Old Turkish Houses of Avanos

Turkish houses usually have a simple exterior look without many decorations. On the outside can be found tall and narrow windows, along with wide eaves and bay windows. The entry from the street, via a large gate, usually leads to a courtyard surrounded by high walls. The courtyard is where daily chores are carried out. The houses are usually two and sometimes three storeys high. The ground floor is used as a storeroom, a cellar and a barn. The living quarters are on the upper floors which can be reached by wooden stairs.

The upper floors contain a common living space called ‘sofa’ which all the rooms in the house open from. Each room is planned for a couple to live. They are large double bedrooms with built in cupboards, ottomans, bathtubs in cupboards and fireplaces. All this structuring can be regarded as an extension of Turkish nomadic tent culture. Architectural decorations, especially wooden carvings on the ceilings, can often be seen in rooms and sofas. The Turkish houses are generally made out of stone and brick (made with mixing hay and mud), or sometimes made completely of wood. Although the structure of these houses varies according to their geographical location and social status, they still maintain their common features. The difference is mostly seen in the number of the rooms and the internal decoration.

Churches and structures inside the Goreme Open Air Museum

Today, Goreme Open Air Museum is one of the most popular visiting sites in Cappadocia. It is useful to know that a Cappadocia tour without visiting the museum will be seriously incomplete. The open air museum is on the crossroad to Ortahisar around 1 km outside of Goreme. Here, structures combined to form a group are collected under museum compound. Primary visiting buildings and structures at the museum are Rahibeler Monastery, Saint Basileos Chapel, Elmali Church, Saint Barbara Chapel, Yilanh Church, Pantry-Kitchen-Dining Hall, Karanlik (Dark) Church, Saint Catherine Chapel, and Cankli Church.

Rahibeler (Sisters) Monastery: It is also known as Kizlar (Girls) Monastery or church. It was carved as six storeys in to a high rock block just opposite of museum entrance gate. There are food court, rooms, a ruined small chapel, and a church inside of it. Today, only the food court at the entrance storey, kitchen and some rooms can be visited. There is a small chapel at the second storey, and a church which is indicated to be built in the year of 1055. There is a Jesus

description painted on northern wall of the church together with red and green ornaments.

Saint Basileos Chapel: The chapel was constructed with three apsises and has a rectangular plan. The columns inside the chapel divide it into two sections. In shorter side there are grave holes on the floor. There are also paintings inside the chapel in accordance to a certain order. Inside this 11th century structure you • can see child Jesus and Maria on the apsis; on the left wall Saint Demetrius, and Saint George on horse and two other saints while they fight against a dragon; and on the right (north) wall Saint Theodora on horse was figured. Elmali Church: The church has a plan of consisting three apsises and Greek cross with nine small domes seated on four big columns which is called as elephant feet (filpaye) in

Turkish architecture. As the main entrance was collapsed, today the entrance to the building is secured through a tunnel opened from the northern side. The first ornaments of the church were consisted of paintings on walls in mono color. It is possible to understand this with paintings uncovered by spilled or fallen plasters from walls. The church is dated back to 11- 12th centuries. As the structure had been used as dove cote for long period of time the frescoes have been well protected. Later years it was renovated and restored. Today, among the main visible scenes are Profit Abraham’s hospitality and three Jewish youngsters being set on fire derived from the Old Testament, along with several scenes inspired by the Bible.

Saint Barbara Chapel: Inside the chapel, there is a fresco of Saint Barbara who was killed by her father as she resisted reverting from her beliefs. The building was constructed as a form of Greek cross with three apsises, and seated on two columns. It seems the red ornaments and paintings on the wall of the chapel are daub, as if they were made by apprentices while masters’ absence. There are figures of Pantocrator Jesus on main apsis, Saint Georgios and Theodora on the northern cross arm, and Saint Barbara on the west arm cross.

