fresco technique or dried plaster. There is only one example of this technique, which is the Tatlarin Church.

In order to give the painting a brighter surface, af ter the painting was completed a kind of glue obtained from plants was applied. The themes on the walls are generally taken from the life of Jesus, the Bible and the Torah. It is also possible to see saints from the christian world and the important people of Cappadocia. We usually see the imortal souls represented in the dome, mortals on the walls and in the main apse, the Deesis.

Most Frequently Featured Scenes in the Goreme Churches

The Deesis
The Annunciation
The Visitation
The Journey to Bethlehem
The Nativity
The Adoration of the Magi
The Flight into Egypt
The Baptism
The Raising of Lazarus
The Transfiguration
The Entry into Jerusalem
The Last Supper
The Betrayal of Judas
The Crucifixion

  Kadir Durmus Church
Durmus Kadir Church

The church got its name from the owner of the vineyard and is located in the Karsibucak region of Goreme. This church is 11.6 meters x 9.6 meters and of a large basilica type, which is rarely seen in the... more>>
Yusuf Koc Church

This church,like the Durmus Kadir church, also got its name from the vinyard owner. The church in the Karsibucak region of Goreme has two apsis (one has collapsed)... more>>
Yusuf Koc Church  
  El Nazar Church
El-Nazar Church

Follow the streambed to the right of the Avcilar-Goreme road and, on leaving it, go some 800 meters further to arrive at a large rock in the form of a kind of tent... more>>
Virgin Mary Church

This church lies on a steep slope to the south of the Kiliclar Church and located 250 meters behind the Tokal Church. The rectangular nave is covered by two barrel vaults of different widths and heights... more>>
  Kiliclar Church
Kiliclar (Swords) Church

The church is situated 600 meters northeast of the Goreme Open Air Museum in the Kiliclar Valley. The plan of the church is in the form of a cross. It has four columns the cross arms are cradle vaulted... more>>
Tokali (Buckled) Church

This is the oldest known rock-cut church in the region, and comprises of four sections: The Old Church with one nave; the New Church; the Lower Church under the Old Church; and the Parecclesion to the north... more>>
Tokali Church  
Nunnery and Monastery

The 6-7 storey rock mass to the left of the museum entrance is known as the "Nunnery". The dining hall, kitchen and some rooms on the first floor, together with the ruined chapel on the second level, can still be visited. The church on the... more>>
Chapel of St. Basil

At the entrance of the Goreme Open Air Museum the nave and narthex are divided with 2 arches. The grave niche in the narthex and the graves on the floor are thought to be for the donor and the relatives of... more>>
Chapel of St. Basil  
  Elmali (Apple) Church
Elmali (Apple) Church

This church, featuring four columns, nine domes and three apses, is of the closed cruciform type. Access to the church is through a tunnel on the north side. The original entrance was on the south side... more>>
Chapel of St. Barbara

This is probably the most attractive church in the Goreme Open Air Museum. Situated in back of the Elmali church. The small divisions, red painted figures and the well cared for architecture, flow unison... more>>
Chapel of St. Barbara  
  Yilanli (Snake) Church
Yilanli (Snake) Church

The main section is transversally rectangular and barrel vaulted, whereas the extended space to the south, which houses the graves, has a flat ceiling. The apse was hollowed out of the long wall on the... more>>
Karanlik (Dark) Church

The entrance to this church is from the north through a winding tunnel which opens into a barrel-vaulted narthex. In the south of the narthex there are three graves, two of which are big and the other is small... more>>
Karanlik (Dark) Church  
  Chapel of St Catherine
Chapel of St Catherine

Situated between the Karanlik (Dark) Church and the Carikli Church, the Chapel of St. Catherine it has a free cross nave and narthex. The central bay is covered by a dome and the cross arms are... more>>
Carikli (Sandals) Church

The smallest of the columned churches in Goreme Open Air Museum, it is situated at the northwest part of the museum. The entrance is from the north, the church is one of the rooms that surrounds... more>>
Carikli (Sandals) Church  
  Sakli (Hidden) Church
Sakli (Hidden) Church

Entering the Goreme Valley one climbs a rough trail up the righthand slopes to a plateau. Another 300 meters and a gradual descent begins to the next valley, also on the right. Here one comes upon... more>>

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