The Goreme Open Air Museum – A Historical Marvel in Turkey

Four Churches to Visit When at Cappadocia, Turkey

The Goreme Open Air Museum mingles art, religion, and architecture to come up with a place that attracts millions of tourists per year. It is readily available from all directions as it is in the heart of Cappadocia. The main thing that draws this large number of visitors into this place is the rock – cut churches in this museum. In the churches, you will see wall paintings (frescoes) that are still as fresh as when the artists painted them. For the above reasons, UNESCO added it to the world heritage sites list. If you are looking for adventure and stories to take home with you, here are four churches that you should visit.


Within the Goreme Open Air Museum, the nunnery stands as a great representation of religion. The nunnery is a rock mass that reaches a height of about 6-7 stories. It’s first and second floors are still accessible. While its first floor has a kitchen, a dining hall and a few rooms, the second floor has a ruined chapel. If you would like to access the third floor, you will have to use a tunnel. It takes a cruciform plan which has a dome supported by four columns and some three apses. Painters painted a presto of Jesus Christ on the rock and some more designs along with it.

Elmali Church

This church is also known as the apple church despite the part that gave it this name having collapsed many years ago. It joins the ranks of the prominent buildings within the museum due to its vivid colors. Elmali has a central dome and four columns. Its designers festooned its interior with remarkable frescoes that date back to the 11th and 12th centuries. These frescoes elaborate biblical stories relating to Abraham’s hospitality, Jesus’ life and a story of three Hebrew youths.

St. Barbara Church

You can find this church behind the Elmali church. It takes the design of a cruciform which has two columns. While the designer’s barrel vaulted the west, north and south parts of the church, they designed the central and east arm into a dome shape. It has three apses, one central one, and two more side apses. Painters also painted some motifs on the walls of the rock in red. The church, which dates back to the 11th century, has motifs that portray mythological animals, military symbols, and geometrical patterns.

this is a picture inside the gorem open air museum church

Yilanli Church

This church contains two chambers that are in a linear plan. Its creator’s barrel vaulted its front section and designed the back part into a chamber with a flat roof. It has frescos that date all the way to the 11th century. Its dominant fresco is directly opposite its entrance and is a piece of art portraying Jesus Christ who is holding a book. Beside him, on his left, is Emperor Constantine on one side of a large cross and Helena on the other side. The church derives its name (snake church) from a fresco that depicts St.Theodore and St. George killing the snake.

The stories behind all these churches combined with their architecture have managed to attract a large number of tourists. Make sure that you visit the above churches, great exhibits of timeless museums the next time that you are visiting Cappadocia and get to enjoy these marvelous sites.


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