Yilanh Church: I think Yorgo Seferis was quite appropriate while he was calling the church Saint Enofrios when he visited there 1953. The nude one among the saints at the right side of the entrance of the building, which is called Yilanh Church today, is Saint Enofrios (Onophorios). Saint Thomas and Saint Basileos are located besides St. Enofrios. The saint painted as nude, evident with breasts and shown with beard, is covered by a cactus on her part of torso where expected be covered by a grape leaf. According to hearsays Onophorios is a prostitute. She intended to give over her profession, but men did not allow her. Then Onophorios had beg to the God and appealed to liberate her from this situation. After some praying, in a morning she found herself in a form of half woman and half man. We know that later years Onophorios had survived 60 more years with great suffer in Egyptian deserts. Imagery of cactus on the fresco covering her front is a reference to desert itself, and life with great suffer in the desert. Inside the rectangular planned Yilanh Church there are figures of Saint Onesimus, Saint George and Theodore on horse and fighting against a dragon located on the left wall of the entrance; and at the end

figures ofHelene holding a cross and descriptions of Constantinus are located.

Pantry-Kitchen-Dining Hall: There are pantry, kitchen and dining hall successively after Yilanli Church. These structures are connected to each other. You can see food supply storage in the pantry, tandoor cooker in the kitchen, stone bench and table and a must room to press grape at the right side of the table. Karanlik (Dark) Church: This is a monastery church. In order to reach to the building a short stairway is climbed up to a flat area. If you take care you will notice that this plain court belongs to a two storey building and the upper storey is fallen down. From this point a passage starts with northern door to the entrance part of the church through a staircase. The church is not exposed of light except light coming from a small window at the entrance side. This has caused the frescoes have been well protected in time and gave fame of being remembered as Dark Church. The church with six domes and three apsises seated on four columns has a form of Greek cross. It can be

accepted as one of the structures that art of painting had gained the top among Cappadocian churches. The restoration of the frescoes could be finished in 1986 after 10 years of work. The history of frescoes go back to 11 and 13th centuries. The figures of Elmali Church, Profit Abraham’s hospitality, and three Jewish youngsters being set on fire derived from the Old Testament along with scenes derived from the Bible can bee seen here as well. There are nativity, cross, metamorphosis, the last supper, Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem, and the scene of Jesus’ begging to God to excuse humanity (Deesis) among all other scenes from the Bible attract special attention.

 Saint Catherine Chapel: It is in a form of grave chapel, and set in two sections. There are nine grave holes on the base of the entrance section. The chapel accessed by here was constructed in accordance to floating cross plan with single apsis in 11th century. Among visible scenes, there are Deesis on the apsis, medallions and saint descriptions on the walls under the apsis, and Saints Theodora and Catherine on the right wall of the entrance.

Cankli Church: The church located at the end of excursion road can be reached through a small iron staircase. The two storey structure is in a form of monastery complex. The front side

is already collapsed. At the down floor there is a dining hall of the monastery and connected facilities. There is the church of the building at the second floor reached by a staircase. The church with two pillars and four domes, and has three apsises. The context of the frescoes of the church can be accepted almost identical with those of Elmali and Karanlik churches. They go back to 11-13fh

centuries. Among the frescoes of the church a figure of turbaned head located at the right side of the entrance is very distinctive. It is said that this figure is Seljuk Sultan Mesud the IInd. It is believed that this figure inspired by a very similar figure found at Kirk Dam Alti (Under Forty Roof) Church in Ihlara Valley.

Avanos places to visit

Clay Ateliers

As if the famous saying “Even a blind knows the way of Avanos, it is evident by clay and pot fractures on the ground” is a nice summary of how the pottery in Avanos is deep-rooted. If there is one thing comes to mind first when one says Avanos, is the clay ateliers that is called ‘ganakhane’ (pot house) by local people. Most of the pottery ateliers are working in humble rock-carved places outside of the town center. Each atelier has a few of workbench which is called ‘giknk -spinning wheel’ run by foot to rotate. These are slightly developed versions of potter’s wheel used by ancient Anatolian civilizations as well. Quality clay derived from Kizilirmak river bank take shape in hands of pottery masters at these workbenches. Today, many of the clay ateliers in Avanos wore a touristic identity. You can also try to make a pot by visiting such a center organizes shows hands on pottery production shows for tourist groups in Avanos. Do not worry if the pot you would make looks like nothing. Be sure that you can easily find varieties of quality and beautiful clay pots every time in Avanos.

