Zelve Valley Open Air Museum Cappadocia (What to See? Tickets)


Zelve Valley is one of the most popular open air museum areas of Cappadocia, situated between Avanos and Goreme, nearby Pasabag Monks Valley. Being part of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Zelve Valley Open Air Museum is also one most popular places to see in Cappadocia that travelers may experience sharp pointed and wide fairy chimneys.

Top Facts

Here are some top facts about Zelve Valley Open Air Museum:


  1. Zelve Valley Open Air Museum was once home to a thriving community of Christian monks who used the unique rock formations to create a network of underground dwellings, chapels, and storage areas.
  2. The museum is spread over three main valleys and contains numerous cave dwellings, tunnels, and chapels.
  3. Visitors can explore the caves and tunnels on their own, or take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the site and the people who once lived there.
  4. The museum is particularly renowned for its beautiful frescoes, which adorn the walls of the chapels and provide a unique glimpse into the religious and cultural practices of the monks who lived in the valley.
  5. Zelve Valley Open Air Museum is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, and is considered to be one of the most important historic sites in the Cappadocia region.
  6. The museum is open year-round, although some of the chapels and tunnels may be closed during certain periods for restoration work.
  7. The valley is easily accessible from the nearby town of Goreme, and visitors can either drive or take a local bus to the site.
  8. Zelve Valley Open Air Museum is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts, who come to explore the rugged landscape and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
  9. Visitors are advised to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as the site can be quite hot and dusty during the summer months.
  10. With its rich history, stunning scenery, and unique cultural offerings, Zelve Valley Open Air Museum is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Cappadocia region of Turkey.

Quick History

Zelve Valley Open Air Museum is a unique open-air museum that provides visitors with a glimpse into the rich cultural and historical heritage of the region. The valley has a long history that dates back to the Hittites, who first settled in the area over 4,000 years ago.

During the Byzantine period, Zelve Valley was an important center for Christian monks who lived in the area and carved out rock churches and dwellings. The valley was also home to a thriving community of farmers and tradespeople, who took advantage of the fertile soil and abundant resources.

In the 20th century, the inhabitants of Zelve Valley were forced to abandon their homes and move to nearby towns due to geological instability caused by erosion and earthquakes. Today, the valley is a well-preserved open-air museum that showcases the unique cultural and historical heritage of the region.

Things to Do & See

Zelve Valley is one of the best places to explore and enjoy the most intensive fairy chimneys in Cappadocia. The valley attracts travelers not only with its fairy chimneys but also with its magnificent nature. We highly recommend you to visit the Zelve Valley on your Cappadocia trip.


Visitors to Zelve Valley Open Air Museum can explore the numerous rock-cut churches, houses, and chapels, as well as the cave dwellings and tunnels that were once used by the local inhabitants. The museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of the people who lived in the valley, and the unique architecture and cultural practices that have been passed down through the generations.

Zelve Valley Open Air Museum is a very peaceful area that travelers may see variety of both natural and human made formations and best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia such as churches, tunnels, mills, houses and monastery.

You’ll see many monasteries, churches, settlements and fairy chimneys that have been formed naturally in this region, where you will find many traces of life here. The region has been one of the most important residential and worship places for Christianity between the 8th and 13th centuries.

Panorama of unique geological formations in Zelve valley, Cappadocia

One of the best activities in Zelve Valley is to enjoy nature and unique beauties by walking or hiking among the fairy chimneys. You’ll need at least 3-4 hours to explore the valley literally.

The valley consist of three valleys. In the first one you’ll a rock-cut mosque. In the second valley, you’ll find living spaces used in the past. And in the third valley, you’ll find the ancient rock-cut settlements and churches.

You’ll find an impressive fountain at the entrance of the valley, that will fascinate you when you enter the valley. You’ll find a total of 15 churches in the valley.


Cave Church in Zelve Valley, Cappadocia

The churches of Uzumlu (the Church with Grapes), Balikli (the Church with Fishes) and Geyikli (the Church with the Deer) are the most popular fairy chimney churches that worth a visit and see in Cappadocia.

Hiking

Zelve Valley is also a very ideal place for trekking lovers. You can take a nice walk around the valley and during the walk, you can take a closer look at the rock-cut monasteries and their habitats.

You can also go up to the higher hills and watch the valley from above, and take lots of photos.

What to Eat?

There is a small buffet at the entrance of the Valley. Here you can eat pancakes, toast or drink tea from the local artisans.

Shopping

There are a few small shops selling souvenirs at the entrance of the valley.

Handmade towels, woven rugs, carpets and bags, as well as miniatures of the region’s famous fairy chimneys, stone sculptures and magnets can be a good option for a gift.

Visiting Hours & Admissions

Opening Hours

Open every day between 08:00-17:00.

Ticket Price

* 65 TL at ticket window on location

How to Get There?

Zelve Valley Open Air Museum is situated between Avanos and Goreme. There is a parking area with souvenir shops and cafes at the entrance. About;

  • 1 km. from Pasabag Valley
  • 6,1 km. from Avanos
  • 7,2 km. from Goreme
  • 11,6 km. from Uchisar
  • 10,5 km. from Urgup

Google Map


Book Your Balloon Ride

Below you can find our recommendations. Each company directly operates the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia with their team of experts. So you will book your flight directly from the company. No men in the middle.

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Local Recommendations from Cappadocia4U team

If youʻre visiting Cappadocia for the first time, we have you covered. Below are some of the top recommendations, tours and experiences!

Some useful info

  • Cappadocia is the name of the region situated in the middle of Turkey. It is mostly known by the three popular towns of Goreme, Urgup and Uchisar but actually it is the name of the very big region spread through the cities of Nevsehir, Kirsehir, Nigde, Aksaray and Kayseri.
  • If you are first-time visitor, want to get familiar, please read our Cappadocia for first timers guide.
  • If you are not sure how to travel, please read our Traveling to Cappadocia guide.
  • If you don't know where to stay, please read our Where to Stay in Cappadocia guide for regions, and Accommodation guide for hotels.
  • If it is hard to plan your days, please read our Ideal 3-Days Cappadocia itinerary.

Top Attractions & Sights

There are 6 must do and see in Cappadocia that you won't want to miss!

  1. Hot Air Balloon Rides (the most exciting attractions in the world)
  2. Goreme Open Air Museum (some best-preserved examples of Byzantine rock-cut architecture and frescoes in the world)
  3. Pasabag Monks Valley (one of the most popular fairy chimneys areas)
  4. Uchisar Castle (highest point, the biggest fairy chimney)
  5. Derinkuyu Underground City (one of the largest underground cities in the world, 8th century BC)
  6. Ihlara Valley (fantastic canyon with a depth of about 100 mt. and 14 km. length)

Tip-1: One of the best ways to explore Cappadocia is by taking a sightseeing tour, so that you can cover all the top sights. Three main sightseeing tours available: Red Tour (covers the highlights of the region), Green Tour (best of natural and historical sites), and Blue Tour (lesser-known sights, off-the-beaten-path experience)

Tip-2: Private Tours are also good choice within a well-planned and custom itinerary along with a private vehicle, driver and professional guide. Great for those who don't have a car or don't know the region well.

For leisure activities we'd recommend 2 must-take attractions! Don't miss! Wine Tasting and Photo Shooting