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Zelve Open Air Museum - Tour Packages

The most interesting formations of Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia are at Pasabag and Zelve, five kilometers from Avanos.

Here are two canyons in a hidden valley to casual view. Because of the favorable conditions for defense of its site, it was the scene of human habitation continuous from early times. It is thought that the earliest settlements occurred in the Byzantine period.

It became of the most important settlements and religious centers for the Christian community between the ninth and thirteenth centuries. It held a position of prominence for the earliest ecclesiastical councils. Zelve sheltered a quite dense populace, and evidence of their daily life has survived to the present.

The places where they drew water and ground their grains and conducted their worship are still standing. These churches-most of which were built during the iconoclastic era-are built on the plan of one or two naves or a double nave. The pictorial and other decoration of the church is dated to the ninth-tenth centuries.

Uzumlu and Gerikli are the most important churches. A mosque carved out of the rock can also be found here. In recent times, the Muslim community removed to Yeni Zelzeve (Aktepe) after 1950 when, due to the characteristic erosion of the tufa, the mosque became subject to the threat of collapse and destruction.

 

 
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