Alaaddin Mosque

It is in the center of Avanos, and constructed by Seljuks in the beginning of the 13th century. The mosque had renovations and restorations in 1887, 1948, and 1956. It is possible to say that it has substantially lost original characteristics.

Dereyamanh Church

The church is one of the oldest churches in Cappadocia region. It is located 1 km west of the town center. There are several crosses built as relief on the walls of the square structure. Malta, Latin, and Greek crosses are eye catching among others. The church that carries the characteristics of initial Christian culture has a built style called pre-Byzantium ‘Syrian style’. The dome of the church had never been completed. The church dated back in between the end of 4th century and 6th century, is opened to visits of religious groups’ prays in special days.

Saruhan Caravanserai

The caravanserai at 5 km southeast of Avanos was constructed in 1249 during Seljuk period by Sultan Izzettin Keykavus II. The caravanserai situated on the historical Silk Road got the name ‘Saruhan’ because of the color of the stone used its construction. The stone workmanship of the entrance gate is perfect. There are several rooms around the open-top large courtyard starting with the entrance door. The rooms at the right side are for winter use, and those at the left side are for summer use. There is a small mosque just above the entrance at the up storey reached by staircase. Top of the second part of the caravanserai is closed, and functioned as a barn of the caravanserai. Saruhan caravanserai was restored in 1991. Today, it is run by a private enterprise as a culture and show center. The khan is open to visit, and sema shows (whirling dance of Mevlevi dervishes) are organised each Friday nights.

Roman Sarcophagus

The Roman Sarcophagus that was unveiled in Kizilyar area on the way to Saruhan Caravanserai at southeast of Avanos in 1971, is made of marble. It is important as it is the only sarcophagus found in the region. Bones of a skeleton of a woman in 25 – 30 years old were found inside the sarcophagus that was dated back to years of BC 200. The woman had hennaed hairs. Art works and Medusa heads on’the sarcophagus exhibited at Nevsehir Museum are eye catching.

Ceq Tumulus

There are several tumuli in Nevsehir and Cappadocia region as well. We do not know much about these tumuli as there have not been excavations for most of them. The only thing that is known is that they do not belong to single civilizations. As the Ceg Tumulus was built on top of a mountain, and made of broken stone pieces makes it resembles to tumuli belong to the Kommagene Kingdom. From this point of departure you can estimate that they were built approximately simultaneously. But, there is no definite determination on this idea. French researchers Claudine Coindoz and Michel Coindoz think that the Ceq Tumulus might had been a tomb of a Cappadocian king which is a reasonable approach. On the other hand, some other researchers claim that the structure might be a cult place instead of a tomb, depends on the remains showing the once-existent stairs reaching to the top of the tumulus. The tumulus possibly be used for both purposes. It is known that such places were used as cult places in Anatolia particularly by the effect of Persians, during a period that fire adorers grew up.

Zank Hoyiik

It is located on 1250 m high altitude and 4km north of Sanlar borough of Avanos district of Nevsehir. The mound is nearly 30 m high and 300 m wide. It has been introduced to the science world by D.H. French and the excavation still continues under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Hiiseyin Sever from Ankara University Language, History and Geography Faculty. The excavation started in 1991, went on till 1992 and because of lack of allocation it stopped for four years and after 1996 it started again. The pieces from Old Bronze Age, Assyrian Trade Collonies Period as well as ceramics from Hittites and works of art from Roman and Hellenistic period have been found during the excavation.

Topakh Tumulus

It is located in Topakh town, north of Avanos district. As it used to be situated on the main trade road from Kayseri to the west it had hosted different settlements in different periods. It is one of the biggest tumuli of the Middle Anatolia with its size of 30 m height and 260 m diameter. The tumulus was excavated by an Italian archaeology team lead by P. Meriggi between 1966 and 1976, then by L. Palocco. During these excavations several construction layers diversified from Early Bronze Age to Byzantium period were unveiled. The foundlings of the tumulus are exhibited at Nevsehir Museum.

