The Dark Church and convent complex is the most famous establishment among the pillared churches of the Göreme Open Air Museum. It is composed of a series of buildings around a small courtyard. The buildings carved in the rocks lying to the south of the courtyard have two floors. Most of the researchers think that the Dark Church was the first of the pillared churches. They also maintain that the Elmalı and the Çarıklı churches have been built by the same persons. The paintings of the Dark Church have been very well preserved because very little daylight can ooze into this building. Its plan is that of a closed Greek cross with four columns and six cupolas. There are a grave room and a rectangular narthex covered by a barrel-vault at the entrance. At the narthex, we see the ascension of Christ and the praying apostles. Jesus is seated on a double rainbow here carried by four angel figures.

The distribution of scenes:

The central apsis: Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and St. John the Baptist

The northern apsis: Virgin Mary

The central dome: Jesus Christ, the angels in medals and the saints on pendentives

The southern barrel-vault: The betrayal of Jehovah

The northern barrel-vault: The birth of Christ, the adoration of the three kings

The western barrel-vault: The arrival in Jerusalem

The western wall: The resurrection of Lazarus, the transformation of Christ and Baptism

The northern wall: The journey to Betlehem, the birth of Christ, Matthew and St. John

The southern wall: The women at the grave, the Crucifixion and the three Jews thrown into fire

The eastern wall: The last supper, Lucas and Matthew

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