It is estimated that there are more than 600 rock-cut churches in Cappadocia. These churches that people carved were similar in plan to the ones in the capital. Walls were covered with beautiful frescoes and they were also influenced by the Iconoclast period in the 8C and 9C. Most of the frescoes date from the 11C and 12C.
Two different techniques were employed for the frescoes, they were either painted directly on the rock or on a very thin coat of plaster. In churches where it was not plastered over, the painting became extensive. The predominant color of this style was red ocher.
In many pictures it is noted that eyes or faces of people are obliterated as it was believed that this action killed the painted subject in the Islamic period. In addition to this there are also many scratches of vandals’ initials which is strictly forbidden today. The visitor should be reminded that the use of flash with cameras inside the churches is not allowed.
The simplest church had a rectangular vaulted nave with an apse covered by a projecting arch. There are many variations of the churches, some with triple apse and a dome, cross-planned and so on. Because the churches were carved into the rock, they did not need to be supported by columns. Therefore columns and vaults are only structural symbols. Names of the churches are based on their archeological style or decoration, for instance the Buckle or Sandal Church. The apses of the churches face different directions as they are carved in accordance with the natural formations and availability of suitable rock pieces.
In most churches there are many grave pits which are thought to have probably belonged to donors or the church dignitaries as this was the tradition.