Belha Monastery

It is located at the front of a hill facing a stream at southeast of Ozkonak town of Avanos district. The monastery is a group of buildings. Today, the front is completely collapsed, rooms and columns are demolished. It has been thought that the Belha Monastery might be an important temple belongs to pre-Christianity Zeus cult. French archaeologist Nicole Thierry dates the monastery back to 6th century regarding the structural characteristic of it. During the Byzantium period it was turned to a church.

Avanos places to visit


Kaymakli Underground City

The underground cities, which enable us to understand more what fear force people to do, bring today the blues of the people who did not want to be killed or turned into slaves. Kaymakli Underground City make us feel this blues deeply through its each floor. Kaymakli borough is situated on 20th km of Nevsehir-Nigde road. The center of Kaymakli, whose ancient name as ‘Enegup’ hosts the biggest and the most visited underground city of Cappadocia. The underground city was open to the public on 1974.and it has 7-8 floors. It is anticipated that it has an underground connection with Dehnkuyu Underground City, 10 km faraway. The visiting floors are the first four floors. The construction period of the underground city is not known exactly but it is assumed that it might have been built up or improved during the Arap invasions (7-8’h centuries). It is understood that, the underground city is able to host 15-20 thousands of people in itself. On the 1st floor of the underground city, you will see a barn and a church and these are seperated from each other by a corridor divided into two with a sliding stone. On the 2nd floor there are grave hollows and a church. On the 3rd floor there are larders, wine house and a kitchen. The archeologist Murat E. Gulyaz states that, the andesite stone with 57 small holes, found in the kitchen, has used as a tool starting from the prehistoric periods to grind copper for melting. On the 4th floor of Kaymakli Underground City, there are larders, places for earthenware jars and fermentatory.


The first inhabitants of Cappadocia during the Stone Age

The reason of Cappadocia’s importance is not only the natural formations. Rocks formed by tufa stone can easily worked up. Because of that they call attention of people. Archeological findings showed that Cappadocia is the settlement place from prehistoric period up to today. The foundlings from Paleolithic Age in Cappadocia prehistoria major on Neolithic Age (8000-5500 BC) and Bronze Age (3000-1200 BC). The works of art, belong to prehistoric period and excavated out of the mounds of the region, are being exhibited in local museums. Most of the excavation areas are not visually attractive. But, the foundlings belong to this period have an important place in the name of Anatolian archeology and history.

The bases of the name Cappadocia

Persians, who came from the high plateaus of Iran, obtained Greece cities one by one in the period of classical age of Greece colonialism in Anatolia and they achieved to establish a big Persian Kingdom in Anatolia. It is coincided with the name of Cappadocia firstly in Persian inscription from this period. There is a word of ‘Katpatuka’ on the inscription which is on the column that is set up in the period of Persian King I. Dareios power before Christ between the years of 522-486. This word means Cappadocia in Persian language. There are advanced views that the meaning of Katpatuka in Persian language is ‘country of beautiful horses’ and these views reflected to many resources. But there are also different views about the origin and the meaning of the word.
In ‘Giant Dictionary of Old Persian Language’, which is published by Bartholomae, there is not a word of Katpatuka. Huv-Aspa is used as ‘country has beautiful horses’ in this dictionary. According to Prof. Dr. Bilge Umar, word of Cappadocia’s origin comes from Anatolia. He stated with the examples that the name of Katpat, which forms the main body of word, is Khepat (Hepat) who is the mother goddess of Hittite and -uka which is at the end of the word is a suffix which is used a lot in that period to make up folk and nation names. Khepat-ukh or Karpatuka, as the use of Persians, means ‘Khepat folk’ or ‘country of Khepat folk.’ If it is took into consideration that in these periods countries are named with the names of head Gods this giving of name is compatible with the understanding of the period. By this approach it is stated that the first form of the word of Cappadocia has Hittite origin and means the country of mother goddess Kerpat. The word of Khepatukh later used as the form of Katpatuka by the Persian clans of Iran. Hellene society used this word as Cappadocia. Today we call this region Cappadocia.

