Cappadocia can be considered as a region that has been one of the most important residential and worship places for Christianity in the world between the 8th and 13th centuries. There are variety of great churches in Cappadocia spread through the valleys, ancient settlement areas, national parks and historical places of Cappadocia.
Must See Churches, Monasteries and Chapels in Cappadocia
Cappadocia, an extraordinary kingdom of unique cultures, once hosted many empires on its exquisite geography emerged from volcanic eruptions, including Hittites, the Persians, the Seljuks, the Ottoman Empire, and more, blending them peacefully in a magical way, unlike any place you’ve ever seen in the world.
Its cultural and historical significance, together with 429 registered historic structures and 64 protected areas belonging to 10 different civilizations, Cappadocia made it to UNESCO World Heritage List, too.
The churches along the Cappadocia region are all unique and worth visiting for their artwork, architecture, and historical significance. Whether you’re interested in religious history or art, Cappadocia offers a wealth of fascinating sites to explore.
Churches at the Goreme Open Air Museum in Goreme
The Goreme Open Air Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cappadocia. This UNESCO World Heritage site features a collection of cave churches and monasteries carved into the soft rock.
Goreme Open Air Museum hosts the most important Byzantine cave churches in the world that where the monks and nuns pursued monastic life. The frescoes inside the churches are well-preserved and provide a glimpse into the religious life of the area’s inhabitants in the 10th-12th centuries.
Travelers may see the best preserved Byzantine cave wall paintings and frescos from the Iconoclastic period through to the end of Seljuk era, together with icons with scenes from the Old Testament and the New Testament above portraits of church fathers and saints depict the structure of the Byzantine universe.
The Elmali (Apple) Church, Dark Church, Tokali (Buckle) Church, Yilanli (Serpent) Church, El Nazar Church, Saint Basil Chapel, Santa Barbara Chapel and Santa Catherine Chapel are the popular churches and chapels that worth a visit and see.
Karanlik Dark Church
The Dark Church is one of the most well-preserved and intricate cave churches in the Goreme Open Air Museum. It features stunning frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible, and visitors are required to pay an additional fee to enter and view the art. One of the most visited churches in Cappadocia.
Elmali Apple Church
The Apple Church is located in the village of Sinasos and dates back to the 9th century. It features a well-preserved fresco of Jesus holding an apple, which is a unique feature not found in many other churches in the region.
Tokali Church of the Buckle
The Tokali Church (also known as the Church of the Buckle) is one of the most important and impressive churches in the Goreme Open Air Museum. It features intricate frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible and the life of Jesus, as well as a stunning apse mosaic.
Yilanli Snake Church
The Yilanli Snake Church is located in the Goreme Open Air Museum and features frescoes of saints and Biblical scenes, as well as a unique depiction of St. George slaying a dragon.
El Nazar Church
The El Nazar Church is located in the Goreme Open Air Museum and features frescoes of the crucifixion and other Biblical scenes. The church is unique because it also has a small mosque adjacent to it, highlighting the region’s rich cultural and religious history. Also one of the most visited churches in Cappadocia.
Chapels in Pasabag Monks Valley– between Avanos and Goreme
The three capped fairy chimney situated at the center of the Pasabag Monks valley is the famous fairy chimney chapel where Saint Simeon has lived there in seclusion for 15 years.
Churches in Rose Valley (Gulludere)– near Goreme
Rose Valley separates into two paths. One leads to the chambers of the monks that were in seclusion and the other one leads to the popular Church of Three Crosses and Ayvali (Quince) Church
Church of Three Crosses
The Church of Three Crosses is a small cave church with frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible and the life of Jesus. It’s named after the three crosses depicted in the church’s frescoes.
The Ayvali Church features well-preserved frescoes of saints and scenes from the Bible. It’s a smaller church but worth visiting for its intricate artwork and unique architecture.
Churches in Swords (Kiliclar) Valley– near Goreme
The Kiliclar Church and Virgin Mary Church are the two beautiful churches that worth a visit and see at the Swords Valley.
Churches in Cavusin Village
Cavusin is pretty small village and one of the oldest settlements of the region situated along the Goreme-Avanos road. The Saint Yahya Church and the Cavusin Church are also other popular churches that worth a visit and see.
The Cavusin Church is decorated with moments in which important events of the period are told and pictures of important people. In addition, the Church of St. John The Baptist, dating back to the 5th century, is the oldest among the churches you should visit in the village.
Churches in Zelve Valley– between Avanos and Goreme
There are about 15 churches at the Zelve Valley and the churches of Uzumlu (the Church with Grapes), Balikli (the Church with Fishes) and Geyikli (the Church with the Deer) are also one of the most popular fairy chimney churches that worth a visit and see in Cappadocia.
Uzumlu Church with the Grape
The Uzumlu Church (also known as the Church with the Grape) features frescoes depicting the life of Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. It’s unique because of its depiction of grapevines, which was a common motif in the region’s Byzantine art.
Churches, Monasteries and Chapels in and around Ihlara Valley
The St.George Church and Kirkdamalti Church are the must see churches in the Ihlara Valley.
Selime Monastery – 1 km. after Yaprakhisar village on the exit of Ihlara Valley
Selime Monastery is a complex of chapels and dwellings carved into the rock near the town of Selime. The complex includes a number of tunnels and passageways, and visitors can climb up to the top of the complex for a stunning view of the surrounding area.
The famous Selime Monastery was one of the biggest and most fascinating religious settlements in Cappadocia. The Monastery was carved into the rock by monks in the 13th century.