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.
Here are some top facts about Zelve Valley Open Air Museum:
- 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.
- The museum is spread over three main valleys and contains numerous cave dwellings, tunnels, and chapels.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The museum is open year-round, although some of the chapels and tunnels may be closed during certain periods for restoration work.
- The valley is easily accessible from the nearby town of Goreme, and visitors can either drive or take a local bus to the site.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Open every day between 08:00-17:00.
* 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