Cappadocia Divine tableau in natural canvas

Sixty-five years ago two big old continents gradually approached each other which were in north and south in the middle of the period which will be named as Third Period later by the geologists and clash was inevitable at the end. After this clash Anatolia, which is between of the two continents, started to closely pressed together. So two big mountain range, which are named as Toroslar in Anatolia today, are rised in north and south of our country. This rising continued up to the sea level of 4000 m. Because of the acts of crumpling and rising crust of the earth diffracted in many points. Diffraction points provided the rise of magma from deepness of the earth to face of the earth. Geologists named these points, which magma rises from there to face of the earth, as volcano. Because of this our country is full of many volcanoes. Three important volcanoes in the region which will be named as Cappadocia by historians later need to erupt lava as from these periods. Archaeologists later achieved to reach some findings about this subject. Among these findings wall painting, which belongs to 9000 years ago and shows the mountain of Hasan as erupting lava, was very effective. This finding came from Catalhoyuk Neolithic settlement place which is 200 km far from Cappadocia as the crow files. These three mountains were called as Hasan Mountain, Erciyes Mountain and Melendiz Mountain later by the people who lived here.
Cappadocia has beauties by the reasons of these three volcanoes. Lava that spurted out from these mountains and other things that spurted out from them accumulated in the region for a very long time. People later discovered that among the solid things which volcanoes spurted out ashes have different importance. Because ashes were covering over very large area by the effect of wind and forming deep layer by coming together. This layer, which later becomes hard and turns to n stone can be easily work up by hand. People gave the name of tufa to these stones.
Today the layer of tufa, which is in the region of Cappadocia changes according to regions and reached up to 100 m of thickness. Whether in the world or in our country there are many volcanoes but there is only one Cappadocia. The main reason of this is three volcanoes’ preparedness of thick tufa layer’s accumulation in the region by spurting out lava at the same time. If the layer of tufa was thin in the course of time it would disappear by the effect of erosion and there will be not any beauty. Volcanic movements in the region mostly finished in the beginning of the period, which is named as Fourth Period by geologists. After this date a new period started in the region. This new period was defined as corrosion period by the people. Corrosion period which started by the results of wind, rain and natural effects created obvious effects in the course of time. Soil which dragged on by corrosion and hard blocks which could resist against this corrosion brought forward interesting views and formations. These interesting formations could not be interpretted by the people who lived here later and it is decided that sprites could do them. Because of this even today these formations are called ‘fairy chimneys’.
If small pieces of rock on big rocks, transformation of tufa layers to the form of valley and deep canyons are not divine tableau which is painted on a natural canvas, what are they?

Transport to Cappadocia

It is easy to get to Cappadocia by land from anywhere in Turkey. There are regular bus services from several cities to Nev§ehir, Aksaray, Kayseri, and Nigde. The region has two airports: the first, Nevsehir-Cappadocia Tuzkoy Airport, is 30 km from Nevsehir, while the other, Kayseri Airport, is 100 km from Nev§ehir. Turkish Airlines (THY) flies regularly from Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Izmir Airport to Kayseri and Nevsehir. Alternatively, Pegasus Airlines flies from Istanbul Sabiha Gokgen Airport to Nevsehir.

Transportation in Cappadocia
Transportation within the Cappadocia region is easy since the distance between the city centers isn’t very large. It is possible to take a dolmu§, bus or taxi within the cities. Most of the tourists rent a car, a motorcycle or use an ATV. Bicycle hire can be a good alternative for those who are sportier. There are many firms offering these vehicles for rental.

How to tour in Cappadocia ?

How to tour in Cappadocia ? First of all I need to mention that, there is no specific season for visiting Cappadocia. Shortly, you may come to visit Cappadocia for four season. It is not that hard to become one of the members of the privileged groups, realize that in here there is various taste in every season. Probably there might be a special reason to choose Cappadocia among the many other places in Turkey, worth to see. Cappadocia has an interesting geological formation but also deep and long historical background.

How to tour in Cappadocia ?

However, Cappadocia is not a place to explore within two or three days. In fact, the unknown Cappadocia is much more largot and interesting. We may tell you th, it, In order to have a simple Cappadocia tour you need at least fif toon days oven one month. Or you pop in /ust lot the weekend? Gosh! Cappadocia is being visited by tho pooplo who have different intomr.t.